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OTC Analgesics and Cough, Cold and Flu Remedies - UK - May 2019

Covered in this report

This report covers only OTC, non-prescription medication, defined by the Proprietary Association of Great Britain as being: ‘Specifically designed to treat the symptoms of common, minor and self-limiting ailments that do not require a medical diagnosis.’

They are divided into two categories:

  • P: Pharmacy-only products, which can only be sold through pharmacies by or in the presence of a qualified pharmacist
  • GSL: General Sales List, which can be sold in any type of outlet.

This report also covers the UK consumer market for OTC cold and flu remedies, cough remedies and decongestants, comprising:

  • Cold remedies: for the treatment of colds, including capsules, tablets, syrups and liquid, powders, hot drinks, caplets and meltlets
  • Decongestants: for the relief of stuffy, blocked up nasal passages, available as embrocation or rub nasal inhalants and oral decongestants
  • Flu remedies: for the treatment of flu, including capsules, tablets, syrups and liquids, powders, hot drinks, caplets and meltlets
  • Cough remedies: for the relief of coughing, available as syrups and liquids
  • Medicated confectionery: for the relief of sore throats, nasal congestion and coughing.

“There remains significant potential yet to be realised within the topical analgesic segment, particularly if brands can focus on differentiating their products more clearly from oral pain relief products. In addition, given the consumer trend towards looking at health more holistically, brands in the analgesic and cough, cold and flu remedy space can also look to develop new products to diversify their focus away from remedies into prevention and recovery.”
– Hera Crossan, Research Analyst

This report looks at the following areas:

  • Potential still exists for topical analgesics
  • Holistic approaches could offer growth

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Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Products covered in this Report
      • Executive Summary

          • The market
            • Growth may not be sustainable
              • Figure 1: Best- and worst-case forecast of UK value sales of OTC analgesics and cold and flu remedies, 2013-23
            • Companies and brands
              • Solpadeine benefits from renewed advertising push
                • Figure 2: Retail value sales of all OTC analgesics, % share by brand, year ending February 2019
              • Night Nurse bucks declining trend
                • Figure 3: Retail value sales of cold and flu remedies, % share by brand, year ending February 2019
              • Fall in cough syrup sales may be related to sugar concerns
                • Figure 4: Retail value sales of cough liquids, % share by brand, year ending February 2019
              • Jakemans benefits from increased adspend
                • Figure 5: Retail value sales of medicated confectionery, % share by brand, year ending February 2019
              • The consumer
                • Headaches common, especially among 25-34s
                  • Figure 6: Types of pain suffered in the last 12 months, April 2018 vs March 2019
                • Encouragement for further topical analgesic development
                  • Figure 7: Treatments sought for types of pain, March 2019
                • Combination analgesics usage falls
                  • Figure 8: OTC oral analgesic formats used, April 2018 vs March 20192018 and 2019
                • Encouragement for further topical analgesic development
                  • Figure 9: OTC topical analgesic formats used, April 2018 vs March 2019
                • Reassertion of the value of topical analgesics could pay off
                  • Figure 10: Attitudes towards topical analgesics, March 2019
                • An increase in incidence of sore throats
                  • Figure 11: Types of cold/flu and cough/sore throat (not as symptoms of cold/flu) suffered in the last 12 months, April 2018 vs March 2019
                • Consumers still lean on traditional remedies for cold and flu
                  • Figure 12: Treatments sought for cold/flu and cough/sore throat (not as symptoms of cold/flu), March 2019
                • Topical remedies seen as less value for money
                  • Figure 13: Correspondence analysis of perceptions of cold/flu remedy formats, March 2019
                • Painkillers taking the place of cold and flu remedies
                  • Figure 14: Behaviours around cold and flu remedies, March 2019
                • What we think
                • Issues and Insights

                  • Potential still exists for topical analgesics
                    • The facts
                      • The implications
                        • Holistic approaches could offer growth
                          • The facts
                            • The implications
                            • The Market – What You Need to Know

                              • Growth may not be sustainable
                                • Analgesics benefit from NHS struggles
                                  • Cold and flu remedies battle consumer preference for analgesics
                                    • Price pressure driven by supermarkets, discounters
                                      • Obesity in unexpected jump
                                        • Ageing population may mean more pain management
                                          • Physical symptoms of stress could drive painkiller sales
                                          • Market Size and Forecast

                                            • Current growth may not be sustainable
                                              • Figure 15: UK retail value sales of OTC analgesics and cold and flu remedies, at current and constant prices, 2013-23
                                            • Growth to remain slow but steady
                                              • Figure 16: Best- and worst-case forecast of UK value sales of OTC analgesics and cold and flu remedies, 2013-23
                                            • Forecast methodology
                                            • Market Segmentation

                                              • Analgesics benefit from NHS struggles
                                                • Figure 17: UK retail value sales of OTC analgesics, by segment, 2017 and 2018
                                              • Cold and flu remedies battle consumer preference for analgesics
                                                • Figure 18: UK retail value sales of OTC cold and flu remedies, by segment, 2017 and 2018
                                            • Channels to Market

