“75 percent of U.S. adults take dietary supplements, as opposed to just 65 percent in 2009…with 84% of U.S. adults expressing overall confidence in their safety, quality and effectiveness”
– A 2018 Survey by Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) –
In 2018, the nutrition (natural products) sales in U.S. grew 6.5% to 219 billion dollars, of which $46 billion were from nutritional supplements. The growth in the U.S. supplements industry remains steady at 6.0% with the online sales continuing to be a bright spot, growing by 18% to about 8.5 billion dollars, according to the Nutrition Business Journal.
Market Share By Product
Sports nutrition and meal replacement combined have a 26% market share, resulting from the trend that proteins, especially plant-based proteins, are getting more popular.
However, the category lines continue to blur because of the trend of multi-ingredient formulation.
The Natural & Specialty channel (such as GNC, Vitamin Shoppe) is still the leader but their market share has declined to 35.4%. Mass Market (retail outlets, grocery) continues to occupy large shares (26.4%) because of low pricing, but customers are looking for the highest quality through the practitioner channel. Many people still buy supplements through MLM (15.8%).
The pure E-commerce only took a 8.4% market share – but that is misleading – as almost all traditional stores also sell their products online. A 2018 survey conducted by New Hope Network finds that the brick-and-mortar channel will not be all important in 5 years.
Pills vs Non-Pills
About 54% of supplements are sold in pill format, including capsules, softgels, tablets, and pill packets. Some consumers are tired of taking pills and resort to powder (16%), liquid (11%), gummy (12%), effervescent (3%), chewable (2.3%), etc. You may think only kids take gummies? In fact, 65% of gummies are consumed by adults.
Brands and Manufacturers:
The U.S. is the world’s biggest nutritional supplement market: the biggest sales volume, the greatest number of manufacturers and brands, and the most developed market in terms of number of ingredients and finished products. Large companies benefit from economies of scale of manufacturing, research, and marketing. Small companies can compete effectively by specializing in niche nutritional products, or through advanced product development efforts. The U.S. supplement industry is highly concentrated: the top 50 companies account for more than 80% of revenue. The below chart illustrates a list of major players:
(Caution: due to the rapid change in this industry, this chart may not be 100% accurate)