Cough Cold Sinus Allergy Category Off to a Strong Start in 2015

While most of the nation is still digging out from another harsh winter, it is never too early to plan ahead for spring – at least according to leading Cold Sinus & Allergy (CCSA) manufacturers. Much like the changes seen last year in promotional strategy for the Antacid category, there have recently been significant changes in Free Standing Insert (FSI) activity for the CCSA category as well. On February 1st 2015 alone, Merck/Bayer and Chattem went head to head in nationally circulated FSIs with each manufacturer dropping both manufacturer coupons as well as Walmart-supported promotions on their respective allergy brands. Through analysis of data provided by the Marx ProMotion PLUS Service, this pre-allergy season push exemplifies the notable changes in FSI activity in 2015 versus just one year ago, and demonstrates that this category continues to evolve.

There are many distinct changes in FSI activity for the Total CCSA category through these first five weeks of 2015 versus the same period in 2014. The total number of coupon events in 2015 was actually less than the same period a year ago –79 Events versus 86 Events in 2014. However, while the total number of events is down the number of CCSA brands participating in these events are actually up, with five more brands active in this period than last year.

Additionally, the number of Coupons Dropped (coupons on a page multiplied by the page circulation) saw a significant increase of 39.4% through the first five weeks of 2015. Advil CCSA has already positioned itself as a leader in this metric by increasing Coupons Dropped 302.5% versus the same brand’s activity a year ago. Furthermore, the Average Face Value for the Total CCSA category increased from $2.29 to $2.86, an increase helped by brands like Zarbees’ Weighted Average Face Value of $7.00 and Aleve D CCSA’s Weighted Average Face Value of $6.50. With increases in both coupons dropped and average face value, the Total CCSA category is quickly becomes a very expensive category to compete in.

Finally, it will be interesting to see how a category that saw 450 total events in 2014 reacts to new product introductions in 2015. Claritin Non-Prescription was the leader in 2014 with 69 total events; Zyrtec CCSA came in second with 52 events. This year, new brand introductions like Flonase Allergy Relief (which has already dropped four events in 2015) and new brand variations like Allegra’s capsule product (introduced in FSIs on February 5th of this year) may help drive the total number of CCSA FSI events to an even higher number than before.

From metric increases in Coupons Dropped and Average Face Value to additional and new brands participating in coupon events, 2015 is already shaping up to host a highly competitive Allergy season and beyond. This proves that even old stalwart categories such as Cough Cold Sinus and Allergy still have the ability to adapt and adjust as competitive tactics do the same.

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