As COVID-19 emerged in the United Arab Emirates, doctors and the media highlighted the importance of sleep to support the body’s immune system, which they stated could help to reduce the risk of being infected or better fight the virus and its many symptoms, while a lack of adequate sleep weakens the body’s defence system and makes people more vulnerable. However, the pandemic also brought with it greater levels of stress and anxiety to the population including job insecurity and disrupted routines in terms of home confinement, which had resulted in many consumers having trouble sleeping or maintaining quality sleep.
Prior to the pandemic, some consumers opted to visit a doctor for a prescription to help them sleep rather than self-medicate with OTC options, but due to increasing reluctance to visit doctors during the pandemic-enforced lockdown, there has a been a greater push towards purchasing sleep aids that can be purchased directly from a retailer without a prescription. OTC sleep aids however, are also often confused with their Rx versions, which are prescribed by doctors.
Sleep aids is set to continue to be characterised by international players, with most local manufacturers viewing it to be a less profitable area of consumer health, especially given the strength of leading brand Panadol Night from GSK Consumer Healthcare. Nevertheless, local player Julphar Gulf Pharmaceuticals is predicted to retain its second rank within sleep aids, due to its popular Adol umbrella brand, which is present in the category with Adol PM, and due to the fact that it is significantly cheaper which appeals to price-sensitive consumers.
While chemists/pharmacies and drugstores/parapharmacies are set to retain their dominance in terms of distributing sleep aids over the forecast period, e-commerce is likely to continue to gain ground as a viable alternative channel. E-commerce was able to benefit from the pandemic with home delivery options and the fact that it offers a greater variety of sleep aids from which to choose, especially for herbal/traditional sleep aids which consumers increasingly trust as a more natural way to address anxiety or sleep problems.
Overall sleep aids is set to continue to record marginally declining sales over the early part of the forecast period before turning to stagnation as the rate of volume decline slows towards 2025. The outlook is not particularly positive, especially for the short term as it is likely to be impacted by the expected exodus of the expatriate workforce.
Beyond the pandemic, the eventual return to daily routines for many consumers in the United Arab Emirates will continue to provide a consumer base for sleep aids, as busy urban lifestyles tend to result in difficulties getting to sleep or attaining quality sleep. This is in addition to being faced with the challenge of the rising cost of living, including increases in home rental and education costs, which will continue to contribute towards sleep deprivation with consumers worrying about their finances, a factor likely to have been exacerbated by the pandemic.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Sleep Aids industry in United Arab Emirates with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Sleep Aids research and analysis database.
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