The survey*, which has been conducted annually since 2000, shows that immune support is now the number two reason for dietary supplement usage for all survey respondents (cited by 32% of respondents), and the number one reason for users aged 18-34 (38%).
The number one reason for all respondents continues to be overall health and wellness benefits (40% of respondents) and the rest of the top five reasons include filling nutrient gaps in their diet (25%), supporting heart health (23%), and for hair, skin & nails (22%).
Looking at the types of supplements being taken, the CRN survey found that vitamins and minerals continue to be number one, with 98% of all supplement users reporting usage in the past year.
On the other hand, usage has dipped for niche ingredients and categories: The second most popular category is specialty supplements (46% in 2020 compared to 52% in 2019), followed by herbals and botanicals (44% versus 50% in 2019), and sports nutrition (30% versus 36% in 2019).
The weight management category remains relatively constant (19% versus 22% in 2019). [See figure below.]
“We’ve witnessed from CRN’s COVID-19 survey that the pandemic has not only encouraged the majority of Americans to be more conscious of their health and wellness, but the crisis has also forced consumers to adapt to the current reality and change some of their previous lifestyle behaviors,” said Brian Wommack, senior vice president, communications, CRN.
“Results from the 2020 survey continue to demonstrate an intensified focus on ingredients to support overall health and wellness and immunity. More consumers are working from home, avoiding the gym, experiencing shopping restrictions and juggling financial difficulties. So, while we are witnessing dips for niche ingredients and categories, usage is steady among vitamin and mineral supplements, signaling an intensified focus on ingredients to support overall health and wellness.”
The new survey showed that overall dietary supplement usage for Americans was 73%. This is a 4% decrease in usage compared to 2019, but similar to data from 2018 (75%) and 2017 (76%), and still an increase on 2016 and 2015 levels (71% and 68%, respectively).
“When factoring in all survey variations, the ongoing pandemic, and viewing the data in the context of the last recession, (64% in 2008 and 65% in 2009), four percentage points is not a major decline,” said Chris Jackson, senior vice president, public affairs, Ipsos.
“Other recently conducted surveys demonstrate that Americans are continuing to practice social distancing behaviors, and some continue to experience furloughs or work suspensions and to struggle affording household goods. All of these factors could be tied to limited retail access to supplements for consumers, sustained behavior changes causing consumers to feel less of a need for specialty supplements, and less disposable income to purchase products overall.”
In light of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic, CRN’s 2020 survey also took a closer look at specific ingredients supplement users are taking to support their immunity, mental health, sleep health and energy.
When it comes to supplements taken for mental and sleep heath, melatonin, magnesium and CBD were among the most popular ingredients. Data also revealed that vitamin C (61%), the multivitamin (57%), and vitamin D (47%) are the top three ingredients users are taking to support their immune health.
Other high-profile immune ingredients like zinc, probiotics and elderberry also ranked among the top 10 list of immunity ingredients according to the 2020 survey. [See figure below]
The 2020 survey also included expanded questions on probiotics and delivery form preferences, although the association did not reveal more data on these questions at this stage. CRN will present more about both the COVID-19 and 2020 surveys during its upcoming virtual conference, Now, New, Next.
* The 2020 survey was fielded Aug. 27-31, 2020, by Ipsos, and was funded by CRN. The survey was conducted online in English and included a national sample of 2,006 adults aged 18 and older living in the United States, including 1,471 among those who are considered supplement users.