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COVID-19 & Market Growth: Why & How will the Supplement Sector Grow due to Coronavirus?

Even disruptions of global supply chains due to COVID, while affecting almost every other industry, will only force the nutraceutical industry to better adapt and achieve higher growth rates due to new market realities. See how to position as a distributor...

By AdvaCare Pharma USA Emerging Markets Research Team

Many decades have passed since the global dietary industry started offering supplements to end-consumers, in order to provide essential nutrients that otherwise many wouldn’t absorb in sufficient quantities. Up until recently, sales have been booming. Vitamins, minerals, proteins, amino acids, herbal extracts, and other dietary supplements, usually in a form of capsules, tablets or syrups, have seen increasing demand in developing markets as consumers are quickly changing their outlooks on preventative healthcare and earning more disposable income. Since investing in a healthy lifestyle and taking precautions is much more affordable than the economic, emotional, and physical costs associated with severe illness, supplements have been in high demand. It has been expected that by 2025 the supplement industry would be worth a stunning $280 billion USD, compared to an already significant $125 billion USD in 2018. That was before coronavirus changed everything.

It is clear Covid-19 froze economies for months and turned supply chains upside down. The pandemic will affect trade flows for months to come. However, not all businesses will suffer losses. Surely, many sectors of the economy, such as the automobile, airline, and many service industries will have to deal with heavy burdens due to Covid-19, but conversely, the dietary supplement industry should still keep on its growing streak. Even more – if producers of personal protective equipment (PPE) were not able to keep up with demand at the beginning of the pandemic, it is not farfetched to consider the possibility of a similar trend for nutraceutical production in the months to come. Boosting immunity is taking the forefront amongst consumers as a preventative measure as other precautions are slowly being put aside in light of loosened restrictions in many countries where the infection threat has reduced. Therefore, precautions such as wearing masks and protective gloves will soon subside for many conscious and nervous citizens trying to boost their health with vitamins and minerals to fight a possible infection. If the WHO estimated in a report last year that focusing on nutrition within health services could save 3.7 million lives by 2025, the importance and urgency of preventative healthcare are now taking on a new meaning.

WHO estimates that focus on nutrition within health services could save 3.7 million lives by 2025

Therefore, it is good to understand what trends, benefits, and higher general consciousness in relation to preventative health measures, can bring to distributors of nutraceuticals in today’s times.

 

The Market Growth

Why Higher Demand for Supplements is Inevitable?

There have been several reasons why economic experts predicted the exponential market growth of the nutraceuticals industry even before the pandemic of coronavirus started. Among others, the most frequently mentioned ones were the growing purchase power of developing countries and increased awareness about preventative healthcare. It has been clear for a while already, that immune health is one of the most sought-after benefits in the developed world, with developing countries following not far behind. Many individuals are now highly proactive when it comes to health, and the new pandemic reality for sure will not change that. Even more, with putting precautions and protection on the front news pages, keeping the body healthy has become a high priority for many of whom before the virus hit taking supplements did not even cross their minds. Let’s face it, no one wants to get sick during the pandemic when essential health services for common illnesses, such as cold or bacterial infections, are not easily accessible, even in most developed parts of the world.

Historically, spending on health has been prioritized by consumers even in the times of lower incomes and economic struggles, especially by chronic disease patients

Increasing demand can be shown by the fact a number of APAC online sellers ran out of vitamin C stock already in April as requests for orders kept flushing in. For example, the giant online Chinese reseller JD reported a 5-times increase in vitamin C sales, as well as a significant increase in probiotics and other immunity products. Other healthcare companies have also reported sales boosts of personal care, essential oils, aromatherapy, and homecare equipment. There has been increasing chatter on social media about supplements power as well, suggesting that nearly 20% of consumers who haven’t used vitamins before, suggested they might do it now. Another interesting statistic is the growth of orange juice sales, the most known food rich in vitamins. In the US some retailers marked a stunning 25% increase. Similarly, people in the Philippines have been hoarding vitamins in the midst of the pandemic. Even more, the country’s health authorities even decided to supply supplements to school children. Finally, it is clear not only toilet paper has been in high demand on many markets recently, but the typical seasonal increase of supplements demands has risen as a result of coronavirus spreading throughout the world as well.

