Nutritional supplements are big business. So big, that a recent report by Grand View Research estimated that the dietary supplements market will be worth over 278 billion dollars (around 214 billion pound sterling) by 2024. This blog will examine the growth of this market in the UK, and what could be causing such a high demand.
Nutritional supplements in the UK have been rising for a number of years, with Mintel reporting in 2016 that 46% of Britons take vitamins and supplements on a daily basis. All-in-one multivitamins, perhaps unsurprisingly, were found to be themes popular type out of all of these supplements. However, whilst these are widely available, Wales Online note that most supplements were purchased via online stores in 2016. This suggests that people looking to buy supplements are beginning to be more interested in the market rather than just buying one convenient multivitamin. Instead, consumers are educating themselves about specific supplements that can aid them.
‘Supplements’ is a broad term for a very wide market, which can cover anything from sports nutrition to treating deficiencies brought about by the changing seasons (as we have examined in a previous blog). Particular demographics focus on supplements due to possible deficiencies or ailments – most notably the elderly, and children.
Women, however, remain the largest demographic for nutritional supplements in the UK, responsible for 55 million pounds. Worldwide, pregnant women, in particular, contributed 12.5 billion dollars in 2015, in order to support their foetuses’ development, through such things as folic acid based nutrients.
But, Mintel does note that this market has only had a modest increase, with a 2.5% growth from 2015-2016, whereas the male market had sales increase by 29%. It is possible to see a gendered divide surrounding supplements in other areas, too, perhaps demonstrating different attitudes towards health. For example, Mintel reports that men are most likely to reject supplements, believing that they do not need them, while women are more likely to listen to their doctors’ recommendations and begin to take supplements. Men are also more likely to use sports nutrition products, rather than focusing on vitamins and minerals.
All of this growth paints a picture of a market in which consumers are taking their healthy choices into their own hands. Wales Online reports that younger adults take supplements to treat symptoms, instead of going to doctors. It is, of course, important to stress that such tablets are best used with doctors’ advice, and an otherwise healthy lifestyle. Supplements can be amazing tools, but are not enough in themselves. However, provided that an educated public continues to focus on their wellbeing, the rise of nutritional supplements in the UK is incredibly encouraging.