In the vitamin and supplement market the COVID-19 pandemic has changed everything, upending long-standing trends and replacing them with new patterns. Right? Well…sort of, but not quite.While the pandemic has impacted market trends, it is not the only influence. Here’s an overview of what we’ve been seeing…
The pandemic shifted consumers’ focus
COVID-19 focused consumers’ attention on health, wellness and embracing a healthier lifestyle in an effort to protect themselves from disease. Multiple surveys have shown that, in response to the pandemic, consumers have increased their overall use of vitamins and supplements—and that this increase may be here to stay., 
Drilling down, we see that the big COVID-19-inspired increase has been in immunity-related products in many forms. Multivitamins, single-letter vitamins like Vitamin D and C, Zinc, Magnesium, echinacea and elderberry have all seen increased demand.
The popularity of probiotics has also grown as consumers are now seeing the connection between gut health and both immunity and general health. In fact, probiotic sales had been climbing even before the pandemic. CapsCanada’s analysis of Euromonitor sales data shows that in the past five years the probiotics market has grown 37%. Much of that growth took place in 2020, when the probiotics category grew 15.5% as compared to 2019.
Trends we’re seeing in demand drivers
One on-going trend that is not correlated with the pandemic is the aging population. According to AARP, every day in the U.S., 10,000 people turn 65. Many are using vitamins and supplements to address the health challenges associated with aging.
That’s one demand driver. From what we’ve seen, the pandemic has added two additional demand drivers. One, as discussed above, relates to the overall demand for vitamins and supplements. The other has been to accelerate the move to e-commerce.
In the e-commerce realm, Amazon.com is the “800-pound gorilla.” Some sources estimate that Amazon accounts for 77% of e-commerce vitamin and supplement sales—more than the top five specialty vitamin sellers combined. And Amazon is not just cornering the market for a specific type of product. Our own research shows that Amazon’s Top 20 vitamin and supplement best sellers include a wide range of products, from collagen powder and zinc to probiotics, multivitamins, fish oil and more.
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Trends we’re seeing in capsule formats
We took a close look at those Amazon Top 20 best sellers in both the U.S. and Canadian markets, to see what is trending in terms of dosage formats. Although the sample size here (20 products per list) is obviously not statistically significant, because these are the top sellers on the top e-commerce platform in this market, we believe that this data reflects the current consumer demand trends.
- Capsule type: All but one of the capsule-based products on the list use HPMC capsules. This is not surprising, as many vitamin and supplement manufacturers have seen an increased demand for vegetarian and vegan products—and HPMC capsules meet this demand.
- Capsule size: Sizes 1, 0, 00 and 00E were all used.
Trends we’re seeing being caused by global supply chain challenges
Today’s severe supply chain challenges are behind another trend that we’re seeing: Manufacturers are now scrutinizing their suppliers more closely, with a focus on quality and reliability.
Buyers are simply asking more questions. What type of third-party certifications do you have? How reliable are your sources of raw materials? How much supply of finished products do you keep on hand? Have your shipments to customers been delayed?
That said, it’s time to pivot to meet the new dynamics. If you’re looking for high-quality HPMC or Gelatin capsules from a reputable North American supplier, CapsCanada is here for you.