The company ranked third in Indonesia and Malaysia when it comes to the best-selling health care brands, based on e-commerce platform Shopee’s data collected during the 11.11 sale.
Speaking to NutraIngredients-Asia, Alvin So, head of commercial operations at Bayer Consumer Health Division ASEAN outlined the countries where fast e-commerce growth was seen.
“We see high double digits growth online across countries where online sales of our products as OTCs are allowed, such as Indonesia, Malaysia, and Singapore.
“Both Indonesia and Malaysia are experiencing hyper growth in terms of the number of digital consumers, where both countries are experiencing a significant and permanent shift in digital adoption.
“Between 94 per cent and 96 per cent of the pandemic consumers are still using digital services today, and nearly all of them intend to continue doing so going forward.”
The company is adopting a digital first strategy on the back of e-commerce sales boom.
The percentage contribution of e-commerce to our total business is still quite small but it is by far the fastest growing channel.
So, there is a strategic priority given to e-commerce, as it will continue to be the fastest growing channel over the years. It will grow much faster than offline sales.
For instance, So pointed out that the company has evolved from using the traditional mass one-way marketing to involving consumers through digital platforms in their self-care journey.
He gave the example of Berocca Mango 2pm Campaign which first began in Vietnam last year.
The campaign consisted of a dance challenge on TikTok and was targeted at conveying how Berocca Performance Mango – a multivitamin effervescent drink – could boost mental sharpness and energy especially after lunch.
“Our campaign has demonstrated how healthcare marketing can be fun and engaging, while at the same time promoting self-care.”
On the flipside, he also noted that there were some countries where there were restrictions in the online sale of OTC products.
“Unfortunately, in other countries in Southeast Asia, there continues to be restrictions and regulations on online sales and marketing, particularly for OTC products,” he said, citing examples such as Thailand, Vietnam, and The Philippines.
The company has been partnering industry associations to engage relevant health care authorities in giving consumers more access to OTC products online, he said.
“Ultimately, we participate in both online and offline channels in order to best serve our consumers, because this is how our consumers access our products – online and offline.”
Indonesia Vs Malaysia
While both Indonesia and Malaysia have similarly high rates of digital adoption, there are a couple of consumption differences between the two countries.
For example, the brand CDR is the firm’s most popular vitamin brand in Indonesia, while Redoxon and Berocca are the bestsellers in Malaysia.
The brand CDR contains calcium, vitamin B6, C and D. The brand is also available in Malaysia and Thailand.
“It [CDR] is a variant of our global brand Redoxon and it is our number one nutritional brand in Indonesia,” So said.
Redoxon, on the other hand, is targeted at supporting the immune system, while Berocca is meant for maintaining mental and physical energy.
In addition, he pointed out that products that came in smaller pack sizes were more popular in Indonesia.
Take Redoxon as an example, he said that the product in a single tube of 10 effervescent tablets was one of the popular items in Indonesia.
Whereas in Malaysia, consumers prefer to buy Redoxon in packs of three tubes, with each tube containing 15 tablets.
“This probably has to do with the dynamics of the country. It depends on the typical purchase habit, purchase capability, demographics of the country, and the level of economic development.
“As such, different countries at different stages of economic development will have different purchasing habits.
“We try to ensure that we can serve our consumers by offering them various choices, for example, different pack sizes to access our products more easily.
"This is also in line with our commitment to expand access to self care for 100 million people in underserved communities around the world by 2030," So said.
Leveraging on consumer insights
With consumers prioritising their health and immunity amid COVID-19, So said the company has leveraged on this consumer insights to create a stronger connection with them.
“For example, we highlighted the importance of keeping immune systems and energy levels high during the Ramadan period, which resonated very strongly with our Muslim consumers.
“We approached this as a total portfolio, but specifically for Redoxon, we spoke about the importance of keeping immunity high during the fasting period.
“In the case of Berocca, we spoke about how it could maintain energy levels. If you ever tried fasting, you know that energy levels tend to go down because you don’t have enough food in your body.
“Thus, we spoke about how you can continue to keep your energy levels high by taking Berocca when they break their fast.”
The Berocca Mango 2pm Campaign was also designed based on consumer insights – where consumers tend to feel a dip in energy levels at 2pm – and that taking Berocca would help boost their energy levels.
“We used that insight and we created a relevant moment, where at 2pm, one can take Berocca and you will recharge yourself from your low energy mode.”
The campaign has since expanded to Thailand, Malaysia, and Indonesia.
Asked the new product development opportunities in South East Asia, So pointed out how innovation could cater to the needs of different age groups – from the young to old.
“South East Asia has 11 million births every year, so that’s a significant opportunity.
“We are also a very young population, and that’s also another opportunity there.
“While we are a very young population, because of increasing life expectancy, we are also going to have more and more elderly consumers in South East Asia. And so, there is another opportunity there on what we can do to help consumers age well.”