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US Cough, Cold, Flu and Allergy Remedies market report

Everything you need to make the right decisions

Providing the most comprehensive and up-to-date information and analysis of the Cough, Cold, Flu and Allergy Remedies: Incl Impact of COVID-19 market, and the behaviours, preferences and habits of the consumer.

Mintel has the answers you’re looking for

What are the key challenges facing the industry? Who is the consumer and what do they want? Where are the opportunities, where are the risks and what lies ahead?

Covered in this report

Cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies help adults feel in control of their health when common illness occurs. In the midst of the global pandemic COVID-19, feeling safe, healthy and protected is more important than ever. In years to come, proactive purchasing of essential OTC medication, health measures that provide a sense of security and the importance of self-isolation when sick will increase, creating areas of opportunity for symptom relief solutions and illness management.

All reports purchased from the Mintel Store now come with free access to our COVID-19 Global Insights Hub, allowing you to understand how industries and consumer behaviour is changing worldwide.


What does the COVID-19 Global Insights Hub give you access to?

  • Over 450 pieces of research (with more published each week) addressing markets across the globe.
  • Discover how people in countries at different stages of the crisis are adjusting to the 'new normal'.
  • Trending industries which have seen growth due to the changes in circumstance.
  • Our latest consumer research surveys, allowing you to see customers views right now.

Expert analysis from a specialist in the field

Written by Andrea Wroble, a leading analyst in the Health & Wellness sector, her extensive knowledge delivers in-depth commentary and analysis to highlight current trends and add expert context to the numbers.

The COVID-19 pandemic has amplified the importance of illness management. Methods practiced during the outbreak are likely to hold lasting impact, such as staying home when sick and increasing illness prevention measures such as washing hands and using hand sanitizer. Americans’ renewed focus on health and safety emphasizes the role of self-led, at-home treatment methods such as OTC medication to manage symptoms of common illness Andrea Wroble
Heath & Wellness Analyst

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What's included

What's included

Table of contents

Table of contents

  1. Overview

    • What you need to know
      • Key issues covered in this Report
        • Definition
        • Executive Summary

            • Figure 1: Short, medium and longer term impact of COVID-19 on cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies, April 2020
          • Market overview
            • Figure 2: Total US retail sales and forecast of cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies at current prices, 2014-24
          • Top takeaways
            • The issues
              • COVID-19 increases demand for cold, cough, flu solutions
                • Consumers are loyal to effective symptom relief, not brand name
                  • Figure 3: Agree always choose remedies that worked in the past and symptom a product treats is more important than brand name, January 2020
                • The “no sick days” mentality contributes to consumer guilt
                  • Figure 4: I can’t afford to stay home when I’m sick, December 2018
                • The opportunities
                  • Building proactive purchase through immune system support
                    • Figure 5: Select attitudes toward immune system support products, January 2020
                  • A spoonful of wellness helps the medicine go down
                    • Figure 6: Product usage by ailment experienced – any ailment (net), January 2020
                  • What it means/what’s next
                  • The Impact of COVID-19 on Cold, Cough, Flu and Allergy Remedies

