Emerging tech set to further evolve the sleep supplements space
Sleep supplements saw a boom during the first year of the pandemic thanks to the increased focus on mental health and while it may have felt like a fleeting trend, Euromonitor data reveals this category continued to grow by 14,5% in 2021 and 14,9% in 2022.
And with that came innovation - according to Mintel, the share of new supplement launches with stress or sleep claims jumped from 3.8% in 2020 to 4.5% in 2021.
Discussing the innovation boom, Matevž Ambrožič, marketing & PR director at PharmaLinea Ltd, says launches have evolved from being 'me too' products to scientifically-backed, dual purpose solutions.
"Brands were hasty to deliver supplement solutions to consumers with an increased focus on mental health or difficulties with sleep and this was reflected in the product offering.
"The market was flooded with repetitive formulations using commodity melatonin, passion flower, valerian root, or lavender, without much differentiation in formulation, delivery form, positioning, or communication."
It was in late 2021 and 2022 that the segment started to evolve and global pharma brands and smaller disruptors such as Neurohacker, Nature Made and The Vitamin Shoppe, launched premium products with branded and clinically studied ingredients such as Lactium, DailyZz, Sensoril, and KSM-66.
Some brands started to combine positionings to offer benefits such as sleep+immunity or sleep+vision while others started to focus on specific target markets.
"Up to 30% of children may have a sleep disorder at some stage of their childhood, as estimated by physicians and psychologists. According to Nutritional Business Journal, children’s sleep supplements experienced an impressive y-o-y sales growth rate of 32,8% in the 52 weeks, ending on July 10, 2022.
"Holland & Barrett, for example, launched sleep gummies for children in 2022 in the UK. Pranarôm, on the other hand, introduced sleep gummies to the French market in 2022, intended for all family members to use."
The many facets of sleep quality
"It is a fascinating field of research with many unknown areas, but what is clear is that a measure of sleep quality is not only the time it takes for us to fall asleep. There is a number of sleep quality parameters that matter just as much if not more: sleep duration, sleep efficiency, distribution among stages such as REM or deep sleep, number of nocturnal awakenings, subjective sleep quality, the feeling of waking up rested, daytime drowsiness and dysfunction.
"Consumer perception of sleep, awareness of different stages of sleep, and the importance of different sleep quality parameters seem to be advancing and this has been cleverly detected and utilized by global brands in their most recent product launches."
He notes that in January 2023, STADA expanded their German Hoggar Night brand by launching Hoggar Melatonin DUO capsules.
"The product contains 2-phase capsules for targeted release, where the outer phase contains lavender oil for relaxation before sleep, and the inner phase contains melatonin, vitamin B6, and passion flower extract for falling asleep faster and supporting restful sleep. The phases of the capsule and the supported parameters of sleep are communicated on the packaging and all main marketing materials.
"In the same month this year, Bayer launched Lunalaif Guter Schlaf Kombi Depot in Germany. The product is based on melatonin, valerian, and gold poppy and comes in tablets. It is positioned to aid relaxation, reduce sleep latency, reduce awakenings, and improve restful sleep.
"Spain’s Angelini Pharma recently relaunched Soñodina Advance tablets, where one phase of the tablet initiates sleep and the second ensures restful sleep throughout the night."
This trend goes hand-in-hand with the development of wearable technologies with more consumers gaining access to smartwatches and apps that enable them to study their sleep patterns.
STADA’s 2022 health report revealed that 75% of Europeans between the ages of 18 and 34 use health-related apps and that monitoring sleep quality is the second most common purpose (17% of health app users).
This opens endless opportunity for supplements that actually work, to collaborate with tech and apps.
"People now track how long they slept, how many times they woke up, how rested they felt in the morning, how long they spent in each sleep stage, etc. This is a crucial development for sleep supplement brands. It affects their communication and positioning and it puts pressure on the product’s efficacy.
"Most importantly, it also presents an opportunity to be included as part of the package, as was done by Proper sleep supplements." Supplement brands are developing by offering adjacent products such as result tracking apps, telehealth, and subscriptions, and sleep is no different. Hoggar Night even has its own collection of Spotify playlists."