                                              • Pricing pressure driven by supermarkets and discounters
                                                • Figure 19: UK retail value sales of OTC analgesics, cough, cold and flu relief and medicated confectionery, by outlet type, 2017 and 2018
                                            • Market Drivers

                                              • Smoking rate falls
                                                • Figure 20: Smoking prevalence in adults – Current smokers (APS) proportion percentage, 2011-17
                                              • State of nation’s health provides opportunity for diversification
                                                • Figure 21: Trends in body mass index (BMI), England, 2000-17
                                                • Figure 22: Stress experienced in the last 12 months, by age, February 2018
                                              • Sugar awareness could change consumer preferences
                                                • Ageing population may mean more pain management
                                                  • Figure 23: Trends in the age structure of the UK population, 2013-23
                                                • Cuts to NHS minor ailment scheme could benefit own-label brands
                                                  • Figure 24: Buy Your Own Simple Painkillers campaign, 2017
                                                • Flu vaccine uptake rises
                                                • Companies and Brands – What You Need to Know

                                                  • Solpadeine benefits from renewed advertising push
                                                    • Night Nurse bucks declining trend
                                                      • NPD falls as manufacturers seek margin
                                                        • Topicals still lead the way in analgesics NPD
                                                          • Topical trend may be spreading to cold and flu category
                                                            • Voltarol campaign drives topical analgesic adspend
                                                            • Market Share

                                                              • Solpadeine benefits from renewed advertising push
                                                                • Figure 25: Retail value sales of OTC analgesics, by brand, years ending February 2018 and 2019
                                                              • Night Nurse bucks declining trend
                                                                • Figure 26: Retail value sales of cold and flu remedies, by brand, years ending February 2018 and 2019
                                                              • Cough syrup decline may be associated with sugar concerns
                                                                • Figure 27: Retail value sales of cough liquids, by brand, years ending February 2018 and 2019
                                                              • Jakemans benefits from increased adspend
                                                                • Figure 28: Retail value sales of medicated confectionery, by brand, years ending February 2018 and 2019
                                                            • Launch Activity and Innovation

                                                              • Analgesics
                                                                • NPD falls as manufacturers seek margin
                                                                  • Figure 29: New product launches in the OTC analgesics market, by launch type, January 2016-March 2019
                                                                • Topicals still lead the way in analgesics NPD
                                                                  • Figure 30: New product launches in the OTC analgesics market, by format type, January 2016-March 2019
                                                                  • Figure 31: New product launch examples of non-ingested OTC analgesics, 2018
                                                                • NPD is fragmented
                                                                  • Figure 32: New product launches in the OTC analgesics market, by top 10 ultimate companies and other, 2018
                                                                  • Figure 33: Nurofen’s Joint & Muscular Pain Relief Medicated Plaster launch, October 2018
                                                                  • Figure 34: New packaging and relaunch examples of OTC analgesics from top four ultimate companies, 2018
                                                                  • Figure 35: Examples of new variety/range extension launches in own-label OTC analgesics, 2018
                                                                • Ethical claims rise
                                                                  • Figure 36: Top 10 claims in the OTC analgesics market, 2017 and 2018
                                                                  • Figure 37: New launch examples of sugar-free babies’ & toddlers’ analgesics, 2018
                                                                • Cough, cold and flu remedies
                                                                  • NPD falls in declining category
                                                                    • Figure 38: New product development in the cough, cold and flu remedies market, by launch type, January 2016-March 2019
                                                                  • Topical trend may be spreading to cold and flu category
                                                                    • Figure 39: Examples of new product launches in the cough, cold and flu remedies market, 2018
                                                                    • Figure 40: New product development in the cough, cold and flu remedies market*, by format, January 2016-March 2019
                                                                    • Figure 41: Examples of non-ingested cough, cold and flu remedy launches, 2018
                                                                  • No clear leader in cold and flu NPD
                                                                    • Figure 42: New product development in the cough, cold and flu remedies market, by top ultimate companies and others, January 2016-March 2019
                                                                    • Figure 43: Examples of oral cough, cold and flu remedy launches from top ultimate companies, 2018
                                                                  • No-additives/preservatives claims on the rise
                                                                    • Figure 44: Top 10 claims in the cough, cold and flu remedies market, 2017 and 2018
                                                                    • Figure 45: Examples of cough, cold and flu remedy launches with natural claims, 2018
                                                                • Advertising and Marketing Activity

