The consumer healthcare market’s annual growth at 4-5% has outpaced several major consumer goods markets, including packaged foods, beauty and personal care and matched prescription market growth from 2012-20171.
Yet there are worrying signs on the horizon, especially for the big, traditional OTC players2. Whilst they have portfolios filled with well-loved and trusted brands it is becoming more difficult to differentiate in an increasingly crowded market place, with most of the new products emerging from these firms smaller line extensions offering only modest new benefits to consumers.
However, this trend is playing out in an environment where evolving consumer needs and behaviors are calling for more innovative products and has exposed the need for consumer healthcare firms to adapt their overall innovation approach.
Historic innovation approaches remain key contributors to growth for all OTC markets. But it looks like now that these typical, routine approaches are stifling “real” innovation which provides meaningful benefits.
The consumer environment is changing rapidly, with empowered, health-focused and well-informed consumers sitting in the driver’s seat aided by a “digital revolution” which is challenging previous approaches.
Furthermore, different types of competitors from start-ups to science-based fast-moving consumergoods (FMCG) players are challenging the traditional OTC players with new ways to innovate. This, coupled with a lack of regulatory harmonization globally and local regulatory systems which are becoming more demanding, is complicating market access.
Evolving mega-trends such as sustainability, “clean label” and natural product approaches are causing headaches for some established OTC players, with certain consumer groups avoiding chemical-based healthcare products as part of a desire to live a healthier, cleaner life.
But it is not just outside forces that could be hampering innovation.
Internal research and development (R&D) strategies and operational structures may lack the imagination or flexibility to compete with smarter, smaller start-up firms.
While changing these structures might seem straight forward, firms could then be confronted with a lack of cultural readiness to make these new structures pay off.
Legacy technologies may no longer be “best in class” and less flexible organizational setups and complicated processes are not in sync with the future consumer health world.
It is time to break current routines, change innovation culture and strategies and usher in a new era of innovation delivering products and services consumers expect in a rapidly evolving world.
In this report, we will focus on two key areas of innovation – Consumer Centricity and Holistic Health and Wellness Solutions – while also exploring how you can future proof your business. No industry is safe from disruption. Waiting and observing can be dangerous. Would it not be better to shape the future, instead of being surprised by it?