An oyster extract and turmeric liver supplement was second, with sales increase of 88%. Propolis was the third most popular supplement with a 78% increase in sales.
These data forms part of FANCL’s effects in monitoring supplement sales trends in Japan, especially with the ongoing Covid-19 crisis. Data was collected from supplements purchased through its mail order channels.
The other popular supplements were its product for women in their 20s, vitamin C, multivitamins and minerals, Caro Limit, men supplements (for men in their 20s), vitamins (middle-aged and older people), and nutrition pack (combination of basic supplements).
FANCL noticed that during the pandemic, people were increasingly more health conscious and buying supplements that helped improve immune health.
Sunshine for health
Often called the sunshine vitamin, vitamin D is synthesised naturally in the body when exposed to sunlight. Due to the pandemic, the Japanese government had called residents to refrain from going out unnecessary, which FANCL said may have contributed to individuals more concerned about their deficiency, leading to higher sales of vitamin D.
Vitamin D has been studied for its immune function benefits, and most recently, European researchers have called for its supplementation to help reduce mortality from Covid-19. Although this has since caused backlash from other researchers citing insufficient evidence against Covid-19.
According to Toshihiro Tomita, public relations at FANCL, its second best-seller is a liver supplement targeted at alcohol drinkers.
While nightclubs were shut and bars and restaurants operating shorter hours during the pandemic, Tomita said this has led to consumers turning to drinking at home instead. Hence, the supplement remained popular despite the lower on-trade activity.
During this period of telecommuting, FANCL also observed a slight increase in sales of supplements targeting stress (12%), sleep (12%), and eye fatigue (20%).
Japan has recently come out of a state of emergency, where many FANCL stores were closed as a result. Tomita said the company was giving customers JPY500 (US$4.60) coupons for purchases through its mail order channel, in addition to free shipping until June 30.
The firm is also individually wrapping certain supplements, especially those containing different types in a package, in a bid to reduce contact points and curb consumers concerns.
According to Tomita, the firm expects the impact of Covid-19 to last until August 2020 in its domestic business.
In the meantime, the firm is increasing the number of mail-order users by sending magazines to customers. It reported that the number of regular deliveries has increased by more than 50% between November 2019 and March 2020.