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Buying Triggers

Five factors have been identified as being motivating factors in a consumer's purchase of pharmaceuticals; perceived health benefits, product safety, cost, clean labels, and self-help health. For each factor, additional information was included on why the factor is a purchase trigger for consumers. Also, included was how the factor was perceived in the market.

Perceived Health Benefits of Nutraceuticals

  • Consumers who had knowledge about the health benefits of the specific nutraceutical product were motivated to take nutraceuticals; conversely, the perceived lack of knowledge of these benefits prevented consumers from taking nutraceuticals.
  • There is perceived to be a lack of reliable clinical evidence in the nutraceutical market for consumers to assess the health benefits.

Product Safety


  • The perceived affordability of nutraceuticals is an important factor in the purchase of these products.
  • When the perceived cost is high, consumers avoiding purchasing nutraceuticals; however, the cost being perceived as lower than traditional medicine is a motivator to use neutraceuticals.
  • The cost factor in the neutraceutical market also is dependent on the trend toward minimal co-pay for prescription alternatives which may make traditional pharmaceutical alternatives less expensive.

"Clean Labels"

  • Clean Labels are defined as products having fewer and recognizable ingredients with transparency of how products are sourced and made, which would be reflected on the label.
  • Over the last five years there was a 97% growth in the proportion of supplement users stating that an environmentally responsible brand is a very important factor in their purchasing decision.
  • Having products certified as Clean Label by external certification authorities can increase the appeal of the product to consumers.

Self-Help Health Monitoring

Research Strategy

The sources used in the research focused on "motivating" factors that would drive consumers to purchase nutraceuticals. Information was unable to be found on what would trigger a "quick response" but one can make the assumption that "motivation to buy" will drive a purchase.

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Lifetime Consumer Factors

Nutraceuticals are growing in popularity, but the question is how to keep people using them. The key factors that influence the customer lifetime value for a nutraceutical are their doctor's recommendations, age and which nutraceuticals are appropriate, personal health goals, and in response to regulatory changes.

Customer Lifetime Value Explained

  • The Customer Lifetime Value is how much a consumer, over the course of his or her life, would potentially spend on any type of nutraceutical.
  • The exact amount of revenue was not calculated, but instead the general direction of revenue change is described for each of the factors below.

Doctor Recommendations for Supplements

  • In one poll, 51% of people responded they take supplements because of a doctor's recommendation.
  • For some individuals, nutraceuticals serve as cheaper alternatives to prescription drugs a doctor would recommend.
  • Some of these recommendations will come for certain conditions, such as Omega-3s for heart disease or Calcium to support bone health.
  • The challenge for maintaining customers is when the scientific advice on a nutraceutical changes and doctor's begin to change their recommendation, as was the case with lycopene. While it had previously been highly recommended for use, a study questioning its merits caused a decrease in its quality recommendation with physicians.
  • For the Customer Lifetime Value, this implies that a doctor's recommendation can increase or minimize the amount a consumer may spend on nutraceuticals, dependent upon the evidence supporting a specific nutraceutical's use at the time.

Aging Out or Into Supplements

  • One trend is that nutraceutical use increases with age, regardless of the type of supplement.
  • Some nutraceuticals, however, are targeted for people with specific conditions or at specific ages. Glucosamine, for example, is more widely used for arthritis support in the elderly. Folic acid, in turn, is used more with women of child-bearing age to support healthy fetus development.
  • Millennials are using more nutraceuticals as part of their health consciousness; for customer lifetime value this implies they will continue to use nutraceuticals, though over time may be not the same nutraceuticals as they are using now.
  • This implies that for Customer Lifetime Value, on the whole as a person ages they will use more supplements. The question is which specific nutraceuticals they will go for.

