Consumer Healthcare is the focus around wellness, skin health, oral health, and nutrition such as vitamins, minerals, and supplements. The consumer healthcare market is evolving from a reactive sick care market to a proactive consumer health market, where consumer focus is to take control of their overall health and wellbeing preventing disease. The consumer healthcare market in the UK valued in 2019 at £2.7 billion. (1)
In 2019, the OTC (over the counter) analgesics and cold and flu remedies category grew by 6.4% to £1.36 billion and is expected to grow a further 14.1% to £1.55 billion by 2024 (2). This is because of the growing ageing population with health concerns and the increasing demand put on the NHS.
At the start of the pandemic consumers panic bought products and stockpiled analgesics and cold and flu remedies to reduce the risk of catching the virus. Buying behaviours will over time normalise but stockpiling will remain as people are more hesitant to leave home when feeling unwell which is understandable. We feel that this may lead to consumers prioritising their holistic health looking for ways to boost immunity and health creating an appetite in the market for brands to start producing products that align towards a holistic health approach as well as preventive products. One part of holistic health approach is considering mental wellbeing, encouraging self-care, and encouraging a wellness routine.
Technology, ageing population, and lifestyle changes.
There has also been a shift in consumer healthcare with increased access to digital platforms providing health care services with being empowered by new technologies, it has led to multiple solutions such as wearables and virtual care. For example, Fitbits tracking movement and steps, smart watches tracking sleeping patterns, heart rates and blood oxygen, which all aid consumers to help manage their vital signs, wellness, and health. Technology has changed the consumer healthcare landscape by the increase in telemedicine a new term which means doctors making video calls with patients and swapping traditional healthcare means with this new trend called virtual care.
With better healthcare available this has led to a longer life expectancy in the UK with the average life expectancy being 81 years (3).
However, this has caused strain on the healthcare system as 18% of the UK population is aged over 65 and it is expected to rise to 24% in 2042. This means this age group is more concerned about their health and are buying products to prevent illness. However, through digital health it will allow seniors to look after themselves more through more selfcare means and having access to the internet.
Technology and our diets are changing, impacting our lifestyles and this impacts the future of the consumer healthcare market, as people will most likely think about the food they are eating and choose wellness as a lifestyle choice. In 2018 74% of the UK felt so stressed that they were not able to cope, this may lead to the need in a wellness service and methods for stress management (4). The new lifestyle will see the need for products such as food as medicine, immunity boosting products and other self-care remedies as consumers are concerned with their holistic health and preventative care.
The healthcare industry is moving away from reactive health to proactive health where consumers are buying preventive products such as products with immunity boosting claims, vitamins and supplements for health as well as having analgesics, cold and flu remedies.
Another rising factor is technology, the consumer healthcare market is becoming more savvier with consumers using tablets and mobile devices which help them to monitor health which in turn helps them change their lifestyle. Along with technology which helps holistic health such as wellbeing and stress management apps.
Overall technology, lifestyle changes, and an ageing population are the reason we are seeing a rise and change in the future of consumer healthcare. Information online is readily available published by doctors and patients which has fuelled the rise in the consumer healthcare market boosting more people to self-care. There is a fine balance of self-diagnosis and taking medical advice from a GP, we would always encourage anyone to speak to a medically trained professional before taking any preventative healthcare products.