Health & Beauty Care (HBC) Category Trends

c store photoWith healthcare capturing so many headlines these days, the health and beauty category (HBC) has taken on added importance in the c-store set. Fueling much of the growth: smaller package sizes that save shoppers money and stimulate impulse sales. The category-from shampoos and skin creams to cough drops and cold remedies-has always had its rightful place in a convenience store-providing a grab-and-go remedy for a variety of ailments. Still, the category has been stig-matized at c-stores as an offering that commands a much higher price than the local drug store. But the times have changed.

More and more retailers are taking the time to find single-serve and lower-cost solutions that are helping to improve sales. Within these subsets, Packaged Facts research firm predicts that consumers will continue their quest for nat-ural products. “The U.S. consumer market for natural and organic skincare, hair care and makeup-which during 2005 to 2010 boomed 61% to $7.7 billion-could top $11 billion as of 2016,” Packaged Facts reported.

In U.S. c-stores, however, Information Resources Inc. (IRI) reported that single-serve sales packages of cold, allergy and sinus tablets dropped 4.74% to $117 million. Interestingly, the category appears to be brand driven with Vicks DayQuil (137.25%) and NyQuil DayQuil (55.42%), Benadryl and Claritin seeing sharp gains, while private label products dropped 7.61%, according to IRI data.

CUSTOMER CONVENIENCE 7-Eleven, in 2012, added a new line of health-and-beauty products, sized to satisfy travel requirements of the Transportation Security Administration. The brand-name items range from Scope and Colgate toothpastes to Dep hair styling gel. The mini-packages are priced at $1.99 each or two for $3 and have been popular at stores in tourist areas.”HBC is not the ideal category to drive people into the store neces-sarily, but it’s a category that stores must have so they don’t upset anyone by not carrying what consumers would expect to find at their local c-store,” said David Bishop, managing partner of Barrington, Ill.-based consulting firm Balvor.
WHILE SALES OF SINGLE-SERVE cold, allergy and sinus medications slipped in 2013, the category still accounted for more than $117 million in the convenience store channel. Despite the decline, the category has made great strides in recent years to become more affordable and remains an industry staple to meet the needs of time-challenged customers.