Personal Health Goals

  • In addition to age and physician recommendations, people use and continue to use nutraceuticals to support personal health goals.
  • One of the biggest motivators for taking a nutraceutical is weight loss. While the scientific consensus is that supplements do not support weight loss, over $2 billion was spent on them in the US in 2015.
  • Another personal goal is to support muscle build or increase athleticism, with spending hitting $2.6 billion in the US on nutraceuticals for this goal in 2015.
  • No studies indicate if individuals stop taking these nutraceuticals once their goals are achieved or if they continue to take them for maintenance, so the impact on Customer Lifetime Value cannot be clearly determined. However, the studies indicate that the market for these supplements is relatively steady in the aggregate.

Federal Regulatory Changes

  • The current nutraceutical market is relatively unregulated in the United States, that the scientific and safety tests required to support the claims of a nutraceutical are not as robust as with other health items like prescriptions.
  • With greater scrutiny being discussed by the government on nutraceuticals, some are found to have adverse effects on individuals. The Food and Drug Administration in the United States frequently lists recalls for supplements based upon the new findings.
  • These recalls can remove products entirely from the market, eliminating any revenue from consumers for that nutraceutical.

Research Strategy

To understand the nutraceutical market, we first read market and medical research on the main motivators for people to take nutraceuticals. From there, specific examples with more quantitative data available were reviewed to support the understanding of those factors. That information can then be used to prove the more general point on Customer Lifetime Value for individuals using nutraceuticals.
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Women and Nutraceuticals

As the supplement industry grows, more and more people are turning toward a variety of different nutraceuticals to promote their health. Women are at the forefront of nutraceutical consumer purchases to help improve their quality of life when it comes to women’s health issues. According to a CRN Consumer Survey, 79% of women take supplements compared to 74% of men who take supplements. Women may take nutraceuticals to support overall wellness, fill nutritional gaps, and support bone health, among other reasons.

Overall Wellness

  • Approximately 50% of female supplement users say overall wellness is a top reason for taking nutraceuticals.
  • According to a review of multiple studies and surveys, those who take dietary supplements are more likely to adopt positive health-related habits for overall health.
  • The top products of female supplement users include multivitamins (75%), vitamin D (38%), vitamin C (30%), and vitamin B/B complex (26%). However, there has been significant growth in protein, magnesium, and turmeric-based nutraceuticals as well.

Nutritional Gaps

  • Approximately 34% of female supplement users indicate using supplements for filling nutritional gaps.
  • Many women, especially those who are of childbearing age, may look toward nutraceuticals for maintaining proper nutrition and filling nutritional gaps. Pregnancy multivitamin sales have grown more than 8% in North America.
  • As more women over 35 are planning pregnancy, companies are formulating prenatal vitamins to cater to this audience. Rainbow Light formulated an Embrace Prenatal 35+ vitamin to provide proper nutrition to pregnant women in order to foster optimal fetal development.
  • Other nutrients may be needed to fill nutritional gaps in pregnant women, such as iron, folic acid, and omega-3s. For example, companies like KD Pharma have developed omega-3 concentrates to benefit women during pregnancy.

Bone Health

  • One of the top concerns of women who are weighing the benefits of nutraceuticals includes bone health. As women age and estrogen levels decrease, bone loss is a valid concern for this population.
  • Based on results from a CRN survey, 28% of women say bone health is a major reason for using a nutraceutical supplement.
  • Ingredients like calcium, phosphorous, magnesium, B vitamins, selenium, and zinc can help provide bone support for women. Vitamin E is also emerging as a supporting ingredient for bone health.
  • AIDP, a leading supplement brand, has offered supplements with patented formulations of collagen and calcium. The company claims the collagen can not only support bone structure and function, but it can also support aging skin and overall health.

