Moreover, the vast majority of people who buy vitamins do so even though they say they are “feeling well and in good health”, the latest findings from Roy Morgan Research.
“A much smaller proportion of New Zealanders than Australians buy vitamins in an average six-month period, although the people buying them are fairly similar in age, gender and geographical location,” explained Pip Elliott, the stats firm’s general manager.
“True, this could simply mean that Kiwis feel healthy enough already without having to resort to supplements. Or it could be that New Zealand offers genuine growth opportunities for marketers of these products who understand that Kiwi buyers differ from their Australian counterparts.”
In the year to January 2014, 28% of New Zealanders aged 14 or over—equating to almost 1m consumers—bought vitamins, minerals or supplements at least once in an average six months. This figure was up slightly from 26% in 2010.
In Australia, the proportion taking vitamins is higher and the increase more substantial from 36% to 42%—or 8m people—over the same time period.
However, there has been little movement in the sales of herbal products or natural medicines since 2010, with the proportion of people buying these items remaining stable in New Zealand, and decreasing by 10% in Australia, over the last four years.
Not only do more Australians than New Zealanders buy vitamins in any given six months, they’re also far more likely to buy them from a chemist than their Kiwi counterparts, who prefer shopping for vitamins at the supermarket.
In the year to January 2014, nearly half of all Aussie vitamin buyers made their purchase at a chemist, while only 22% of Kiwi vitamin buyers did the same.
On the other hand, just over 41% of New Zealand’s vitamin buyers bought them from a supermarket, compared with 30% of Australian vitamin buyers. Health food stores were the third most popular place of purchase for people from both countries.
According to Elliott, the strong Kiwi preference for picking up their vitamins from the supermarket, presumably as part of a larger grocery shop, is very important.
“Whereas Australians don’t mind detouring via the chemist to make their purchase, it seems that Kiwis feel more time-poor and just want to grab their vitamins on the go.
“Not only do more than three-quarters of New Zealand’s vitamin buyers say they ‘live a full and busy life’ [compared to 66% of Australians], they’re also more likely to agree with the statement ‘There are not enough hours in the day’.
“No wonder the convenience of a one-stop shop is so important to them – they don’t have time to spare.”
Despite the differences, there are also clear similarities between Kiwi and Aussie vitamin buyers. For example, nearly three out of every 10 people who purchase vitamins in either country are aged between 35 and 49, and around a quarter are from the 50-64 age bracket.
Most are based in major or capital cities (55% of New Zealand and 63% of Australian vitamin buyers), and the majority are women (62% in New Zealand and 59% in Australia). And, of course, most consumers in both countries say they feel well and in good health.