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Global retail sales in consumer health industry up 5.7% last year

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According to latest research from Euromonitor, the consumer health industry experienced 5.7% growth (fixed currency terms) with US$216.4bn in retail sales globally in 2014.

OTC remedies such as sleep aids, eye care, dermatologicals and digestive remedies performed very well with US$36bn in sales globally. Sports nutrition grew strongly in the mass market with US$10bn in sales globally, yet still represents the smallest category within the consumer health industry at 4.7% share.

"The industry keeps growing at a healthy pace as significant corporate consolidation will transform the competitive landscape and the rise of mobile health will impact consumer behaviour in years to come,” said Head of Industry Research, Monica Feldman.

Latin America posted the fastest growth at 7% from 2013 with US$20bn in sales in 2014 as more remedies became available to consumers in the OTC setting. The Middle East and Africa followed with 6% and US$7.3bn, respectively, where regional initiatives for local manufacturing boosted affordable options for consumers. Although Eastern Europe shows an apparent decline of -1% in sales due to problems in Russia and Ukraine, this result is relative as sales in Russia are not underperforming when viewed in local currency.

Global and regional corporate activity included significant mergers, acquisitions and joint ventures such as Bayer’ acquisition of Merck & Co, and GSK’s partnership with Novartis, creating new competitive pressures in the industry.

From the consumer perspective, Euromonitor said that mobile health, or mHealth is engaging consumers via mobile apps and devices with the purpose to modify behaviour toward improved health outcomes. This in turn is expected to create new possibilities for OTC switches in novel therapeutic categories.

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