Is health supplement consumption on the rise in Malaysia?

As a result of the recent epidemic caused by the COVID-19 virus, as well as a high rate of obesity and diabetes among Malaysians, the country’s population has grown increasingly health aware. During the pandemic, the primary concern of Malaysians is the prevention of serious illnesses such as cardiac problems, hypertension, and the beginning of diabetes. This issue is at the forefront of their minds. Consequently, this will naturally increase the consumption of health supplements, with 71% of Malaysians anticipated to be supplement consumers in the year 2021.

The market for health supplements in Malaysia has experienced a growth rate of almost fifty percent, increasing from RM 2.07 billion in 2014 to RM 3.1 billion in 2019. This growth rate is anticipated to accelerate during the pandemic and shortly. To make the most of this market potential, companies that manufacture health supplements ought to implement a strategy that is both efficient and effective in capturing the consumer’s attention.

The development of an effective strategy would require an understanding of the consumer from a variety of perspectives, including the following: measuring the consumer’s usage and attitude towards supplements; studying the consumer’s motivation for consumption; comparing your brand image and level of awareness to that of your competitors; identifying new market trends and measuring the popularity of purchasing supplements through online channels. 

To get a feel for the Malaysian supplement market, Oribionature polled over 9,000 people in August 2021. This study is all part of this study to determine how many types of supplement consumers there are, how often they buy them, what their attitudes and motivations are, and how common it is to buy supplements online.

Is health supplement consumption on the rise in Malaysia?

Health Supplement Landscape

A remarkable fifty percent of Malaysia’s population regularly consumes health supplements. Four out of every four people in Malaysia take supplements daily, and two out of every ten people take them weekly or alternate-day. To add insult to injury, one in five Malaysians do not consume or buy any kind of supplement. At the same time, one-quarter of the population only takes health supplements when necessary.  

A multi-level marketing (MLM) strategy is used to sell four of the top five most popular supplement brands listed. Regarding over-the-counter brands, Blackmores is the only one that makes it into the top five. It holds the third spot with a market share of 14%. The fact that this is the case indicates that multi-level marketing brands hold a substantial portion of the market for health supplements in Malaysia. Shaklee is the most popular dietary supplement brand in Malaysia, with almost one-fifth of the target market being captured by the company. Herbalife is the second most popular brand.

Blackmores is the most well-liked brand of dietary supplement among Chinese people, specifically individuals aged 55 to 64 and those residing in the Central area. Shaklee is the most popular brand among Malay people, whereas Herbalife is the most popular on the Indian side of the country.

Of all the supplements, vitamin C is the one that is consumed the most. Half of the people who take supplements regularly are vitamin C consumers, while one in five people use multivitamins and fish oil, respectively, and one in ten people take folic acid, zinc, magnesium, and probiotics, respectively. The use of fish oil and multivitamins is much higher among Chinese people and people aged 65 and older than among other groups.

Motivation for health supplement consumption

Nearly half of the people who take supplements do so to improve their immune systems and protect themselves against diseases. Following closely behind is a third of the people who take supplements to preserve their health and wellness. When asked about their reasons for consuming supplements, one-fifth of customers say that they do so to prevent major illnesses and compensate for deficiencies in the nutrients they get from their diet. Approximately seventeen percent of people who take supplements do so because their physicians have recommended it.  

Is health supplement consumption on the rise in Malaysia?

Purchase Channels

Although there has been a surge in e-commerce in Malaysia during the pandemic, it is worth noting that more than half of the regular supplement customers continue purchasing supplements from traditional pharmacies. Also, around 19% of these consumers get their supplements from intermediaries or agents. A tiny percentage of people still make purchases online through Facebook, Instagram, and other services. As a result, there are still prospects for supplement businesses to expand their presence in the online retailing industry.  

Marketing channels for the promotion of supplement brands

Shopee and Instagram are the next most common platform for brand names of health supplements to advertise or promote their products, behind Facebook, which is the most popular platform overall. It was reported that one-fifth of the people who took supplements did not remember seeing any adverts on any of the included platforms. 

Conclusion and the way forward

The broader e-commerce sector has been hastened to embrace the COVID-19 epidemic. Previous research has demonstrated that the expansion of the e-commerce market is anticipated to continue long after the epidemic has passed. With such a bright future for the sector, health supplement companies will be enticed to join the increasingly competitive e-commerce market. There has never been a better time for supplement businesses to get in on the online shopping trend since the supplement e-commerce environment is still in its early stages.

In addition, despite the surge in online shopping during the COVID-19 epidemic, this study calls for an investigation into why regular supplement buyers nonetheless favor purchasing their supplements offline. To successfully convert online sales of health supplements, it is also vital to determine why people buy supplements online and how many discounts are required. To successfully compete in the online health supplement retail space, these insights are crucial for creating a winning marketing plan.

Competition among current online customers, increased buy frequency among current online shoppers, or luring non-online shoppers to shop online will have to be the sources of growth potential in the e-commerce market.

A brand health tracker can help you build an effective branding strategy by measuring how consumers perceive your brand in comparison to competitors, identifying areas for improvement, and creating a more substantial brand presence than your competitors. This will allow you to compete for a share of the online market.

You require dedicated marketing strategies and an in-depth knowledge of customer segments to boost online buying frequency. Target market research can help you find the easy wins and essential qualities your target audience seeks. Using this information, you can craft a marketing plan that will precisely reach your target demographic.

To design a strategy that addresses the pain points of offline shoppers, you need to do target market research to understand their usage and attitude. This will help you know how to encourage non-online shoppers to purchase online instead of competing for market share. Competing for a piece of the red ocean of health supplement e-commerce isn’t always the best strategy, but if you can successfully navigate the blue ocean, you could reap far greater rewards. 

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