Drugstores Move to Third Place as VSM Sales Outlet

Article excerpt

Health and natural food stores remained the stronghold for vitamin, supplements, and mineral (VSM) products in 1998, accounting for 38.5% of sales. Drugstores forfeited second place to mass-merchandisers. This news comes from "The U.S. Market for Vitamins, Supplements, and Minerals," a study published by Packaged Facts, a division of New York City-based Kalorama Information.

According to the report, VSM product retail sales neared $8.9 billion in 1998, up 78% over $5.0 billion in 1994. This represents a compound annual growth rate of 15.4%. By the year 2003, retail sales in the VSM market are expected to exceed $16.5 billion, for a compound annual growth rate of 14.2% from 1994 to 2003.

In 1998, mass-merchandisers surpassed drugstores to become the second-largest outlet for VSM products, with an 18.7% market share. Drugstores accounted for 18.4% of sales in 1998, with 12.8% from chain drugs and 5.6% from independent drugstores. Despite the decline in share of VSM sales in both chain and independent drugstores in the wake of gains by mass-merchandisers, VSM products became the No. 2 category in dollar sales in drugstores.

While vitamins remain the largest VSM category in drugstores and mass-merchandisers, their share dropped from 72.5% in 1994 to 55.0% in 1998. The share commanded by supplements has risen from 13.1% to 29.0%; the mineral category share has increased from 14.4% to 16%.

Adult multivitamins continue to gather the largest share, even though they declined from 32.0% in 1994 to 22.3% in 1998. They are expected to continue downward as specialty supplement sales increase.

The herbal supplement market in drugstores includes hundreds of different kinds of products. …