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Pharma/Healthcare Set To Invest $36.4 Billion In U.S. Advertising This Year.


Pharma and healthcare is the third fastest-growing ad category, forecast by WARC Media to jump 11.0% to $71.1 billion globally, behind only financial services (+11.5%) and technology and electronics (+11.3%). In the U.S., advertising spend on pharma and healthcare is set to reach $34.6 billion this year, a 16.7% year-over-year increase.


While healthcare has traditionally invested the largest portions of its ad budgets in TV, digital formats now attract over half of that segment’s advertising allocations. That is due in part to growing ecommerce sales. Sales among top categories such as vitamins and OTC remedies, diet, and oral care rose over 20% year over year, according to WARC analysis of Amazon sales data from Perpetua.


 “Spending on healthcare is often an area consumers don’t cut back on and the expected rise in consumer spend has turned the category into a highly competitive area for advertisers,” says Gregory Grudzinski, Report Editor, WARC Digital Commerce. “Nearly 240 million people in the U.S. currently use OTC medicines, according to research by the Consumer Healthcare Product Association. This coupled with an aging population, a soft economy, and rising healthcare costs, bodes well for the future of the category.”


It's not just digital and TV benefitting from growing consumer demand for healthcare products and services. When Inside Radio interviewed a handful of radio execs for their outlook for 2023’s second half, healthcare was among the ad categories many were most optimistic about. A recent forecast from BIA Advisory Services called for the healthcare industry to spend more than $12 billion in local advertising in 2024.Conducted with sales intelligence and training firm SalesFuel, the BIA survey found hospitals and the offices of physicians, dentists and chiropractors are the top spenders in the category.


Key insights outlined in the new WARC Media report, which focuses on vitamins, minerals and supplements, over the counter (OTC) healthcare, and the diet and sports nutrition segments, include: 


  • Vitamins, minerals and supplements are a $40bn sub category which has shown significant year-on-year growth on Amazon. Sales in the US are up by 38%, with vitamins (+6.81%) and herbal supplements (+6.34%) leading the charge.

  • Amazon, Walmart and Costco are among the retail companies building partnerships with health insurers and medical service providers to capture a larger share of the healthcare consumer’s dollar online and off. Amazon and Walmart have both seen over 35% growth in the category since Q2 2020. 

  • Consumers view health and wellbeing products as essential. Whilst two thirds (66%) report experiencing financial struggles, 80% expect to increase or maintain their spend on health and wellness products and services. 

  • Millennials are prioritizing their health and wellness more than any other generation. They are, however, dissatisfied with the range of products currently available on the market. 

  • Approximately 60% of Black consumers in the US are prioritizing their wellness more. At the same time, they are three times more likely to be dissatisfied with skin care products, compared to non-Black consumers. 

  • The US population aged 65 and over, a key audience for healthcare products, grew nearly five times faster than the total population in recent years. This is likely to be a key driver of category growth for years to come.

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