What Retail Buyers Want: Cough/Cold, Analgesics & Allergy  10/9/2017

As part of their preparation for ECRM’s 60+ EPPS meetings, retail buyers complete a form on the EPPS prep site, indicating the subcategories they are buying for, and on what areas they are focusing their buying efforts.

Based on this information, collected from the 80 buyers and category managers registered so far to attend ECRM's 2018 Cough/Cold, Analgesics and Allergy EPPS February 11 to 14 in Chicago, here are a few key areas of interest around these categories.

Natural and Organic: Just as we've seen with other HBC categories such as vitamins, weight management, and supplements, and cosmetics, fragrance and bath, buyers of cough/cold, analgesics, and allergy products are increasingly looking for products containing natural and organic ingredients. This includes homeopathic remedies, which are becoming more mainstream. Much of this is driven by the Millennial market, which not only seeks natural ingredients, but also looks for products that are sustainably sourced and packaged.

Innovative Delivery Forms: In addition to traditional tablets and liquids, there is a demand for other innovative methods of delivering the product, including dissolving strips, gummies – which have grown in popularity over the past couple of years, sprays, drops, etc. Among analgesics, these include roll on gels, strips, and TENS devices, which have become quite popular as a drug-free way of relieving pain.

Products for Older/Younger Consumers: Remedies that address the unique needs of children (such as flavored cough medicine) as well as aging consumers. The new delivery innovations mentioned above, for example, are well-suited for aging consumers experiencing “pill fatigue” from having to take several prescription medications on a regular basis. Also important for aging consumers is easy to open and easy to read packaging.

Cold Prevention: Products aimed at preventing colds or reducing the severity of illnesses, such as zinc based products, and those with echinacea.

Niche Items: Unique items from emerging brands that have not yet made it onto mass-market shelves. Buyers love to be the first to offer such products in the markets serve, and look to them as a source of differentiation from their competitors.

Value Packs/Bulk Sizes: Larger sizes or large count items, including bonus packs, that deliver consumer value.

Private Brands: Merchandise across all cough/cold, analgesics and allergy categories that can be sold under the retailer’s brand. 

Cold-Related Products: Items tangential to cough and cold remedies, such as lip balm, cold sore relief, hand sanitizers, etc., that are great incremental purchases with cough and cold products.

Canada: Several of the buyers attending are from large retail chains up north, and in addition to the items noted above, they also have particular requirements that are unique to the Canadian market, such as bilingual packaging (English and French) and a Canadian broker or distributor.

Tony Giovanini

SVP of General Merchandise

Tony can be reached at (440) 528-0416

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