                    • What you need to know
                      • Figure 7: Short, medium and longer term impact of COVID-19 on cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies, April 2020
                    • Opportunities and Threats
                      • Worry over contracting illness heightens purchases of cold, cough, flu remedies
                        • An untapped need to prepare Americans for future illness seasons
                          • Vaccinations could gain more favorable standing following outbreak
                            • Germ reducing habits beyond COVID-19 may flatten the common illness curve
                              • Offer full product support for illness management
                                • Figure 8: Instagram post, Cabinet preparedness kit, April 2020
                              • Help illness worriers become illness warriors
                                • Impact on the cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies market
                                  • Figure 9: Total US retail sales and forecast of cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies at current prices, 2014-24
                                • How the crisis will affect cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies key consumer segments
                                  • Stay home to stay safe: the new expectation
                                    • Figure 10: I can’t afford to stay home when I’m sick, December 2018
                                  • Allergy sufferers will stay in control of their symptoms
                                    • Figure 11: Frequency of ailments experienced in the past 12 months, January 2020
                                  • Parents already have medicine on hand; the “do-it-all” stigma will shift
                                    • Establishing a relationship between the aging population and telehealth
                                      • Figure 12: Physician interaction as symptoms worsen, by age, January 2020
                                    • Young adults are more active in immune system support than illness management
                                      • Figure 13: Self-led treatment methods at the onset of symptoms – any rank, by age, January 2020
                                    • Room to grow young adults’ understanding of illness management
                                      • How a COVID-19 recession will reshape the cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies industry
                                        • OTC market maintained sales during last recession
                                          • Naturals must prove efficacy to be considered over mainstream brands
                                            • Private label brands will continue to command sales from mainstream players
                                              • COVID-19: US context
                                              • The Market – What You Need to Know

                                                • High incidence of illness means high purchase rate of OTCs
                                                  • Stocking up leads to more purchases from online/mass retailers
                                                    • Natural claims increase as consumers prioritize safety
                                                      • For the most part, everyone gets sick.
                                                      • Market Size and Forecast

                                                        • Incidence of illness and fear over COVID-19 bolsters the cold, cough, flu and allergy remedy market
                                                          • Figure 14: Total US retail sales and forecast of cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies at current prices, 2014-24
                                                      • Market Breakdown

                                                        • Cold/sinus remedies dominate market share
                                                          • Figure 15: Total US retail sales and forecast of cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies, by segment, at current prices, 2014-19
                                                        • Online and mass retailers surpass drugstores as main purchase location
                                                          • Figure 16: Total US retail sales of cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies, by channel, at current prices, 2017 and 2019
                                                      • Market Perspective

                                                        • Natural claims mainstream in the CCFA category
                                                          • Figure 17: Cold, cough, flu and allergy products, by top three leading claims, 2015-2020
                                                        • The Amazon impact on OTC categories is growing
                                                          • Figure 18: Select attitudes toward Amazon, by age, January 2020
                                                      • Market Factors

                                                        • Propensity to treat common ailments boosts market
                                                          • Figure 19: Any treatment by ailment experienced – net, January 2020
                                                        • Who gets sick? Everyone, especially parents
                                                          • Figure 20: Ailments experienced in the past 12 months, by various demographics, January 2020
                                                        • Family living creates significant market for CCFA remedies
                                                          • Figure 21: Family and non-family households, 2018
                                                        • Growing aging population experiences lower incidence of common illness
                                                          • Figure 22: Population aged 18 or older, by age, 2014-24
                                                      • Key Players – What You Need to Know

                                                        • Legacy brands maintain growth
                                                          • Natural remedies can help parents and their kids
                                                            • New formats could differentiate crowded shelves
                                                              • Private label brands increase presence across segments
                                                                • Stop the “sick day” guilt
                                                                  • Immune system support is the next big thing
                                                                    • Sip on wellness
                                                                      • Bringing allergy testing into mainstream drug stores
                                                                      • Company and Brand Sales of Cold, Cough, Flu and Allergy Remedies

                                                                        • Key players maintain growth in common illness management
                                                                          • Figure 23: Multi-outlet sales of cold, cough, flu, and allergy remedies, by leading companies, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                        • Legacies Mucinex and Vicks dominate the cold/sinus market
                                                                          • Figure 24: Multi-outlet sales of cold/sinus remedies, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                      • What’s Working

                                                                        • Going viral: Mucinex partners with TikTok
                                                                          • Figure 25: Multi-outlet sales of Mucinex, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                        • Natural remedies targeted to parents
                                                                          • Figure 26: Multi-outlet sales of select natural remedies, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                        • Claritin explores new format to differentiate from competitors
                                                                          • Figure 27: Multi-outlet sales of allergy remedies, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                      • What’s Struggling

