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eCommerce Maintains Top Spot in Vitamin Category

Phase 2

Amazon, the online retail channel, is the top outlet for sales of vitamin, mineral and supplements (VMS), hitting $2 billion and surpassing Walmart’s vitamin sales of $1.7 billion in 2016, according to the 2016 TABS Analytics Vitamin and Minerals and Supplements Study. Vitamin specialty, which includes Vitamin Shoppe and GNC, ($1.5 billion); Costco ($1.3 billion); and CVS ($1.2 billion) round out the next three largest outlets for annual VMS sales.

TABS, based in Connecticut, found that VMS sales were up three percent compared to 2015 and were being driven primarily by increases in pricing. TABS Analytics estimates the annual U.S. VMS retail market to be $12.8 billion.

The study, which is in its seventh consecutive year, was conducted in April 2016 by Caravan, part of ORC International, and surveyed 1,017 geographically and demographically dispersed adult consumers between the ages of 18 and 75. The purpose of the study was to determine how many types of vitamins and nutritional supplements were purchased, what types of vitamins and nutritional supplements were regularly purchased (three or more times per year), and where vitamins and nutritional supplements were regularly purchased.

Amazon continued to lead all online domains with a 35 percent share of purchase occasions (a proxy share). Pure play domains (online retailers without brick and mortar stores) dominate online sales with a 78.1 percent share compared to brick and mortar online sales (21.9 percent).

The survey revealed that online brick and mortar domains lost a significant amount of share to pure play domains.

Kurt Jetta, PhD, president and founder of TABS Analytics, said “The studies we have done over the last several years point to online sales in several consumer packaged goods sectors having peaked and are now flattening out.”

A key trend that TABS VMS studies have uncovered is that beginning in 2012, there has been a decline in the number of heavy buyers (those who purchased more than three types of vitamins in a year) and this continued into 2016. Heavy buyer penetration peaked at 40 percent in 2012. But in 2016, heavy buyer penetration dropped to 30 percent. This large drop in heavy buyers occurred in the mass market channels. Specialty stores and online stores have held onto their heavy buyer base and also gained light buyers. This is the first time since 2010 that TABS has tracked a shift in the Vitamin market away from mass market and towards Specialty Brick & Mortar. However, mass market is still the most-shopped channel with 65 percent of buyers shopping in it exclusively, while only 14 percent of all buyers shop exclusively at non-mass channels (online or in specialty stores).
For more information, visit www.tabsanalytics.com.