Cleveland — Immunity building has been front and center during the COVID-19 pandemic and gummi vitamins a go-to solution for many U.S. consumers. Sales in the sector reached $2.1 billion in 2020, based on Information Resources, Inc. (IRI) multi-outlet channel data. In total, vitamin and supplement sales exceeded $9 billion in brick-and-mortar outlets, while ecommerce added another $10 billion.
Sales of gummi vitamin quickly accelerated beginning in March of 2020, and by year’s end dollar sales in brick-and-mortar outlets exceeded 2019 levels by more than 56 percent, with units and volume growing 46 and 41 percent, respectively. It is important to note that even before the start of the pandemic the sector was showing strong growth, with dollar sales in 2019 up more than 13.1 percent, and sales of gummi vitamins are on track to exceed the record 2020 performance by 10 percent or more in 2021, IRI notes.
Not surprisingly, drug stores account for the highest share of sales — 24.7 percent in 2020 and 23.4 percent year-to-date for 2021. This equates to $508 million in 2020, according to IRI. Thus far in 2021, dollar sales in the channel are tracking ahead of 2020, but units and volume have fallen slightly.
Grocery’s share of the business is slightly lower, at 21.5 percent in 2020 and 20.4 percent in 2021. Dollar sales in the trade class hit $443 million in 2020 and through August 8, they are exceeding 2020 levels for the comparable period by 2.5 percent, which points to sustained demand after 18 months of pandemic shopping patterns. However, similar to the drug channel, grocery stores have experienced some softness in units and volume sales. Anne-Marie Roerink, principal of 210 Analytics, LLC, points out that the slightly lower share of sales in 2021 in the drug and grocery channels points to renewed strength for supercenters, which have seen an uptick in trips during the first seven months of the year.