A government survey conducted in Hong Kong between December 2014 and August 2016 found that 50% of people aged 15 to 84 were overweight or obese. Over the course of a decade, the proportion of people who were overweight rose from 17.
While the publicity surrounding the rising proportion of the population experiencing weight problems is set to bolster demand for weight management and wellbeing products, the general rise in consumer health-consciousness and increasing emphasis on healthy diets and exercise are likely to pull in the other direction. Moreover, health-aware consumers are put off weight management and wellbeing products by concerns about side-effects.
Amongst the key trends shaping demand in weight management and wellbeing at the end of the review period were a growing emphasis on probiotics, the popularity of products containing fermented vegetable extract and the use of organic ingredients. Probiotics are seeing an upsurge in demand across a range of food and health categories, as they are perceived to be linked with improved digestive health, body detoxing and accelerated metabolisms.
Direct sellers have a prominent place in weight management and wellbeing, with Herbalife International of Hong Kong maintaining a strong lead, and growing share, throughout the review period, while Nu Skin Enterprises and Amway also featured amongst the major players in the category in 2018. Herbalife has managed to strengthen its position in weight management through effective use of the internet in its networking and direct selling activity.
Internet retailing accounted for only a small proportion of weight management and wellbeing sales in 2018, though its share grew significantly over the course of the review period. The internet offers the convenience and potential for detailed product information and advice that are strong advantages of direct selling.
While direct selling remained the largest weight management and wellbeing distribution channel in 2018, drugstores/parapharmacies saw its share of value sales increase throughout the review period. This resulted partly from the rise in the number of outlets in the channel, making such stores increasingly accessible and convenient.
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This industry report originates from Passport, our Consumer Health market research database.