                                                                        • Private label continues to close the gap across segments
                                                                          • Figure 28: Multi-outlet sales of cold, cough, flu, and allergy remedies, by total brands and private label, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020
                                                                        • “No days off” mentality contributes to the spread of illness
                                                                          • Figure 29: Worry over risk of exposure to COVID-19, March 27-April 2, 2020
                                                                      • What to Watch

                                                                        • Proactive immune system support offers opportunity
                                                                          • Finding wellness during illness
                                                                            • Figure 30: Product usage by ailment experienced – any ailment (net), January 2020
                                                                          • Allergy testing in retail health setting
                                                                          • The Consumer – What You Need to Know

                                                                            • Nearly all adults experience common illness
                                                                              • OTC treatments are the go-to solution, naturals are secondary
                                                                                • Americans are individualistic when it comes to common illness
                                                                                  • Adults manage illness with self-led methods at the onset of symptoms
                                                                                    • When symptoms worsen, it’s time to call the doctor
                                                                                      • Familiarity and perceived efficacy are most important
                                                                                      • Ailments Experienced and Frequency

                                                                                        • Common illness is universal among US adults
                                                                                          • Figure 31: Ailments experienced in the past 12 months, January 2020
                                                                                        • Allergy and illness symptoms occur most regularly
                                                                                          • Figure 32: Frequency of ailments experienced in the past 12 months, January 2020
                                                                                        • Allergies don’t differentiate based on demographic
                                                                                          • Figure 33: Regular incidence of allergies in the past 12 months, by various demographics, January 2020
                                                                                        • Parents get germs from their little ones
                                                                                            • Figure 34: Ailments experienced in the past 12 months, by children in the household, January 2020
                                                                                        • Product Usage by Ailment Experienced

                                                                                          • Cold, cough, flu and allergy ailments share treatment methods
                                                                                            • Traditional OTCs offering multi-symptom relief are widely used
                                                                                              • Natural remedies may struggle with perceived efficacy
                                                                                                • A wellness focus could bolster consideration of naturally positioned products
                                                                                                  • Figure 35: Product usage by ailment experienced, January 2020
                                                                                                • OTC remedies remain the go-to treatment solution
                                                                                                  • Figure 36: Product usage by ailment experienced – any ailment (net), January 2020
                                                                                                • Naturally positioned remedies garner interest among young women
                                                                                                  • Figure 37: Product usage by ailment experienced – any ailment (net), by gender and age, January 2020
                                                                                                • Natural remedy takers are open to proactive treatment methods
                                                                                                  • Figure 38: Product usage by ailment experienced – any ailment (net), by product usage, January 2020
                                                                                              • Flu Shot Attitudes and Barriers

                                                                                                • Flu shots are prioritized by half of Americans
                                                                                                  • The flu impacts many, but flu shots protect many more
                                                                                                    • Figure 39: Flu shot incidence, January 2020
                                                                                                  • Who is more likely than average to get a flu shot?
                                                                                                    • Pandemic puts the importance of vaccination in perspective
                                                                                                      • Seasonal flu getters seek protection from the flu shot
                                                                                                        • Figure 40: Frequency of ailments experienced in the past 12 months, by flu shot incidence, January 2020
                                                                                                      • Help me help myself
                                                                                                        • Figure 41: Reasons for getting the flu shot, January 2020
                                                                                                      • Adults who don’t get the flu shot are not easy to influence
                                                                                                        • Figure 42: Motivations to get a flu shot, January 2020
                                                                                                    • Ailment Management at the Onset of Symptoms

                                                                                                      • Simple, familiar methods act as initial illness defense
                                                                                                        • Self-treatment is preferred when symptoms first occur
                                                                                                          • Natural remedies have a place at the onset of symptoms
                                                                                                            • Figure 43: Ailment management at the onset of symptoms, January 2020
                                                                                                          • Young adults take less action at the onset of symptoms
                                                                                                            • Figure 44: Self-led treatment methods at the onset of symptoms – any rank, by age, January 2020
                                                                                                        • Ailment Management as Symptoms Worsen