Yet, what will happen when the health crisis calms down? What will happen if a recession hits because of all economic consequences lockdowns of countries will most probably bring? Historically, spending on health has been prioritized by consumers even in the times of lower incomes and economic struggles, especially by chronic disease patients. As nutraceuticals can be seen as a smart, cost-effective, and preventative alternative to expensive hospital services, it is more likely for the consumption of vitamins and minerals to at least stay consistent or even increase. Moreover, data on previous economic downturns have shown resilience in the market. Comparing the historic data with today’s trends, experts suggest there are similarities. In the end, the pandemic has also restricted people’s travel plans, which will leave many with saved income. However, it is of utmost importance that all stakeholders involved in the nutraceuticals chain, from raw material suppliers to medical distributors and retailers, start preparing for the long term growth of consumer demand.

 

The Market Changes

How Can a Distributor Prepare and Benefit?

Covid-19 induced many changes to workplaces. From increased digitalization, like work from home or even establishing new online stores, to disruptions in logistics and changes in consumer demands and priorities.

advacare-pharma-distributor-checklist

The market today is clearly different, so what are the crucial tips a distributor of supplement products should follow to stay on top of its game?

  • REFINE AND DIVERSIFY your product range and offerings to reflect current consumer needs and trends, especially if you haven’t been distributing any essential nutraceuticals for today’s market before.
  • FOCUS ON A WIDER MARKET within your country, countries, or regions of operation. Try to think ahead and disperse your sales efforts, in order to ensure frequent demand even if one part of your market endures another outbreak, causing another slowdown or shutdown. With people being more inclined to test out online ordering even if they did not use it before, now is the perfect time to expand your business even to regions where you are not physically present (yet).
  • PLAN FOR LONGER ORDER CYCLES as the supply chain is slower and can endure some stock-outs of specific products or even raw materials. All of this will affect how long it takes for your order to be shipped and delivered to your facilities. If you have been ordering stock for two months before, now it is a good time to increase your order so it can last for double this time. Additionally, be informed about the top 6 vitamins and minerals that will probably be in higher demand soon, and make sure you have sufficient stock of it, to be all set for the significant demand increase.
  • PREPARE FOR POSSIBLE INCREASE in shipping costs, especially from China, India, and USA – all 3 in which AdvaCare has production facilities of the AdvaLife Nutraceuticals brand – as well as other major exporters. Freight costs for internal and international shipments are expected to be higher due to changes in trading patterns, as well as slowdowns and restrictions in airline traffic. Be assured partners like AdvaCare will do their best to get you the most optimal prices, but there are outside forces even the best companies cannot always control due to today’s reality.
  • TRIPLE-CHECK IF ALL PRODUCTS, even if they are dietary supplements, are labeled appropriately. It is now, more than ever, important that minor mistakes that can be avoided with careful checks and cooperation between you and your assigned AdvaCare sales manager are avoided. As supply chains are disrupted and more border control and customs checks are carried out due to Covid-19 precautions and fears, any mislabeling can significantly complicate the timeframe from your order to delivery.
  • MAKE SURE YOU COOPERATE ONLY WITH RELIABLE SUPPLEMENT MANUFACTURERS since supply chains now have more challenges than ever. Companies such as AdvaCare can somewhat control their raw material supply and product formulations during manufacturing even in uncertain times. Only with trusted partners, you can confidentially ensure the same product quality as before.
  • Lastly, it is still important to ASSURE STABILITY CONTROL for the shelf life of your products, so clients will stay loyal users and will be satisfied with your products. Nowadays even more so, since you can clearly be sure many are stockpiling nutraceuticals in their pantries due to fears of delivery disruptions or unavailability of their products in the near future.

 

It is true all of the suggested tips will require you to re-evaluate your business approach and even attitude toward taking risks. But tapping into increasing demand for vitamins and minerals that is on the horizon, can in fact help you sort out some challenges that are arising due to lower demand of other products in your portfolio, which Covid-19 pandemic most probably brought to your business. In the end, one thing is clear, a healthy immune system is one of the best defenses against illness, and even if not being able to prevent Covid-19 infection, supplements will at least help your end-customers deal with its symptoms and the disease in general.

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