Amazon, Walmart Dominate Supplement Category: Study

Sales of vitamins, supplements on the rise, according to TABS Analytics report
Photograph: iStock

Sales of vitamins and supplements are on the rise. According to TABS Analytics’ 11th Vitamins, Minerals and Supplements (VMS) Study, released in June, category sales grew by an estimated $500 million, or 3%, in the past year.

Record sales increases at both online outlets and brick-and-mortar stores are driving growth in the $14 billion VMS market, according to Shelton, Conn.-based TABS, a technology-enabled analytics firm, which points to Amazon and Walmart as two of the top sales outlets for the category.

“Walmart continues to dominate—both as a leader in VMS sales at its brick-and-mortar stores, and it is showing online growth—while Amazon remains at the top and continues to extend [its] lead in the e-commerce space,” said Kurt Jetta, president and founder of TABS Analytics, when releasing results of his firm’s most recent study.

“These trends counter conventional wisdom that online sales are coming at the expense of purchases in physical stores,” Jetta said. Inline and brick-and-mortar retailers can both continue to grow sales with “the right approach to marketing and product mix,” he said.

What's Hot?

Nearly 40% of TABS survey respondents indicated purchasing a VMS product at Walmart, up 7 points from last year. A look at “Trending Supplements” on the Bentonville, Ark.-based Walmart’s website speaks to the hottest ingredients in health and wellness, from turmeric to collagen and plant omegas.

A relative of ginger, turmeric is celebrated for its anti-inflammatory properties. Walmart stocks a range of turmeric supplements, including Novato, Calif.-based Navitas Organics Organic Turmeric Powder, Nature Made Turmeric Curcumin, Nature’s Truth Turmeric Curcumin Plus Black Pepper Extract and Nature’s Bounty Turmeric Herbal Supplement Capsules.

Collagen made the list of SPINS’ Top 10 Trend Predictions for 2018, citing this animal-sourced, amino-acid-based protein as a sought-after functional ingredient in everything from bone broth to sports nutrition products. “SPINS sees collagen leaping into new categories and products in 2018, marketed for various benefits to bones, joints, hair, skin and nails,” the Chicago-based consumer analytics firm said in a recent research study.

Walmart offers a plethora of collagen products intended for joint care, wrinkle rejuvenation and overall revitalization. Youtheory Collagen products are available in powders, tablets and varieties specifically marketed to men. Great Lakes Gelatin, Collagen Hydrolysate is made from kosher-certified beef.

Plant-based nutrition is another key trend, and Walmart’s selection of vitamins and supplements has it covered with products such as Flaxseed Oil from Nature’s Bounty and Now Foods Certified Organic Flax Oil for Cardiovascular Health with essential omega-3’s.

A search of Amazon’s “Best Sellers” in the vitamins and supplements category on July 18 (Amazon’s most popular products are updated hourly) revealed similar trends. At the time of WGB’s search, BioSchwartz Turmeric Curcumin pills enhanced with Bioperine was the No. 1 VMS seller on Amazon. The product, from Jackson, Wyo.-based BioSchwartz, offers pain relief and joint support. Two additional products containing turmeric from Vimerson Health also made the top 10.

Scores of recent product introductions feature this ancient healing root as an ingredient, including Laird Superfood, a nutritional supplement brand created by star surfer Laird Hamilton that is available on Amazon. Laird Superfood recently introduced Hydrate, an all-natural, hydration enhancer made from pure freeze-dried coconut water, which contains potassium and electrolytes, as well as Aquamin, a mineral-rich, calcified sea algae. Hydrate is available in three varieties, including Turmeric.

Amazon’s second-best seller was Sports Research Premium Collagen Peptides Powder. Not only does this product from the San Pedro, Calif.-based Sports Research feature highly coveted collagen, it also boasts the labels of grass-fed, certified paleo, non-GMO and gluten free.

Rounding out the top three was Smarty Pants Complete Daily Gummy vitamin for kids, made by Marina Del Rey, Calif.-based Smarty Pants. It’s not surprising, given the trend in health and wellness products geared for children and their families.

As experts continue to point out that 70% of immune health is in the gut, probiotics remain strong sellers. An Advanced Strength Probiotic 40 Billion CFU (“colony-forming units,” or how many bacteria in probiotics are capable of dividing and forming colonies)from BioSchwartz made Amazon’s top 10 best sellers on July 18.

Delivering on multiple trends, Garden of Life, also available from Amazon, recently introduced two new flavors (Watermelon and Strawberry Banana) to its Organic Kids + Probiotics + Vitamins C and D line of gut and brain health chewable probiotics for kids.

Key Findings From TABS VMS Study

Developed to examine vitamin and nutritional supplement purchase trends, the TABS Analytics VMS study surveyed about 1,000 geographically and demographically dispersed consumers in April 2018. Conducted by Caravan, part of ORC International, Princeton, N.J., the study found that the VMS category continues to grow gradually, with penetration reaching 78% in 2018—the highest level in the history of TABS’ survey.

Other key findings:

  • Most of this year’s growth is attributable to a 2% increase in occasional purchasers (one to two product types).
  • A drop in purchases among women ages 55 and older was offset by growth in purchasing by men, both younger (ages 18-54) and those 55 and older.
  • Sales of adult multivitamins, vitamins B and D and niche products are up, driven by gummy and gender-specific product launches.
  • Sales of fish oil are down from 31% in 2011 to 22% this year.
  • Purchasing at specialty outlets has dropped.


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