Vitamin Market Sees Buyer Deficiency

According to the latest TABS Group Annual Vitamin Study, the nation has seen a 2 percent increase in vitamin sales, to $12.2 billion, compared with last year. Because the percentage of U.S. vitamin users actually decreased in 2012, from 71 percent to 66 percent, the study indicates that the increased usage is due to trade-ups, price inflation and current buyers purchasing higher volumes.

In terms of consumers’ buying behavior, the study also reveals a significant shift from specialty stores to more traditional retailers. Target, Walgreens, CVS and online retailers saw the biggest growth; Walmart remained stable, while catalog and nutritional specialty retailers saw a loss.

“In the five years of conducting this survey, this is the greatest upheaval,” said Kurt Jetta, CEO of Shelton, Conn.-based TABS Group. “The continued shift of sales towards traditional channels accelerated, and there were significant declines in the overall buyer base.”

While multivitamins remain the most popular among category buyers (75 percent), others include fish oil (43 percent), calcium (33 percent), vitamins C and D (32 percent each), and vitamin B (23 percent). Buyer growth for fish oil and vitamin D, two high-growth areas during prior years, has stopped.

"Except for vitamin B, there were no areas of growth in attracting additional buyers, which has implications for manufacturers and retailers over the next 18-24 months,” noted Jetta. We project the category remains relatively flat, with growth coming from trading up existing customers.”

The survey was conducted among 1,000 consumers, aged 18-75.

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