“Chemist Warehouse effect” sees pharmacy category holding ground during tough retail times

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Natural health

“Chemist Warehouse effect” sees pharmacy category holding ground during tough retail times

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Natural Health
[Image – iStock.com]

Industry leaders presented at the Natural Health Products New Zealand Summit 2023 in Blenheim in May. Paulette Crowley reports on what’s happening in the natural healthcare category in pharmacy, future trends and how to sell products on social media

The cost-of-living crisis may be biting, but people are still spending at pharmacies, is the message from Julie Bramley, market insights and research consultant at Circana.

Kiwis are definitely finding ways to reduce costs, but the $1.2 billion pharmacy category is the “star performer”. Mrs Bramley said the figure could be attributed to the rise of discount pharmacies, which were “squeezing share from traditional pharmacy” and taking sales from supermarkets in the health and wellness categories.

She dubbed the trend the “Chemist Warehouse effect”, disrupting the supermarket sector in New Zealand and Australia by blurring the lines between the pharmacy and supermarket sectors.

Cold and flu products driving natural health growth

The natural health category continues to grow and was worth $300 million in 2022, according to Circana research.

The biggest sub-category by far was cold and flu – one in five dollars is spent in the natural health supplement category.

Cold and flu product growth was fuelled by the COVID-19 pandemic and was unlikely to slow this year, Mrs Bramley told the summit’s audience

Sales from 2022 were “huge”, but she expected 2023 also to be a bumper year. At the time of the conference, she reported that receipts were already up 30 per cent on last year’s.

“We’re expecting this year also to be big – the borders have re-opened, people are travelling more, and we’re going to see new viruses coming into the country.”

The other top categories, making up 81 per cent of the natural health category, are (in order): digestion, energy, multivitamins, cramp, women’s health, arthritis, nutritional oils, skin and sleep.

Most popular products
Julie Bramley from Circana [Image – Supplied]

The most popular ingredients making up 50 per cent of the natural health category’s growth are vitamin C, multivitamins, magnesium, fish oils and probiotics.

Ingredients that are growing the fastest include aloe vera, green powders, bee products, ashwagandha, mussel extract and valerian.

The “big hitters” driving growth in the natural health category are:

  • Nutra-Life ProBiotica High Potency
  • Nutra-Life Gut Health
  • Healtheries Magnesium Deep Sleep
  • Healtheries Vit C 1000mg
  • Elevit
  • Nutra-Life High Strength Vit C 1200mg + Vit D + Zinc
  • Go Healthy Vitamin D3 1000IU
  • Liposhell Vitamin C Lipo-Sachets
  • Healtheries Fish Oil 1500mg
  • Nutra-Life Kyolic Immunity & Cardiovascular Formula
New format driving growth

New product formats are driving growth in the category, with 70 per cent of sales coming from non-tablet formats, which include chewable gummies, caps, sachets, effervescents, chewables and liquids. Mrs Bramley added that skin patches were also flagged as “the next big thing”.