Magazine article Drug Topics

Give Cold/allergy/sinus Items a Full Head of Steam

Magazine article Drug Topics

Give Cold/allergy/sinus Items a Full Head of Steam

Article excerpt

When a $3.46 billion market posts an 11% increase, it's better news for retailers than the arrival of a new $380 million category. Finding space for a new category can be a real challenge. But to take advantage of last year's cough and cold increase, retailers had only to refine their assortments check their prices and then reap the profits.

Drugstores' share of the cough and cold market amounted to about $1.6 billion. Cold, allergy, and sinus remedies alone produced nearly $1 billion in drugstore sales. New items played a key role in the market's double-digit increase.

Over the past four years, manufacturers have interjected at least 178 new branded cold, allergy, and sinus products into the subcategory. Thus far in 1994, 39 branded items have been added, of which approximately one-third are liquid gel capsules (liquicaps or liquigels).

Severe winter weather, flu outbreaks of more than average virulence, and advertising spending that topped $360 million also contributed to category growth. Product types that outpaced the category were allergy relievers (up 20%), flu remedies, severe cold formulations, nighttime cold relievers, no drowsiness products, and multisymptom formulations for children. Sales of private-label products grew 19% and no surpass those of Vick's NyQuil, the category's best-selling brand.

Consumers responded best to new products that really were new. They also liked products that lasted a long time and treated multiple symptoms. The Tavist brand's "original prescription strength" message was powerful, and Tavist-D satisfied consumers' other preferences since it treats more than one symptom and lasts 12 hours.

A new delivery system Gastrointestinal Therapeutic System (GITS), gave Efidac/24 a unique feature--once-daily dosing.

Liquid gel capsules and gelcaps also found favor with consumers. Sales of liquicaps reportedly jumped 100% last year, and six of 1993's 10 most successful new SKUs were liquid gel capsules or gelcaps.

The emergence of a liquid gel capsule section within the multisymptom portion of the cold/allergy/sinus subcategory was an interesting merchandising development. Manufacturers recommend merchandising liquid gel capsules with other liquid gel capsules and away from other forms of their famous brands--the same tactic they suggest for merchandising hot therapy packets and sinus remedies.

For example, the Nyquil brand is merchandised in four different cold/allergy/sinus area: multisymptom liquids, multisymptom liquid gel capsules, hot therapy packets, and sinus remedies. …

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