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SUNSCREEN SALES IN DRUG STORES RISE 24% TO $ 47.5 MIL. IN THE SECOND QUARTER

This article was originally published in The Tan Sheet

Executive Summary

SUNSCREEN SALES IN DRUG STORES RISE 24% TO $ 47.5 MIL. IN THE SECOND QUARTER, boosted by sales of sunscreen products containing SPF 16 and higher, according to a quarterly report on health & beauty aid trends compiled by formation Resources, Inc. subsidiary Towne-Oller. Sunscreen sales in food stores posted more modest gains, increasing 5% to $ 33.3 mil. in the second quarter. The three-month period from April to June covers the beginning of the peak sunscreen season. Buoyed by increasing consumer concern about the risk of sun exposure and skin cancer, sales of sunscreens with SPFs 16 and above increased 40% to $ 24.1 mil. in drug stores and rose 8% to $ 17.2 mil. in food outlets. Sales of sunscreens over SPF 16 garnered a 50.8% market share in drug stores, up nearly six share points since 1992. In food stores, the high SPF sunscreens increased their share of the market to 51.7%, up from 50% in the same period in 1992. Sales of sunscreens containing SPF 15 grew at about the same rate as the overall sunscreen market and controlled about a 33% share in both drug and food outlets. SPF 15 product sales in drug stores increased 26% to $ 15.7 mil. during the quarter and edged up 5% in food stores to $ 10.7 mil. Following the trend towards higher SPFS, sunscreens with SPFs ranging from five to 14 are losing sales. Sales of products with SPF 5-14 fell 10% in drug stores to $ 7.4 mil. and dipped 5% to $ 5.4 mil. in food outlets. In the tentative final monograph for sunscreens published by FDA in May, the agency changed the maximum value allowed in sunscreens from SPF 15 to SPF 30, emphasizing that products with SPFs higher than 15 are "beneficial to consumers." However, at a recent sunscreen symposium, FDA OTC Monograph Review Staff Director William Gilbertson said that the SPF 30 limit could be "changed or raised" in the sunscreen final monograph ("The Tan Sheet" Oct. 1 1, p. 12). He also indicated that FDA is considering requiring a prescription for sunscreens with values higher than SPF 30. High-strength hydrocortisone products continue to win market share, according to the Towne-Oller data. Products containing hydrocortisone 1%, which was switched from Rx-to-OTC in August 1991, showed positive sales gains while products containing hydrocortisone .5% experienced sales declines, Towne-Oiler found. In drug stores, for instance, hydrocortisone 1% items captured 78% of the market, with sales increasing 31% to $ 15.1 mil. Hydrocortisone .5% product sales, on the other hand, fell 39% to $ 4.3 mil. in drug outlets. Hydrocortisone .5% held a 22% market share in drug stores. Similar trends were observed in food stores. While hydrocortisone 1% product sales rose 40% to $ 7.43 mil. in the quarter, hydrocortisone .5% product sales dropped to $ 4.4 mil., down 3%. Overall, hydrocortisone product sales rose 5% to $ 19.3 mil. in drug stores and 21% in food outlets to $ 11.8 mil. Vitamins and tonics also continued to do well in the second quarter, increasing 9% in drug store sales to $ 152.8 mil., and advancing 11% in food store sales to $ 106.8 mil. These figures represent a slight decrease from the first quarter of 1993, when vitamin sales amounted to $ 166.4 mil. in drug stores and $ 116.7 mil. in food stores ("The Tan Sheet" July 12, p. 5). In the second quarter, dietary supplement products showing the greatest growth over the same period last year were ginseng, garlic supplements, vitamin E and vitamin A. Iron supplement sales continued to fall due, in part, to warnings from the Public Health Service that iron supplements should be kept out of the reach of children due to pediatric overdoses. Despite reports that ibuprofen products continue to gain analgesic market share, the Towne-Oiler data show that ibuprofen product sales were essentially flat in the second quarter. Acetaminophen products, on the other hand, gained 3-1/2 share points to hold a 48.3% share of the food store analgesic sales and added 2.2 share points in drug stores to hold a 44.7% market share. Ibuprofens corralled about 25% OTC analgesic sales in both food and drug stores, followed by aspirin compounds and aspirin. In drug stores, where overall OTC analgesic sales reached $ 235.9 mil. during the quarter, acetaminophen product sales rose 6% to $ 105.5 mil. In food stores, where total analgesic sales were about $ 318.5 mil., acetaminophen product sales increased 9% to $ 153.9 mil. in the second quarter. In comparison, ibuprofen product sales increased 1% in drug stores to $ 57.6 mil. and dipped 1% in food outlets to $ 79.6 mil. Aspirin and aspirin compound sales decreased during the second quarter compared to the same quarter in 1992 in both food and drug stores. Combined sales of aspirin and aspirin compounds amounted to about $ 72.7 mil. in drug stores in the second quarter and about $ 85 mil. in food stores. In a 1992 year-end report, Towne- Oller data showed that ibuprofen, which was the fastest-growing segment in the OTC analgesic market last year, was gaining market share primarily at the expense of aspirin and aspirin compounds ("The Tan Sheet" March 22, p. 7). Among specialty analgesics, products geared toward children continued to register positive sales, increasing 15% in drug stores to $ 23.6 mil. and growing 6% in food stores to $ 29.9 mil. in the quarter, the Towne-Oller data show. Children's analgesics held about 10% of the analgesic market in both food and drug stores. Nighttime analgesics, usually formulated with a sedating antihistamine ingredient such as diphenhydramine, followed, netting a 6.1% market share in drug stores and a 7.6% market share in food stores. Sales of "PM" analgesics jumped 24% in the quarter to $ 24.2 mil. in food stores and increased 10% in drug stores to $ 14.4 mil.

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