Probiotics targeted towards women are gaining traction within the industry and have increasing engagement with shoppers, according to a new deep-dive into the area by Lumina Intelligence for International Women's Day.
Speaking to NutraIngreints about the growing importance of women's health products in the probiotic space, Ewa Hudson head of market insights at Lumina said women's health is a rapidly growing and evolving category in the probiotic market, and it witnessing ever-increasing levels of industry and consumer engagement.
"Probiotics for women is a fast growing niche, increasingly engaging women across online retail channels and on social sites," said Hudson.
"Post-purchase product review scores are relatively high, making probiotics for women a promising niche from the marketers’ perspective. Interest in probiotic cosmetics, typically targeting women, is also on the rise."
According to Lumina data looking at 20 countries, Sweden has the most products specifically targeted towards women and women's health issues, with around 25% of all probiotic products analysed by Lumina on the Swedish market targeted specifically towards women.
Lumina data from 2017 and 2018 also shows a significant increase in engagement over women's health in the probiotic space, with online reviews of products specifically targeted towards women increasing by an average of 51% in 19 out the 20 countries measured.
When it comes to social media, women's health also comes out top, says Hudson, with products specifically targeting women gaining significantly more 'likes' on Facebook than those targeting other areas like general health, men's health or kids health.
China: A trailblazer for engagement
Hudson noted that data for China was separated from the other 19 countries in this case, since the increase in reviews there was so significant - the country witnessed a 319% increase in online reviews for women's health products.
Indeed, reviews of products on the Chinese market made up around half of all reviews globally when measures were last taken in December 2018, she said.
"Last year we knew that women's health was the third largest growth area," said Hudson. "Since then, so many people have launched probiotic ranges targeting women."
"A lot of growth is coming from China, but even in China a lot of that growth in probiotics is coming from women's products," she told NutraIngredients - noting that there continues to be growth elsewhere in the world, but from a smaller base and at a slower rate than China.
The top brands, strains ... and health conditions
Looking outside of China, Lumina data shows 60% of all engagement and reviews for women's health products come from just five brands, while two strains (Lactobacillus rhamnosus and Lactobacillus acidophilus) jointly dominate the strains used in products to target women's health issues.
Hudson noted that all of the top five brands contain Lactobacillus rhamnosus.
Furthermore, when looking at health benefits or areas or health that are specifically targeted alongside women's health Lumina data shows that vaginal health, skin health, urinary tract infections (UTIs), digestion and immunity are among the most commonly communicated.
"Seen as a natural alternative to the conventional solutions, women are trying out probiotics especially when hit by reoccurring pains and infections, such as those associated with IBS, UTIs or vaginal health," Hudson said.