Is Pandemic Giving A Boost to the Health Supplements Economy?

Is Pandemic Giving A Boost to the Health Supplements Economy?

Fast-paced lifestyles have led modern humans to be dependent on dietary supplements to stay in the pink of health. Under the influence of their parents or friends, a great number of young adults are getting a head start in their healthcare journey. In view of this, it goes without saying that the health supplements market has grown substantially year by year.

Having said that, 2020 is the year during which the pandemic plays a huge role in the expansion of the health supplements industry. In addition to health professionals’ advice of increasing nutritional intake, people gravitate towards treating the symptoms rather than the root of the problem and taking in health misinformation without thinking critically, which are reasons why they flock towards health supplements.

In this respect, iPrice Group has conducted a comparative study on the search volume of health supplements between the first half of last year and this year to understand the coronavirus pandemic’s direct impact on the health supplements economy.

Singaporeans Are the Most Health-Conscious Consumers

When making a comparison among multiple hard-hit regions, Singapore’s demand for supplements has soared by 805%. Euromonitor, a London-based global market research firm, predicts that the vitamin and dietary supplements industry will flourish from SGD 581.3 million in 2019 to SGD 737.3 million in 2024, as cited by Janio.

Asia's increased interest in supplements

As soon as the pandemic hit the shores of the island nation, many Singaporeans stayed ahead of the game by stocking up on bottles of supplements, leading to an upsurge in the demand and production of dietary supplement products. What’s noteworthy is that young adults prefer capsules while the elderly have a penchant for tonics like chicken essence.

Joining the ranks are Indonesia and Malaysia, whose search interest in nutritional supplements increased by 640.75% and 601.63% respectively. In particular, Indonesians’ high interest in weight gain supplements continues unabated.

According to the global obesity data by the OECD in 2017, the obesity rate among Indonesians is merely 5.7%, making Indonesia one of the world’s top four thinnest OECD countries. Furthermore, most Indonesians are enthusiastic about sports and outdoor activities, hence they leveraged this opportunity to build muscles by taking weight gain supplements.

On the other hand, Malaysia started implementing the Movement Control Order (MCO) on March 18 this year. Major brick and mortar pharmaceutical stores were closed for several months, and all health supplement products were only made available online.

In terms of special preference for certain brands when it comes to protein powder or vitamin supplements, Malaysians are very fond of Herbalife, a brand that has amassed a huge cult-following in the country. The brand integrates nutrition and weight management in its products, thus Malaysians took advantage of the occasion to transform their bodies and lifestyles with Herbalife’s supplements during the pandemic.

Vitamin C Takes the Crown

Looking at the most popular health products across all 7 markets, Vitamin C supplements can be said to be dominating the entire region. Not only are Hong Kong and Singapore on the list—both of which share similar consumption values, but the Philippines, Malaysia, and Indonesia are also enthusiastic about the supplement.

Top 3 Supplements per Region

Vitamin C is ranked as the top supplement in the Philippines. This can be attributed to the citizens’ low purchasing power during the pandemic, while the price of Vitamin C supplements is relatively economical in the country. In fact, Vitamin C supplements are also readily available in these 7 markets and can be easily acquired from all pharmacies. Generally, we can conclude that most people can afford to purchase Vitamin C supplements.

Another interesting finding in the Philippines is that its citizens love searching for collagen supplements online. Most women in the Philippines seek to achieve the beauty standard of fair, glowing skin and slender body. With proven studies of collagen helping with weight loss and skin texture enhancement, it’s no wonder that collagen supplements are well-loved by many.

Collagen also takes the runner-up spot in Hong Kong and Singapore, whereas immunity-boosting protein powder is the most popular in both markets. Even though health professionals have emphasized that protein powder can’t prevent coronavirus, moderate consumption of protein powder can strengthen the immune system, which to some extent, helps in battling infection. It is also worth mentioning that protein powder offers body slimming effects— beneficial for fitness aficionados and beauty-conscious individuals.

Research Methodology:

Data featured in this study were obtained by aggregating thousands of product pages of more than 150 online merchants through on Google Analytics. Data on the increase in searches were analysed by comparing the impressions data recorded from January 1 – June 30, 2020 as compared to the corresponding period of 2019.


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