It's been a year of growth for allergy products and for the entire adult cold-remedies category, according to numbers from the Strategic Planner of ACNielsen, Schaumburg, Ill.
Statistics for the four-week and 52-week periods ending Oct. 4 indicate the strength of the "Cold Remedies -- Adult" category and the impact of, first, Claritin, and then loratadine. Dollar volume in the category, where ACNielsen tracks these allergy products, grew slightly in supermarkets in the first two months of Claritin's availability, December and January. However, as the spring allergy season got going, so did sales in the category, rising 19.2% for the four weeks ending Feb. 22, vs. the same period a year ago, then tracking 17.6% growth on March 22; 40% on April 19; 42.2% on May 17; 48.3% on June 14; 46.6% on July 12; 30.1% on Aug. 9; 29.5% on Sept. 6; and then up to 33.8% on Oct. 4, the first full month the generic loratadine was available. Such sustained growth in this category was unprecedented in the last three years of statistics provided to SN by ACNielsen.
A similar trend, but with bigger growth percentages, was evidenced by the numbers for food, drug and mass merchandisers combined (excluding Wal-Mart). Overall, the adult cold-remedies category grew 25.2% for the 52 weeks ended Oct. 4 (vs. the year before) for food, drug and mass to $1.8 billion dollars, according to ACNielsen. Meanwhile, in the same period, the category grew 19.7% in supermarkets to $703 million.
Private-label sales for adult cold remedies saw double-digit increases in the numbers for food, drug and mass combined (excluding Wal-Mart) from the time loratadine was first made available in the spring, hitting a high point of a 36.2% dollar increase for the four weeks ending Oct. 4, when it was most widely offered. Also during that period, unit sales gained dramatically, to 23.4%, indicating lower pricing. In supermarkets, dollar volume for the category during that month gained 18.2%, with unit sales climbing 11.5%, according to ACNielsen. The most recent reporting period available from ACNielsen is Oct. 4.