Consumers in Indonesia are starting to take a more preventative approach to healthcare, which is driving sales of vitamins and dietary supplements, according to a new report from Euromonitor International – "OTC Healthcare in Indonesia".
Over 2004, sales of vitamins and dietary supplements grew by 25% in value, making it the most dynamic and most valuable sector within the OTC healthcare market. Vitamins experienced the strongest growth of over 29% in value, while less media exposure meant that dietary supplements grew at a slower rate of 23%. Growth in the sector was largely the result of an overall increase in volume sales, as prices of vitamins and dietary supplements remained fairly stable over the year.
Dengue fever and avian flu prompt vitamin use
Consumer awareness for preventative healthcare was initially motivated by the SARS epidemic that threatened much of the Asian population in 2003. Although the threat of SARS was no longer looming in 2004, an unusually large dengue fever epidemic hit Indonesia early in the year, killing hundreds. Then in mid 2004, another virus-associated disease, avian flu, affected poultry in Indonesia and posed a significant threat to human health as well.
With the fear of disease heightened once again, many Indonesians turned to multivitamins, vitamin C and dietary supplements such as Echinacea in order to improve their resistance to illnesses. Multivitamins are the preferred choice for illness prevention in Indonesia and the most valuable vitamin sector, according to Euromonitor International’s research. Consumers preferred multivitamins to single vitamins, as they are perceived to be more cost-effective, convenient and useful for improving overall health, as opposed to the prevention of specific ailments or symptoms.
While multivitamins were the most valuable product sector in 2004, vitamin C recorded the highest growth, achieving a 32% increase over the year. Yet growth in vitamin C, though still impressive, has slowed since 2003, as consumers have begun to realise that vitamin C alone is not sufficient to prevent illness and other vitamins or supplements, such as zinc, are required.
Advertising drives a message of prevention
Consumer awareness for vitamins and dietary supplements in Indonesia was also spurred by increased spending on advertising campaigns. Driven by the growing trend towards preventive rather than curative products, vitamins and dietary supplements received the most adspend among OTC healthcare products in 2004. Several manufacturers also used celebrities in their advertising to add excitement and enhance their brand image. For example, Curcuma Plus, a child-specific multivitamin brand from Soho Industri Pharmasi that mainly functions as an appetite booster, was actively advertised on television in 2004, featuring the celebrity, Samuel, a child singer who was the winner of a popular talent search.
Euromonitor International expects growth in vitamins and dietary supplements to stabilise between 2005-2009, with average annual growth slowing to 9%, compared to 17% between 1999-2004. Nonetheless, this performance is still considered to be strong relative to many other Asian markets, such as Malaysia, Taiwan and Thailand, which are predicted to grow by a yearly average of 4%, 5.1% and 5.4%, respectively. Future growth will continue to be underpinned by the growing preference for prevention over cure among Indonesians and relentless advertising of vitamins and dietary supplements via the mass media.
"OTC Healthcare in Indonesia" is a new report from Euromonitor International. This report provides the latest retail sales data (1999-2004) on the national OTC Healthcare industry. Sector coverage includes analgesics, cough, cold and allergy remedies, digestive remedies, medicated skin care, vitamins and dietary supplements, smoking cessation aids, calming and sleeping preparations, eye care, ear care, adult mouth care and wound treatments. Forecasts to 2009 illustrate how the market is set to change.