James Dudley Management

James Dudley Management

Self Medication in Europe to 2003 Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements Products

Vitamins, minerals and supplements presents a bright growth picture in a market which has seen growth depressed over the last two years.

Compared to other categories the European vitamins, minerals and supplements (VMS) market showed above average growth.

The VMS category as a whole grew 63.4% between 1993 and 1999 as Graph 1 shows and will continue to grow at between 6% and 7% per year for at least the next three years. According to a new study Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements in Europe’s Self-medication Market to 2003 from James Dudley International Ltd.

The European VMS market is worth a little over $1.8 billion and represents about 12% of the total European market for non-prescription products. The Dudley report covers twelve European markets and it highlights a number of key issues influencing the overall growth prospects for the category across the European region.

Among the important issues are:

  • The slow down of prescription generated semi-ethical business compared to self-medication – since 1991
  • Strong growth in Poland and good potential in other Central European markets despite the political and financial problems in Russia
  • The concentration of dietary supplements around major regional players
  • Increasing consumer usage particularly among older people.

Slow Down of Prescription Driven Semi-ethical Business Compared to Self-medication

Prescription generated semi-ethical growth was considerably reduced between 1991 and 1997 due in the main to healthcare reforms. However, as Graph 2 shows, self-medication growth more than compensated for the poor performance of semi-ethical business.

Italy is a case in point. While semi-ethical growth was only 33% consumer driven purchases were up 177% between 1991 and 1997.

Strong Growth in Poland and Good Prospects in Central Europe

Poland and Slovakia showed growth rates of 315% and 300% respectively between 1991 and 1997. While the Czech Republic grew only 55% over the period over half this growth was achieved over the last two years.

This is partly due to the launch of Centrum in the Republic and shows that the Czech market is responsive to new consumer ideas for dietary supplements.

Competitor Concentration

The European VMS market is considerably more fragmented than other non-prescription categories.

The top six companies have a combined share of 16.1% which is low when compared to say, respiratory remedies where an equivalent number of companies have almost 25% of the European market.

However, acquisitions activity by Merck AG (Seven Seas) and Roche (Rhône Poulenc Rorer’s VMS business) and SmithKline Beecham (Abtei) points to the importance of dietary supplements as core categories for these companies.

Growth in Consumer Usage

The report also highlights the changing in consumer attitudes to health and in the usages of vitamins and supplements especially.

For example, the report shows that Germans are among the most health conscious in Europe with over half taking exercise and avoiding foods seen as bad for their health. While Germans consume about 2.5 tablets a day compared to say, British people who take 1.7 tablets per day.

Yet one clear area of interest arises when age groups are studied. The highest and most frequent users of vitamins, minerals and supplements are found among older age groups. While about half of users take supplements for general health, a third take them for specific reasons.

Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements in Europe to 2003 is part of a new series of market reports from James Dudley International Ltd which include, Upper Respiratory Tract Remedies, Gastro-intestinal Products, Pain Relief Products and Skincare Products.

All rights reserved, but may be reproduced with acknowledgement of source.

Graph 1: Evolution of the European Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements Market 1993 – 2003

Source: Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements Products Self-medication in Europe to 2003 James Dudley International Ltd Autumn 1998

Graph 1 shows the evolution of the total European vitamins, minerals and supplements market from 1993 to 2003.

Graph 2: Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements - % Growth by Value 1991 – 1997 Prescription v Self-Medication Sales

Source: Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements Products Self-medication in Europe to 2003 James Dudley International Ltd Autumn 1998

Graph 2 shows the % value growth of prescription generated semi-ethical business compared to consumer driven self-medication for the period 1991 go 1997.

Graph 3: Key Suppliers’ Share of Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements 1997

Source: Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements Products Self-medication in Europe 2003 James Dudley International Ltd Autumn 1998

Graph 3 shows the share of market achieved by the top six players in the European vitamins, minerals and supplements market.

For January press release check the January release

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