US Herbal Supplement Sales Increase by 8.6% in 2019, Record-Breaking Sales Predicted for 2020

HerbalGram’s Herb Market Report discusses 2019 trends and highlights ingredients with steep sales increases during COVID-19 pandemic in first six months of 2020

AUSTIN, Texas (August 31, 2020) — Consumers in the United States spent an estimated $9.602 billion on herbal dietary supplements in 2019, an 8.6% increase in total US sales from the previous year, according to the American Botanical Council’s (ABC’s) 2019 Herb Market Report.1 The report also includes a short review of herbs that experienced notable sales spikes in the first half of 2020 with a discussion of related trends.

ABC’s 2019 market report and the accompanying 2020 sales article, which were published in issue 127 of ABC’s quarterly, peer-reviewed journal HerbalGram, are based on US retail sales data provided by SPINS, a wellness-focused data technology company based in Chicago, Illinois, and the Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ), a publication of Informa/New Hope Natural Media based in Boulder, Colorado. The sales estimates for individual herbs and fungi discussed in the report reflect sales of herbal dietary supplements in which the particular herb is the primary ingredient. The report does not include sales of most herbal teas, botanical ingredients used in cosmetics, or government-approved herbal drug ingredients in over-the-counter medicines.

The report was written by Tyler Smith, managing editor of HerbalGram; Georgia May, corporate communications associate, and Veronica Eckl, associate data manager, both at SPINS; and Claire Morton Reynolds, senior industry analyst at NBJ.

NBJ based its total herbal supplement sales figures for 2019 on data from market research firms, company surveys, interviews with major retailers and industry experts, and other secondary materials. SPINS determined sales of herbal supplements in two retail channels: the conventional multi-outlet (mainstream) channel powered by IRI, a Chicago-based market research firm, and the “natural enhanced” retail channel. SPINS’ mainstream channel includes select grocery stores, drug stores, and mass merchandisers such as club, dollar, and military stores. The natural channel includes co-ops, associations, independent retailers, and large regional chains (excluding Whole Foods Market and Trader Joe’s).

For the first time, cannabidiol (CBD), a psychoactive but non-intoxicating constituent of Cannabis sativa, made the list of 40 top-selling ingredients in the US mainstream channel, where it ranked ninth in retail sales, totaling just under $36 million, a whopping 872% increase over 2018 sales in this channel. CBD was the top-selling botanical ingredient sold as a dietary supplement in natural retail outlets for the second consecutive year. Although the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) does not consider CBD to be a legal dietary supplement ingredient, products containing CBD intended for internal use were widely available in 2019 and marketed for a range of potential health benefits, including stress, sleep support, and general health benefits.

Herbs commonly used for immune support also saw significant sales increases in 2019. Elderberry had the second-highest sales increase in the mainstream channel, making it the third top-selling ingredient in that channel. Sales of immune health-related ingredients such as echinacea and elderberry, among others, rose even more sharply in the first six months of 2020. Elderberry sales in the first half of 2020 grew by triple digits, increasing by 126% and 241% in the naturaland mainstreamchannels, respectively, compared to sales during the same period in 2019. Sales of echinacea products also grew by more than 50% in both channels during this period.

“Sales of CBD products in natural retail stores have been steadily increasing for years, but in 2019, mainstream shoppers appeared to fully embrace the cannabis compound. Consumer sales of herbs and fungi with potential immune health benefits also remained strong in 2019 and, unsurprisingly, the first half of 2020,” said Smith, who has co-authored the annual ABC Herb Market Report since 2014. “We are grateful to SPINS and NBJ for generously supplying the data for the report and for their invaluable insights.”

“These retail sales data demonstrate the continued increase in consumer interest in and demand for herbal dietary supplements, representing a steadily growing trend toward natural health as a solid lifestyle shift, especially proactive attempts to enhance immunity,” said Mark Blumenthal, founder and executive director of ABC and editor-in-chief of HerbalGram.

The 2019 Herb Market Report features eight tables and four charts, including tables of total US herbal supplement sales from 2000 to 2019 and the 40 top-selling herbs in the US mainstream and natural retail channels. It also includes detailed descriptions of SPINS and NBJ market channels and tables of sales broken down by product type (single-herb supplements vs. combination formulas) and retail channel (mass market, natural and health food, and direct sales). 

HerbalGram’s 2019 Herb Market Report is available for free on ABC’s website.

Reference

1.      Smith T, May G, Eckl V, Morton Reynolds C. US Sales of Herbal Supplements Increase by 8.6% in 2019. HerbalGram. 2020;127:54-69. Available at: http://cms.herbalgram.org/herbalgram/issue127/hg127-mktrpt-2019.html. Accessed August 31, 2020.

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