Supplementing a busy lifestyle: More Singaporeans relying on vitamins and supplements
Yvonne Wong, research analyst at Euromonitor, says hectic work schedules not only make it difficult for Singaporeans to find time to exercise, they also lead them to settle for meals lacking in essential nutrients.
To make up of a lack of exercise and nutrition, they then turn to vitamins and dietary supplements.
She says: "With greater health awareness and exposure to information online, consumers are now familiar with the functions and benefits of such products.
"They therefore regard it as important as diet and exercise to a well-balanced lifestyle, tending to select different vitamins and supplements to address specific concerns."
Although overall expenditure on vitamins and dietary supplements in Singapore rose last year, the latter proved far more popular than the former, accounting for 67% of total spending.
Wong attributes this to the country's ageing population and growing health consciousness, along with greater awareness of the health benefits of supplements.
She says: "With competition amongst dietary supplement brands remaining highly fragmented in Singapore, brands are increasingly differentiating themselves through new product development and aggressive marketing."
Indeed, more supplement firms have been developing products that combine different ingredients in a single supplement, making consumption more cost-effective and convenient.
One example is Ocean Healthcare's Coco Omega Memory Formula, which features a combination of coconut oil and omega-3 fish oil that is meant to boost cognitive health.
"Such combination dietary supplements are gaining popularity, due to busier lifestyles that encourage consumers to pick a single product that provides multiple benefits," Wong adds.
What's on the shopping list?
In the dietary supplement category, non-herbal or traditional dietary supplements and tonics were the most sought-after by consumers, driven mainly by Singapore's ageing population. Sales hit US$137.9m, up US$2m from last year.
Products containing fish oil, calcium and glucosamine were in high demand, especially among older consumers looking to enhance their bone and joint health, as well as heart muscle function.
Essence of Chicken — long-time favourite among Singaporeans — remained popular, thanks to its purported ability to boost mental alertness.
Additionally, increasing knowledge regarding the importance of digestive and gut health made probiotics one of the main drivers of vitamin and supplement sales in Singapore.
Not uniquely Singaporean
Wong says this trend of reliance on vitamins and supplements is not unique to Singapore. In many other developed countries, a growing number of people are concerned with maintaining a healthy lifestyle, which in turn drives demand for such products.
In Hong Kong, for instance, total spending on vitamins and supplements hit US$711.2m last year, while the figure was US$2.2bn for Taiwan, and US$3.9bn for South Korea, all higher than in 2016.