Scepticism among the Swedish general public about OTC positioned sleep aids, which in Sweden are all herbal/traditional products, continued to undermine demand in the category in 2015. The category also experienced virtually no new product development or advertising activity during either 2014 or 2015, which further contributed to declining current value sales.
Cederroth led sales of sleep aids in Sweden during 2015, accounting for 51% of total retail value sales in the category. This company’s strong position is due to the success of its well-known Valerina brand, which comes in two versions: Valerina Forte and Valerina Natt. Second position is held by Abigo Medical, which generated a 23% value share in 2015 with is Neurol brand. Both Valerina and Neurol are based on valerian root as the main active ingredient. Together, these two well-known brands dominate sales of sleep aids in Sweden due to their longstanding track records and the relatively high levels of consumer awareness and trust they enjoy as reliable brands and high levels of penetration.
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The levels of stress being experienced by Swedish people are very unlikely to decrease over the forecast period. On the contrary, more intense and more demanding modern lifestyles and the increasingly hectic urban environment are likely to increase stress levels, promoting anxiety and negative issues relating to sleep as well as insomnia. The Swedish mental health system is indeed reporting a growing influx of patients, especially among the younger segments of the population. As such, one might think there is potential for strong growth for sleep aids. However, a rather high level of scepticism among a broad range of consumers towards herbal/traditional sleep aids is a major hurdle to achieving strong growth in the category and this will almost certainly prevent sales from growing. Swedish consumers with more serious issues relating to anxiety or sleep typically find that herbal/traditional or OTC sleep aids to be insufficient in addressing their symptoms and they instead opt for Rx products or other ways to manage or address their symptoms.
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