General Merchandise: Health Care 2014

By  Samantha Oller, Senior Editor/Special Projects Coordinator

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Where the Gains Are

C-store sales, 52 weeks ending Dec. 29, 2013

C-store sales of over-the-counter (OTC) medication flagged in 2013, with even the largest segment—analgesics—seeing declines. Dollar sales of analgesics fell by 1.4% and unit sales fell 5.5%, according to IRI. Cold, allergy and sinus tablets saw smaller declines than in 2012 but still gave up nearly 5% ofdollar sales and nearly 4% in units. Gastrointestinal-remedy dollars were down by 2% and units fell more than 4%.

Weight control/nutrition liquids continued to see gains in 2013, up nearly 10% in c-store dollar sales and nearly 8% in units. The Muscle Milk brand claimed more than two-thirds of dollar sales in the subcategory, but VPX Redline Xtreme and Core Power brands showed significant growth in that segment, according to IRI. C-store sales of energy shots were anemic for a second straight year, declining nearly 9% in dollars and falling 8% in units.

Pain Relievers    
Remedy typeC-store sales ($ millions)PCYAUnit sales (millions)PCYA
Internal analgesic tablets$327.1-1.8%159.9-5.8%
Internal analgesic liquids$5.829.5%0.928.7%
Feminine pain relievers$5.5-0.9%1.88.0%
Total internal analgesics (including segments not shown)$338.5-1.4%162.5-5.5%
Cold/Allergy/Sinus    
Tablets/packets$117.4-4.7%42.8-3.6%
Liquids$29.44.3%3.7-1.3%
Cough Remedies    
Cough drops$98.43.5%67.61.0%
Cough syrups$6.2-6.9%1.0-7.0%
Gastrointestinal    
Antacid tablets$77.0-1.7%51.2-5.0%
Gastrointestinal liquids$20.3-6.9%4.7-11.4%
Stomach remedy tablets$13.414.8%5.512.0%
Antacid/analgesic combo$9.7-7.9%5.0-6.7%
Diarrhea tablets$6.5-24.1%3.2-8.8%

Source: IRI


Cross-Category Opportunity

According to recent research by Management Science Associates that examined point-of-sale data at three midsize c-store chains, purchasers of e-cigarettes were more likely to buy energy shots, followed by packaged beverages. This reveals an opportunity for retailers to merchandise these categories closer together or tie together with promotions to help energy shots, whose sales have flagged over the past couple of years, hitch onto the rising success of e-cigarettes.


Energy & Sleep Aids    
Aid typeC-store sales ($ millions)PCYAUnit sales (millions)PCYA
Energy shots$803.5-8.8%254.5-8.0%
Sleeping remedies$14.614.6%4.83.7%
Weight Control/Nutrition    
Liquids/powers$274.49.8%80.07.8%
Candy/tablets$40.1-4.3%20.1-6.0%
Vitamins & Nutrition    
Vitamins$89.8-6.9%35.6-8.2%
Baby formula/electolytes$11.0-15.3%0.8%-15.7%

Source: IRI

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