The market for vitamins and supplements is in fine fettle according to latest research from Mintel. Sales of vitamins and supplements increased a healthy 2% between 2014 and 2015 to reach £414 million. This year sales are set to increase a further 2% to reach £421 million. What is more, over the past year alone, the number of daily vitamin and supplement users has increased some 5 percentage points up from 41% in 2015 to 46% in 2016; meaning that today, just under half of all Britons are daily vitamin and mineral users.

Mintel research reveals as many as two thirds (65%) of all adults took some form of vitamins or supplement either daily or occasionally in the last 12 months*, up from 63% the previous year. However, the increase in frequency of usage was entirely fed from lapsed past users, with the proportion of people who have never used vitamins or supplements remaining unchanged at 19% 2015-16.

Within the market, demographic-specific supplements, for example vitamins aimed at men, women, children and over-50s, continue to be the powerhouse behind growth in 2016, while sales of generic adult vitamins have fallen behind, illustrating the consumer demand for more targeted health solutions.

Today, just under half of all Britons are daily vitamin and mineral users

Jack Duckett, Senior Consumer Lifestyles Analyst at Mintel, said:

“Vitamins and mineral sales continue to be propelled by consumers’ emphasis on health and wellbeing, leading people to take a more proactive approach towards their health. Increases in launch activity and advertising investment are contributing to the category’s strong performance. Demographically positioned vitamins are among the biggest success story this year, reflecting consumer demand for more targeted health solutions and indicating that brands could now generate more interest in the category by exploring specific gender- and age-related claims.”

Sales of women’s supplements account for the largest share of the demographic sector at £55 million, following an increase of 2.5% from May 2015-16. While the men’s vitamins and supplements market is comparatively small, the subcategory saw some of the biggest growth, with value sales rising an impressive 29% to £11 million in the year ending May 2016. The strong sales performance is, in part, attributed to a growing consumer base, with the proportion of men using vitamins or supplements on a daily basis rising from 37% in 2015 to 43% in 2016.

Despite a growth in male specific supplements, male non-users (53%) are amongst the most likely to reject supplements on the basis they simply do not believe they need them, compared to 44% of women. One third (32%) of women users say that they started taking supplements due to a recommendation from a health practitioner, compared to one fifth (21%) of male users, reflecting the higher incidence of vitamin and mineral deficiencies amongst women.

“Whilst men continue to be less likely to use vitamins or supplements than their female counterparts, the proportion of men taking vitamins on a daily basis has increased significantly, illustrating men’s increased engagement with their own health and personal care. Although advertising for male-targeted vitamins and supplement products have traditionally focused on men’s fitness lifestyles there could be merit in demonstrating how supplements can also benefit an everyday lifestyle, such as getting through the working day, undertaking household responsibilities, or looking after children.” Adds Jack.

In terms of usage, multivitamins remain the most popular type of all supplements as some 46% of all adults have taken multivitamins either daily or occasionally in the last 12 months, suggesting that consumers tend to take something of a catch-all approach when it comes to ensuring they get enough nutrients.

Finally, as summer draws to an end, the importance of Vitamin D supplementation continues to run as a high profile debate. While overall usage of single supplements increased from 2015-16, penetration of Vitamin D grew nearly 4%, in line with changing healthcare recommendations on the need for supplementation.

“With Vitamin D levels strongly linked to sunshine hours in the UK, brands can further drive penetration by mimicking cold and flu remedy advertising patterns and increasing adspend in the autumn and winter months.” Concludes Jack.

*12 month to June 2016.

Press review copies of Mintel’s Vitamins and Supplements UK 2016 report and interviews with Senior Consumer Lifestyles Analyst Jack Duckett  are available on request from the press office.

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