“The rise in vitamin D usage is likely due to its associations with immunity and memory improvement,” Emilia Greenslade, Mintel U.K. OTC and Personal Care Analyst, said. “Highly publicized research linking vitamin D with protection against COVID-19 may have also impacted usage, although this has been challenged by NICE [National Institute of Clinical Excellence] which concluded that there is no evidence to support taking vitamin D supplements to prevent or treat COVID-19. Government advice may have also impacted usage, with the government advising that people consider taking a daily supplement containing 10 micrograms of vitamin D as social distancing sees people spend less time in the sunlight and more time indoors.”
Vitamin D usage has risen 8 percentage points in the last 12 months in the U.K., by measure of frequency. Today, it is taken by 38% of vitamin and mineral supplements users, compared to 30% in 2019. With the exception of vitamin C, which increased in frequency of use from 28% to 29%, the usage of all other single vitamins the company evaluated has declined over the same 12 month period. Multivitamin use has remained stable in the U.K. at 51%
Vitamin D has also been heavily involved in new product innovation, Mintel reports, with new product launches featuring vitamin D as an active ingredient increasing by 20% in a year, compared to the 12-month period of January to August 2020 prior.
By the end of 2020, Mintel estimates that vitamins and supplements sales on the whole are expected to jump 9% in 2020 in Britain, based upon previous surveys suggesting that 24% of vitamins, minerals, and dietary supplements users have been using these products more since the COVID-19 outbreak began. At this point, Mintel reports that over one third (36%) of all Brits take vitamins daily.
Following slow but steady growth in 2019, Mintel predicts that the vitamins and supplements market should reach £494 million in Britain by the end of this year, and this trajectory has no sign of slowing down over the next five years, expected to reach £559 million by 2025, a 13% increase compared to sales this year.
“Undoubtedly, consumers are more worried about their health following the outbreak of COVID-19, and are seeking out preventative measures in the long term, including taking vitamins and supplements,” Greenslade continued, suggesting that 36% of supplement users are seeking a solution to support immune health, with the reasons of improving mood (15%) and combating stress (13%) also serving as significant driving factors. “Strong consumer demand for [vitamins, minerals, and supplements] in the initial weeks of the epidemic led to stockpiling which impacted availability of these products. While supply chains quickly returned to normal, demand has continued to remain high. But despite the boost in sales, the number of users remains the same with the rise in value of the category in 2020 driven by increased usage among existent users. Driving habits among occasional users [who represent 24% of respondents] is essential to ensure long-term engagement and sustained value growth, and brands can do this by using apps to set reminders and create schedules or offering specialized plans giving consumers more structure to their routines.”
Mintel’s findings were based on research carried out among 1,978 British internet users 16 years and older, over July 2020.