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Immunity supplement sales expected to reach $5 billion this year

It’s no surprise that the growth curve in cold, flu and immunity supplements has historically been more volatile than in other conditions. Since NBJ began tracking the category in 1999, growth has tended to spike in years with a severe cold and flu season and drop off in years with lower rates of illness. In keeping with this trend, growth peaked in 2017 to 9.9%, the highest growth rate in a decade, as the U.S. faced the worst flu season in years. It may be even less surprising how all previous growth potential in the category has paled in comparison to the demand driven by the coronavirus pandemic.

NBJ estimates that sales of cold, flu and immunity supplements will reach $5.2 billion this year, with growth of 51.2% over 2019. That is, nearly 10% of all U.S. supplement sales in 2020 will be for immune support. In fact, in a survey of 1,000 U.S.-representative consumers conducted May 12th, only 25% of respondents reported that they don’t take supplements for immunity.

Vitamin C is still the star player in the category, contributing $798 million to immunity supplement sales this year. The highest percentage of surveyed consumers, 47%, reported taking vitamin C to support immunity right now.

Probiotics continue to emerge as a trending ingredient in immunity, with 30% of surveyed consumers reporting use of probiotics to support immunity right now. Pre- and probiotics in cold, flu and immunity have projected growth of 40% this year as the ingredient continues to drive growth outside gut health.

While the category can’t expect to maintain a growth rate over 50%, NBJ does project a lasting boost for immunity supplements. Even with the growth curve normalizing in the coming years, we expect a lasting increase of $1.5 billion over pre-COVID forecasts for cold, flu and immunity.

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  Claire Morton Reynolds
Claire Morton Reynolds is the senior industry analyst for New Hope Network’s Nutrition Business Journal. She manages NBJ’s data and insights to inform the industry on market trends and forecasts in natural and organic food and beverage, functional food and beverage, dietary supplements and personal care.
2020 Supplement Business Report
This data is more crucial than ever with our industry halfway through the most unpredictable year in the Supplement Business Report's 25-year history. NBJs analysis predicts overall supplement growth of 12.1% for 2020 - the highest growth since 1997 - a sustained $1.2 billion lift in years to come.

Find the in-depth analysis that went into that assessment - juxtaposed, in each category, again pre-COVID estimates - category by category, channel by channel in this year's NBJ Supplement Business Report!
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By Informa Markets