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Outdoor pollution, COVID-19 and urbanisation are just a few of the concerns driving Thai consumers to seek preventive solutions to maintain good health and performance. According to the latest research from Mintel, the primary health benefits associated with the use of vitamins, minerals, and supplements are to add to missing dietary nutrients (49%), protect against illnesses later in life (36%) and help improve physical appearances (27%).

Life stage plays an important role in influencing the type of health benefits consumers are looking for from VMS, highlights Mintel research. For example, Thai consumers aged 35-44 report the highest levels of interest in bone health (82%), while consumers aged 45+ are looking for mental/brain support (67%).

Pimwadee Aguilar, Associate Director Food and drink, Mintel Thailand, said:

“Rapid urbanisation and busier lifestyles – along with fear of illness associated with the COVID-19 pandemic – have resulted in consumers seeking easy, quick and preventive solutions to improve their health. To meet this growing demand for better overall health with minimal effort, VMS brands are in a good position to offer holistic health solutions and make health easy to achieve so consumers can stick with the trend long term. VMS brands have an opportunity to expand beyond basic requests for immunity health and offer functional benefits such as beauty, brain, digestion, eye, sleep and weight management based on individual life stage, mental and physical needs.”

Thais seek elevated convenience

Among the top competitive factors influencing VMS choices, Thai consumers prioritise a convenient format (43%). This rises to 55% among older consumers aged 45+. When it comes to specific formats, Mintel research highlights that capsule (52%), drink (51%) and pill (47%) are the most preferred VMS format among Thai consumers.

“Ease of use is consumers’ top concern when it comes to choosing between VMS products. Brands can tap into this desire by offering convenient, conventional formats such as capsules or pills which have high credibility, along with exciting twists such as combo packs and subscriptions to keep consumers engaged. Brands can drive increased usage by offering single-serve combo packs to facilitate convenience for daily use and also for on-the-go use. Additionally, small combo packs sold individually can provide a high-quality, yet an affordable option that consumers can reach for when they feel the need for an extra boost,” explains Pimwadee.

Finally, when it comes to making a choice between VMS products, consumers rely on both expert and non-expert sources. The top information sources used when deciding on VMS purchases include pharmacist (48%), Internet search (44%), doctor (38%) and friends/family (37%).

“For Thai consumers, easy access to information is highly valued. A strong online presence, including a brand website and top SEO ranking, will be crucial for VMS brands to build and maintain success. It is also equally important for VMS producers to maintain good product visibility in pharmacy stores, as a majority of Thai consumers still depend on recommendations from pharmacists when deciding between VMS products. Additionally, brands can engage consumers using medical experts to inspire preventive health actions. Conversational commerce, an emerging channel which enables consumers to have access to products and get their questions answered directly by the brand, is an important way to engage older consumers. As Thais overall are heavy users of chat applications, this channel showcases a high potential for engagement in a personalised and effective way.”