                                                                  • Analgesics
                                                                    • Recorded adspend rises as brands push topicals
                                                                      • Figure 46: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on OTC analgesics, January 2016-March 2019
                                                                    • Several brands increase adspend on topicals
                                                                      • Figure 47: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on OTC analgesics, by top advertisers and other, January 2017-March 2019
                                                                    • Voltarol dominates share of voice
                                                                      • Figure 48: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on OTC analgesics, by top brands and other, 2018
                                                                    • Voltarol aims to get people moving
                                                                      • Figure 49: Voltarol advert – Take 2 Minutes to Move, 2018
                                                                    • Nurofen highlights speed
                                                                      • Figure 50: Nurofen Express 200mg Liquid Capsules advert, 2019
                                                                      • Figure 51: Nurofen’s experimental pop-up garden at London King’s Cross station, October 2018
                                                                    • Significant use of digital
                                                                      • Figure 52: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on OTC analgesics, by media type, January 2016-March 2019
                                                                    • Cough, cold and flu remedies
                                                                      • Adspend falls as brands cut back
                                                                        • Figure 53: Recorded above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cold/flu and cough remedies, January 2016-March 2019
                                                                      • Vicks benefits from rising adspend
                                                                        • Figure 54: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cold/flu and cough remedies, by top advertisers and other, January 2017-March 2019
                                                                        • Figure 55: Day & Night Nurse advert, 2018
                                                                      • Splintered market sees adspend spread
                                                                        • Figure 56: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cold/flu and cough remedies, by top brands and other, 2018
                                                                      • TV adspend falls as manufacturers make cuts
                                                                        • Figure 57: Total above-the-line, online display and direct mail advertising expenditure on cold/flu and cough remedies, by media type, January 2016-March 2019
                                                                        • Figure 58: Benylin digital campaign, 2018
                                                                      • Nielsen Ad Intel coverage
                                                                      • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                        • Headaches common, especially among 25-34s
                                                                          • Oral analgesics most popular, but topicals making progress
                                                                            • CBD oil may represent threat to growth
                                                                              • Expense a barrier for topicals
                                                                                • Homemade remedies popular with parents
                                                                                  • Painkillers taking the place of cold and flu remedies
                                                                                  • Types of Pain Suffered and Treatments Sought

                                                                                    • Headaches common, especially among 25-34s
                                                                                      • Figure 59: Types of pain suffered in the last 12 months, 2018 and 2019
                                                                                    • Period pain a key driver of sales
                                                                                      • Oral remedies remain most popular
                                                                                        • Figure 60: Treatments sought for any head pain, March 2019
                                                                                      • Topicals rise for body pain
                                                                                        • Figure 61: Treatments sought for any body pain, March 2019
                                                                                      • Opportunity to target menstrual pain with alternative treatments
                                                                                        • Figure 62: Treatments sought for menstrual pain, March 2019
                                                                                    • Analgesic Formats

                                                                                      • Combination analgesics fall in popularity
                                                                                        • Figure 63: OTC oral analgesic formats used, April 2018 vs March 2019
                                                                                      • Encouragement for further topical analgesic development
                                                                                        • Figure 64: OTC topical analgesic formats used, April 2018 vs March 2019
                                                                                      • CBD oil may represent threat to growth
                                                                                      • Attitudes towards Topical Analgesics

                                                                                        • Reassertion of the value of topical analgesics could pay off
                                                                                          • Figure 65: Attitudes towards topical analgesics, March 2019
                                                                                        • Expense a barrier for topicals…
                                                                                          • …as is perceived wastefulness
                                                                                          • Experience of Colds and Flu and Treatments Sought

                                                                                            • An increase in incidence of sore throats
                                                                                              • Figure 66: Types of cold/flu and cough/sore throat (not as symptoms of cold/flu) suffered in the last 12 months, April 2018 vs March 2019
                                                                                            • Consumers still lean on traditional remedies for cold and flu
                                                                                              • Figure 67: Treatments sought for cold/flu, March 2019
                                                                                            • Homemade cold/flu remedies popular with parents
                                                                                              • Young people more open to topicals for cough and sore throat
                                                                                                • Figure 68: Treatments sought for cough/sore throat (not as symptoms of cold/flu), March 2019
                                                                                            • Perceptions of Cold and Flu Remedy Formats

                                                                                              • Topical remedies seen as less value for money
                                                                                                • Figure 69: Correspondence analysis of perceptions of cold/flu remedy formats, March 2019
                                                                                                • Figure 70: Perceptions associated with cold/flu remedy formats, March 2019
                                                                                            • Behaviours around Cold and Flu Remedies

                                                                                              • Painkillers taking the place of cold and flu remedies
                                                                                                • Figure 71: Behaviours around cold and flu remedies, March 2019
                                                                                              • Speed remains critical…
                                                                                                • …as does trust
                                                                                                  • Brands still carry value for consumers
                                                                                                  • Appendix – Data Sources, Abbreviations and Supporting Information

                                                                                                      • Abbreviations
                                                                                                        • Consumer research methodology
                                                                                                          • Forecast methodology
                                                                                                          • Appendix – Market Size and Forecast

                                                                                                              • Figure 72: Best- and worst-case forecast of UK value sales of OTC analgesics, 2013-23
                                                                                                              • Figure 73: Best- and worst-case forecast of UK value sales of OTC cough, cold and flu remedies and decongestants, 2013-23
                                                                                                          • Appendix – Companies and Brands

                                                                                                              • Figure 74: New product launches in the OTC analgesics market, own-label vs branded, January 2016-March 2019
                                                                                                              • Figure 75: New product development in the cough, cold and flu remedies market, by sub-category, January 2016-March 2019
                                                                                                              • Figure 76: New product development in the cough, cold and flu remedies market, branded vs own-label, January 2016-March 2019

                                                                                                          OTC Analgesics and Cough, Cold and Flu Remedies - UK - May 2019

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