Severe allergy seasons continue to push growth in OTC cold/flu/allergy remedy market, reports Mintel

May 31, 2013, 14:43 ET from Mintel

NEW YORK, May 31, 2013 /PRNewswire/ -- With allergy season upon us, the remedies aisle in the drugstore is a familiar location for many Americans. Revealing just how many consumers are affected, more than one-third (36%) of Americans say they experience the misery of allergies and are in need of a cure from the sniffles and sneezes. According to the latest research from Mintel, the cold, flu, and allergy remedies market increased 22% from 2007-12, with 7% of this growth happening from 2010-12. Despite a mild 2011-12 cold and flu season, a severe allergy season in 2012 helped push sales.


"Since usage of cold, flu, and allergy remedies is typically determined by the severity of the season, recent severe allergy seasons, as well as the 2013 flu epidemic, have been positive news for this market," says Emily Krol, health and wellness analyst at Mintel. "Sales have increased and are expected to continue to climb thanks to milder temperatures and increased pollen counts, which lead to higher incidence of allergies and therefore a greater need for allergy treatments."

Colds are the most common ailment experienced, with 48% of respondents experiencing one in the past year. More than nine out of 10 (93%) respondents who suffered from cold, flu, or allergy within the past year chose to treat it with the most popular OTC product. Meanwhile, 22% elected for a homeopathic or herbal remedy.

Mintel respondents aged 18-24 who suffered from allergies within the past year are least likely to have used an OTC remedy to treat their ailments, only 68% versus 81% of all respondents. They are also more likely than other age cohorts to say they don't treat ailments and just wait for them to disappear.

Almost six out of 10 (59%) respondents who use OTC products to treat cold, flu, and allergies say they keep these products on hand for when they need them, reflecting consumers' tendency to keep a stockpile handy, rather than purchase when needed. Essentially, most consumers like to be prepared when illness strikes, as only 31% say they purchase when they begin feeling symptoms.

"To encourage consumers to replenish their supply of cold and flu products each season, messaging can remind consumers to check expiration dates. Since 43% of remedy users throw out expired products, this could be an opportunity to increase purchase cycles," concludes Emily Krol.

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