A survey of over 10,000 savvy consumers of supplements shows the most popular supplements to be fish oil, multivitamins, vitamin D, calcium and CoQ10, in that order.
More than two-thirds of respondents used fish oil and/or multivitamins, while approximately half used vitamin D, calcium, and/or CoQ10. Results are based on responses from ConsumerLab.com’s survey of its e-newsletter readers conducted in November.
The survey uncovered interesting and important trends in the way people of different ages and genders use supplements. Here are some of the findings:
- Women are much more likely than men to take vitamin D, calcium, B vitamins, probiotics, and iron supplements. Men are more likely than women to take supplements that are generally thought to boost energy, slow aging, or lower cholesterol including CoQ10, resveratrol, amino acids, red yeast rice, nutrition drinks and powders, green tea, vitamin K, plant sterols, and muscle enhancers. Men are also more likely than women to take supplements for sexual enhancement.
- Many supplements are especially popular with older consumers. For example, while only 31% of respondents under 35 use vitamin D, use of the vitamin increases to just over 50% for those ages 45 to 54 and to 58% for those ages 65 to 74. Other supplements that are especially sought after by older consumers include calcium, CoQ10, B vitamins, vitamin C, vitamin E, resveratrol, and vitamin K. Conversely, the use of some supplements declined with age, including amino acids, nutrition /protein drinks and powders, green tea, nutrition bars, weight loss supplements, muscle enhancers, and super fruits. Younger adults are also slightly more likely than older adults to have recently used fish oil or multivitamins.
- Not surprisingly, the most heavily used supplements are especially popular among people who take multiple supplements every day. This is particularly true with fish oil, used by 80.8% of people who took 10+ supplements per day. CoQ10 is used by 76.2% of people who take 10+ supplements per day but only by 9.8% of people using one supplement per day.
The survey also found the Internet to be the most popular place to buy supplements. In fact, 42.8% of respondents reported using online stores. The next most common place to buy supplements is health food stores, used by 29.3% of respondents. Other common outlets, used by 20% or more of the respondents, include warehouse clubs, mail order catalogues, supermarkets, pharmacies, and vitamin stores.
Further evidence of the influence of the Internet is that among the 906 different retailers from which respondents buy supplements, Amazon is the 10th most popular, up from 13th the prior year and 16th in 2009.
The survey revealed some distinct differences in online shopping habits:
- 46.7% of men shop online vs. 40.2% of women.
- The biggest supplement users are especially likely to shop online. Specifically, 55.9% of those taking 10 or more supplements daily purchase online compared to 23.0% of those taking only one supplement.
- Younger shoppers prefer the Internet. More than 55% of adults under 45 buy supplements online. More than a third of people in every age group up to age 85 use online stores. Even 15% of respondents over 85 said they shop online.
Respondents also rated 1,551 brands they used. The supplement brands and merchants receiving the highest rating on overall consumer satisfaction within their specific market segment were recently listed on the ConsumerLab.com website.
“We began the annual survey several years ago to direct our product testing toward supplement categories and brands of greatest interest to ConsumerLab.com members,” says Tod Cooperman, M.D., president of ConsumerLab.com. “It has evolved into an excellent barometer of the nutrition marketplace.”
For more information about the survey or to purchase the survey report, go to http://www.consumerlab.com/reports/CLSurveyBrochure2012.pdf or contact Lisa Sabin, Vice President for Business Development, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Subscription and access to ConsumerLab.com’s test reports, covering more than sixty types of popular supplements, is available online.
ConsumerLab.com is a leading provider of consumer information and independent evaluations of products that affect health and nutrition. The company is privately held has no ownership from, or interest in, companies that manufacture, distribute, or sell consumer products.s