                                                                                                          • Self-led treatment methods hold strong for severe symptoms
                                                                                                            • Adults still rely on OTC medication when symptoms worsen
                                                                                                              • Consumers are confident in their treatment approach for common illness
                                                                                                                • Figure 45: Ailment management as symptoms worsen, January 2020
                                                                                                              • Seeking medical attention increases with symptom severity
                                                                                                                • Figure 46: Physician interaction at the onset of symptoms vs as symptoms worsen, January 2020
                                                                                                              • Age differentiates physician interaction
                                                                                                                • Aging adults find comfort in visiting the doctor’s office
                                                                                                                  • 18-24 year olds are a good target for immediate care facilities
                                                                                                                    • Virtual visits skew toward 25-24 year olds
                                                                                                                      • Figure 47: Physician interaction as symptoms worsen, by age, January 2020
                                                                                                                  • Attitudes toward Recovery Remedies

                                                                                                                    • Familiarity and trust are key for symptom management
                                                                                                                      • The power of familiarity and trust cannot be replicated
                                                                                                                        • Product claims and side effect profile are more impactful than brand name
                                                                                                                          • Opportunity for immune system support to shift the market from reactive to proactive
                                                                                                                            • Figure 48: Attitudes toward recovery remedies, January 2020
                                                                                                                          • Attitudes toward recovery don’t change when ailments occur
                                                                                                                            • Figure 49: Ailments experienced, by attitudes toward recovery remedies, January 2020
                                                                                                                          • Older adults want safety first
                                                                                                                            • Figure 50: Select attitudes toward recovery remedies, by age, January 2020
                                                                                                                          • Women avoid added side effects
                                                                                                                            • Figure 51: Select attitudes toward recovery remedies, by gender, January 2020
                                                                                                                        • Appendix – Data Sources and Abbreviations

                                                                                                                          • Data sources
                                                                                                                            • Sales data
                                                                                                                              • Consumer survey data
                                                                                                                                • Abbreviations and terms
                                                                                                                                  • Abbreviations
                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – The Market

                                                                                                                                      • Figure 52: Total US retail sales and forecast of cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies, at inflation-adjusted prices, 2014-2024
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 53: Total US retail sales of cold, cough, flu and allergy remedies, by segment, at current prices, 2017 and 2019
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 54: Total US retail sales of cold/sinus remedies, at current prices, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 55: Total US retail sales of cold/throat remedies, at current prices, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                      • Figure 56: Total US retail sales of allergy remedies, at current prices, 2014-19
                                                                                                                                  • Appendix – Key Players

                                                                                                                                      • Figure 57: Multi-outlet sales of cold/throat remedies, by leading companies and brands, rolling 52 weeks 2019 and 2020

                                                                                                                                  About the report

                                                                                                                                  This report will give you a complete 360-degree view of your market. Not only is it rooted in robust proprietary and high-quality third-party data, but our industry experts put that data into context and you’ll quickly understand:

                                                                                                                                  • The Consumer

                                                                                                                                    What They Want. Why They Want It.

                                                                                                                                  • The Competitors

                                                                                                                                    Who’s Winning. How To Stay Ahead.

                                                                                                                                  • The Market

                                                                                                                                    Size, Segments, Shares And Forecasts: How It All Adds Up.

                                                                                                                                  • The Innovations

                                                                                                                                    New Ideas. New Products. New Potential.

                                                                                                                                  • The Opportunities

                                                                                                                                    Where The White Space Is. How To Make It Yours.

                                                                                                                                  • The Trends

                                                                                                                                    What’s Shaping Demand – Today And Tomorrow.

                                                                                                                                  Please Note: This is a sample report. All of the figures, graphs, and tables have been redacted.

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