By Fiona Briggs
Retail sales of homeopathic and herbal remedies in the US have reached $6.4bn in 2012, up almost 3% from 2011, and growing 16% over the past five years, according to new research by Mintel.
Today, 30% of respondents who suffered an ailment within the past year claim to have used a homeopathic or herbal remedy to treat it, researchers found. And there is further good news for the homeopathic and herbal remedies sector too, as Mintel forecasts sales to increase to $7.5bn by 2017 as more Americans become proactive about their health and further growth is fueled by availability of these products in mass retailers.
Emily Krol, health and wellness analyst at Mintel, said: “Recalls of traditional OTC remedies, a holistic approach to health, and more availability in traditional retailers all helped to fuel growth in this market. The sector is primed for continued success as US consumers increasingly seek products that are natural and organic, particularly as it relates to healthcare. This is especially true for families with small children as many OTC medications are unsafe for children under the age of two.
“Those who trust homeopathic medications are more likely to eat a healthier diet. Additionally, they are more likely to eat natural and organic foods and are willing to invest in these products. Those who trust homeopathic medicines are also more likely to be preventative about their healthcare. They visit the doctor regularly and take vitamins to prevent illness.”
However, less than 25% of OTC users agree they trust homeopathic and herbal remedies to relieve their symptoms, suggesting many people do not use these products because they do not believe they will be effective. But, among users of homeopathic and herbal remedies, this increases to about half (48%).
“The fact so many users of homeopathic remedies are confident about them relieving their symptoms suggests that once people have used these products and experienced the effectiveness, they may be more inclined to use them in the future. Therefore, a key marketing message to convince nonusers to try these products, such as including users talking about their positive experiences with the products, could prove effective,” said Krol.