Analgesics - UK - May 2010
- Growth in consumer expenditure on over-the-counter (OTC) analgesics has slowed in the last two years. Recession is not the sole explanation. The proportion of adults using analgesics has declined and cheaper own-label products have put price pressure on branded products.
- Positive news for analgesics is that they remain an essential store cupboard item – 83% of adults who use painkillers always keep a supply at home. So demand is unlikely to change significantly, even in a recession.
- Although demand has not changed dramatically, explosive growth in sales of own-label products has taken place, creating stiff competition for the leading brands. In the recession, some consumers appear to have re-evaluated their spending priorities becoming thriftier and trading down to basic alternatives. More than half of users are satisfied with own-label products and one in five users just choose the cheapest price.
- Leading brands continue to differentiate themselves from own-label by developing added-value products which command premium prices. Supported by high profile advertising campaigns, leading brands are differentiated by faster-acting , more powerful, or more symptom-specific formulations. Major brands have continued to build market share with such innovations.
- Self-medicating is commonplace among adults. Eight out of ten people say they have to feel really ill before going to the doctor, indicating that they will take responsibility for diagnosing/ medicating themselves when they feel they must. But an element of caution remains: over half usually wait for the pain to go away on its own, without taking medication.
- Even though the vast majority of people have some painkillers close at hand, only 16% see them as the only treatment for pain. And only 13% reach for the painkillers at the first sign of pain. The market for painkillers could grow further if more people were to trust the safety and efficacy of painkillers and take them at an earlier stage when pain strikes.
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