Healthy Aging

  • In line with bone health, women seek out nutraceuticals to promote healthy aging. Women with menopause face a host of different health concerns including hot flashes, lower sex drive, fatigue, and depression.
  • According to survey results, 27% of women state healthy aging is a primary reason for using supplements and nutraceuticals. Other studies have shown higher percentages of women using natural supplements for health benefits. One study found that 70% of menopausal women reported using botanical and dietary supplements.
  • Nutraceuticals for menopausal support may include ingredients like black cohosh, soy isoflavone, and lycopene, among other ingredients. Helios Corp is a leading brand primarily focused on options for menopausal support. One of their promoted ingredients, EstroG-100 is backed by clinical studies and marketed to manage menopausal symptoms such as hot flashes, night sweats, and insomnia.
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Nutraceuticals and Men

Nutraceuticals are popular because unlike synthesized drugs, they have little or no side effects. Men prefer nutraceuticals in anti-aging/skincare, erectile dysfunction supplements, muscle building supplements, and prostate health improvement.

Nutraceuticals in Male Anti-Aging/SkinCare

  • 74% of men use nutraceuticals to slow down the aging process.
  • Nutraceutical anti-aging supplements are popular because of their limited or no known side effects.
  • Imedeen is a popular neutraceutical in the anti-aging category.

Nutraceuticals in Male Erectile Dysfunction

  • Because of the side effects of pharmaceutical drugs such as Viagra, an increasing number of men are using nutraceuticals to maintain erectile health.
  • Nutraceutical supplements for male erectile dysfunction have little or no side effects.
  • FertilAid For Men is a nutraceutical supplement for the treatment of erectile dysfunction.

Nutraceuticals in Muscle Building

  • Unlike other body-building supplements, nutraceuticals have limited or no side effects.
  • Build-XT Muscle Builder, Fortify Test Booster, and Havasu Nutrition Extra Strength L Arginine are popular nutraceutical supplements for building lean muscles.

Nutraceuticals in Prostate Health


From Part 01
  • "Consumers considered the health benefits and safety of nutraceuticals as the two most important attributes of nutraceuticals when considering to take nutraceuticals."
  • "The motivators behind supplement purchasing decisions vary from person to person, Sigvertsen said, with influencing factors including age, frequency of supplement use, and health concern. “Convenience, ease of use, safety, and efficacy are the top priorities of supplement users, whatever their health goal,” she noted."
  • "In fact, according to a 2018 survey conducted by NMI and commissioned by Lonza CHN in the U.S., there was a 97% growth over a five-year period in the proportion of supplement users indicating that an environmentally responsible brand is a very important factor in their purchasing decision, she noted. "
  • "In 2018, after general health/specific nutrient deficiency, consumers were most likely to buy a supplement for energy, followed by mental/brain health, beauty, immunity, and inflammation.22"
  • " Individuals in this age range are still healthy for the most part, but become worried about osteoporosis, arthritis, heart disease, and other conditions. These individuals buy nutraceuticals to reduce the effects of aging and remain healthy."
  • "Taking preventive measures for the future, consumers have increasingly begun to embrace bone broth. Bone broth has long been touted by athletes and nutrition experts, and collagen has come to be recognized as the missing protein for joint benefits and more.”"
From Part 02
  • "Recommendations from a physician (51 percent) Their own research, based on personal needs (39 percent) Recommendations from a friend or family member (22 percent)"
From Part 04
  • "Commonly used by people who are 40+, Time Perfection not only features our BioMarine Complex, it also contains naturally derived tomato fruit and grape seed extracts. Nutrients from this unique formula build up in your skin for greater defense from oxidative stress, helping to repair fine lines and wrinkles."
  • " These nutraceuticals have been an attractive option over the conventional therapies due to their less or no side effects and nutritional values. "
  • "The Survey reports that the majority of both males and females, aged 18+, take dietary supplements, which is in line with previous surveys' findings. More women take dietary supplements than men, 79% versus 74%. "
  • "Men, beware! Products falsely marketed as “dietary supplements” or “foods” that promise to enhance your sexual performance or increase sexual stimulation might contain hidden drug ingredients or other undisclosed ingredients — and can endanger your health."
  • "Significant improvement of residual bladder volume by 51% (vs. 35% improvement in the control group / 41% improvement in dudasteride and finasteride group)"