Immune Support During Coronavirus: How Vitamins and Supplements are Responding

October 2020

The Coronavirus (COVID-19) era has resulted in pronounced interest in vitamins and dietary supplements positioned around immune support. This briefing examines the effect of COVID-19 on immunity products, identifies the consumer groups most engaged with immune support, and envisages the rise of a broader conception of immunity under the banner of “Immunity Plus”.

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Key Findings

Immune support, a prominent supplement positioning pre-COVID-19, has seen explosive growth in 2020

The marketplace for immunity has seen strong growth for at least the decade before COVID-19, but the onset of the global pandemic has accelerated growth in immunity products to a level never seen. The pandemic has also severed the link between immunity and seasonal rates of illness, as consumers are overwhelmingly buying immunity products for broader prevention and security in the face of the spread of COVID-19.

Immunity Seekers are a large and growing segment of supplement consumers

Immunity Seekers, consumers who report consistent use of products positioned for immune support, represent about a third of global respondents to Euromonitor’s Health and Nutrition Survey, with rates remaining relatively consistent between regions. This broad base will support further growth in immunity moving forward.

COVID-19 has stirred interest in broader “Immunity Plus” functionality

As immunity products have risen in prominence during COVID-19, more consumers are open to combining immunity and other health needs, a trend referred to in this briefing as “Immunity Plus”. This can be seen through the broadening of immunity messaging, the introduction of new ingredients, and the encroachment of food and beverage options.

Adjacent vitamins and dietary supplements categories are repositioning around immunity

Under COVID-19, more vitamins and dietary supplements companies are repositioning ingredients and product lines around immunity to benefit from the widened interest in the subject. This phenomenon extends across categories and formats within this space.

The 2020-2021 COVID-19 period will only see a deepening interest in immune support

Looking forward, interest in “Immunity Plus” is set to only increase, with further immunity launches outside vitamins and dietary supplements being met by product innovations within.

Introduction

Key findings
Introducing Euromonitor’s Immunity Series

History of Immunity in Vitamins and Dietary Supplements

COVID-19 fears generate an unprecedented interest in immunity
What is meant by “immune support” or “immunity-boosting” claims?
Immune system claims: “supporting” over “boosting” immune benefits
Strong link exists between supplements and immunity
History of immunity: strong US growth in established, new ingredients
History of immunity: Asian growth strong in herbal/traditional offerings
Where does immunity play in 2020?
Consumer response to COVID-19 not the same as typical cold and flu
How long will interest in immunity continue?
The state of immunity in 2020-2021

Examining Immunity Seekers

Immunity as part of the larger supplement universe
The Immunity Seekers: more urban and more educated
Where are Immunity Seekers likely to be?
Immunity Seekers proliferate among professionals, older aged
Immunity Seekers have a broad conception of health
Immunity Seekers have a positive view on vitamins and supplements
Immunity Seekers are frequent users of vitamins and dietary supplements
Immunity Seekers are heavier users of health tech to support goals
Immunity Seekers: multiple ingredients used for immune support
Some immunity ingredients are universal, but regionalism remains
The state of Immunity Seekers in 2020-2021

The Path to “Immunity Plus”

Immunity Seekers engage with other supplement benefits as well
“Immunity Plus” pathway #1: general health and mainstreaming
Despite movement to mainstream, vitamins and supplements dominate
“Immunity Plus” as an extension of general heath
Expansion of cough/cold to include immunity
Herbal/traditional ingredients make an immunity push
“Immunity Plus” pathway #2: immunity’s link to other conditions
Stress suppresses immune response and is constant in modern societies
Adaptogens moving to incorporate immunity messaging
Sleep is an easy extension for immunity positioning
Strong link between gut health and immunity through probiotics
Probiotics usage by age supports movement towards immunity
Probiotics push to more explicit immunity messaging
The next generation of immunity positioning: Sports nutrition
The next generation of immunity positioning: Weight management
Reintroducing long-standing ingredients around immunity
The state of “Immunity Plus” in 2020-2021
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