In 2022, the Australian supplements industry was reported to be worth more than $1.5 billion, with further growth forecast at 3.4 per cent over the next 5 years[1]. With research showing that 73 per cent of consumers have adopted the use of a complementary medicine since the pandemic, product demand has inevitably been influenced by shifting consumer behaviours and seasonal trends.    

For example, as we enter the thick of cold and flu season, we’re seeing more proactive Australians racing to get their hands on vitamins and supplements to support their immune health than ever before. In response, businesses such as PharmaCare have long been leveraging seasonal trends to tap into consumer behaviours, capitalise on demand, and pave the way for new products and markets through innovation. Here are some top tips to consider if you’re looking to do the same:

Understand your market

Categories that have a seasonal bias represent a key business opportunity for both manufacturers and retailers alike. It is imperative that we monitor the leading indicators to help us predict the potential seasonal trend so that we can plan activity and inventory requirements to ensure all parties can meet the demands of the market. In the case of the cold and flu season, PharmaCare looks at weekly trends from the Flu Monitor[2], an online health surveillance system used to detect the potential spread of influenza and COVID-19, and how it is benchmarking versus prior years, as well as current and historical consumption trends to make more informed choices.

Add value

Recent research by Fiftyfive5 showed that when it comes to value, consumers really care about the fundamentals (that is, delivering what you say you’re going to deliver). In grocery, a brand’s fundamentals make up 40% of its value, followed closely by the experience it offers consumers (31%) and the social impact that brand offers too (17%). When the value a customer seeks is as simple as doing what they think you’ll do, there’s no reason you can’t deliver. Focus on your product, deliver it well and consistently, and you’ll have a customer for life.

Never stop innovating

Maintaining consumer engagement through the launch of new products, refreshed branding, fun campaigns, or engagement of new talent/ambassadors are some of the most effective ways to continue innovating long after seasonal opportunities pass. At PharmaCare, we have seen success across a range of our brands where our local headquarters allow us to be agile to the Australian consumer’s changing needs.

For example, this year, two of PharmaCare’s household name brands’ Sambucol and EASEaCOLD, launched their “Cost of a Cold” campaign with nationally recognised financial expert, Canna Campbell, to calculate the true cost of a cold, which can set Aussie’s back up to $11,000 per year. As Aussies continuing to face the rising cost of living, they are continually finding new ways to save. Whilst taking unpaid sick days from work may not seem detrimental at the time, seemingly small costs can add up quickly. Sambucol and EASEaCOLD recognised this consumer trend and were able to respond directly to their consumer’s needs by delivering products that reduce the duration – and therefore the cost – of a common illness, helping them to save money.

Maintain constant contact with your seller network

The mark of a successful sales team is having the confidence that your stockists, field teams and retailer network can communicate your product’s use and messaging in an authentic and valid way. Taking the time to invest in consistent training is fundamental to building brand awareness and purpose especially if there is a product best used in a certain season, time frame or occasion.

Consumer trends allow brands to break the boundaries of the market, put forward new ideas, and communicate their values in a diverse manner. It is important that brands use seasonal, occasional and consumer trends as a driving force to producing innovative products and strategy to meet the changing needs of their consumers, as well as maintain consumer engagement and loyalty.

David O’Brien is general manager of retail sales at PharmaCare Laboratories.

[1] New Zealand Trade and Enterprise,

[2] Australian Government Department of Health and Aged Care,