With rising disposable incomes due to a positive economic scenario, Irish consumers are increasingly investing in their health, particularly through prevention, with ongoing positive growth experienced by vitamins and dietary supplements, particularly combination dietary supplements and sales of segmented products that are being purchased by an ageing population, supporting increasing demand for co-enzyme Q10, eye health supplements and glucosamine. The shorter winter days in Ireland also support ongoing demand for vitamin D.
A growing interest in following vegetarian and vegan lifestyles in Ireland is supporting demand for a number of products across consumer health, particularly in vitamins and dietary supplements where protein supplements such as Pulsin' Pea Protein and Pulsin' Soya Protein continue to perform strongly by offering an alternative source of protein to animal products such as meat and dairy. New product development is also emerging in vitamins and dietary supplements from Beeline Healthcare, which launched its line of vegetarian multivitamins (comprising 25 nutrients including vitamins B12, D, iron and folic acid) and vitamin C, which are approved by the Vegetarian Society.
Consumer health continued to be led by global players despite Ireland being a small market, with some of them using national distribution, including Johnson & Johnson (leading through local player McNeil Healthcare), Reckitt Benckiser, GSK Consumer Healthcare, and Bayer. Intense competition within some categories was noted in 2019, particularly through the disruption presented by the cooperation of GlaxoSmithKline and Pfizer Inc, which led to GSK Consumer Healthcare representing the latter’s brands and gaining strong value share and position in the process.
While distribution of overall consumer health continued to be dominated by health and beauty specialist retailers in 2019, due to the ongoing need for pharmacists and the fact that some OTC medicines are required straight away after being prescribed, many retailers are now taking an omnichannel approach to expand their consumer base across all channels including convenience stores and forecourt retailers, in addition to internet retailing. The latter channel continued to gain value share of distribution in 2019, in addition to an ongoing strong performance in current value growth terms.
Consumer health is predicted to record a stable performance in current value terms, supported by the ongoing investment in products related to preventative strategies amongst consumers and the attempts to improve their general health through supplementation, and the country’s ageing population. However, several issues could have a negative impact on the market over the forecast period.
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