Non-prescription health products drive advertising growth

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Health products that do not require a doctor’s prescription are the driving force behind advertising. According to a prediction by advertising company Zenith.

Over-the-counter healthcare ad spending is expected to grow from $20.1 billion in 2021 to $22.7 billion in 2023, 36% higher than pre-pandemic spending levels in 2019.

“The pandemic has focused consumers’ attention on their health and disrupted their reliance on traditional OTC distribution channels,” said Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting at Zenith. “Brands will continue to increase their investment in digital advertising as the rise of e-commerce gives it a bigger role in driving OTC and brand sales growth.”

“OTC advertising has increased throughout the pandemic. OTC ad spend grew 6.8% in 2020, while the market as a whole shrank 3.5% as health messages gained relevance to consumers. »

“Demand for cold and flu remedies fell sharply as social distancing reduced their transmission, but most other subcategories continued to grow and sales of sleep aids soared. “

Zenith expects OTC advertising growth to remain healthy over the next two years as brands defend their price premiums and e-commerce platforms compete for dominance.

“OTC has lagged the market as a whole in embracing e-commerce, but lockdowns and other restrictions have resulted in a leap forward in OTC e-commerce in 2020. Now that more and more consumers are aware and aware comfortable with the ability to buy OTC products online, it will become an increasingly important sales channel over the next few years.

“This means that traditional distributors such as pharmacies and supermarkets face new competition from digital e-commerce platforms, and brands have new opportunities to launch new partnerships or even direct-to-consumer businesses. increased traffic and sales will fuel the continued growth of brand and performance advertising.

“Over-the-counter healthcare makes heavy use of TV for its massive, high-impact reach. OTC advertisers spent 38% of their budget on TV advertising in 2021, compared to 21% for the average all-category advertiser OTC brands also spend more on radio and magazines – radio for its mass reach and magazines for their high impact.

Zenith predicts that OTC brands will grow their digital ad spend at an average rate of 11% per year between 2021 and 2023, while radio grows by 5%, TV by 3% and magazines by 3%. Digital will account for 49% of OTC advertising in 2023, up from 46% in 2021.

“The continued shift to digital allows OTC brands to use smart segmentation and dynamic creativity to market the same products to different people with different needs, within the regulations of digital advertising in this category,” said said Benoit Cacheux, Global Chief Digital Officer, Zenith.

“The gym goer with sore muscles, the office worker with headaches, and the parent whose child has growing pains all need pain relief, but brands need to talk to them. in different ways to persuade them as effectively as possible. This ability to tailor creative to audience needs gives digital advertising an edge that traditional media never had. »

The 13 markets included in this report are Australia, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, Poland, Russia, Spain, Switzerland, UK and the United States, which alone accounts for 74% of total global ad spend.

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