Overseas health supplement market in China in 2021: TMall sales analysis

TMO Group TMO Group

In recent years, with the improvement of the health literacy level of Chinese residents year by year, and the influence of the epidemic, the public has paid more attention to personal health. Taking health supplements has gradually become a living habit for many people and therefore, consumers’ demand for health supplements is also further expanding. Thanks to the rapid development of cross-border e-commerce, the overseas market is growing rapidly and more health supplement brands are entering the China market. According to the statistics of CBNData, the consumption scale and the number of consumers of health supplements on Tmall Global have maintained a good growth trend in recent years.

In TMO’s latest 2021 China Health Supplements Market Annual ReportThis report summarizes all the monthly sales data of China's overseas health supplements in 2021 from multiple dimensions and concludes the market highlights and trends throughout the year.annual report, we have integrated, analyzed and summarized the sales data of overseas health supplements in 2021, so that you can quickly, directly and accurately have a comprehensive understanding of the market conditions in 2021. In response to the questions that readers are most concerned about, we will also answer them one by one in this article. If you are interested, be sure to read it patiently!

How was the overall market in 2021?

Overall, 2021 was still a year of rapid development for overseas health supplements. Judging from the sales data of Alibaba platforms, the annual sales revenue in 2021 was close to 17.5 billion yuan, with a year-on-year increase of 10.7%. In the two months with big promotions, June (6.18) and November (Double 11), the sales both increased. Specially, the sales revenue in November reached 3.7 billion yuan, accounting for 21.1% of the whole year revenue. On the other hand, the annual sales volume decreased by 1.3% year-on-year. It can be inferred that with the improvement of consumers’ knowledge and quality requirements, niche products with higher unit price are gradually getting favored by more people. While the decline in the number of stores may be related to the supervision of the platform.

What are the best-selling sub-categories and products?

The best-selling sub-category in 2021 is undoubtedly beauty supplements, with annual sales revenue of more than 1.7 billion yuan. Among them, oral collagen and anti-sugar products are especially popular. The “she economy” has driven more women to invest in their physical appearance as well as internal health, and the internal use of beauty and skin care ingredients has also become a new trend.

The top 10 sub-categories can be roughly divided into four groups: beauty enhancement (beauty supplements, NAD+ precursor supplements, collagens), immunity boosting (probiotics, multivitamins, thistles), cardiovascular health (fish oil, coenzyme Q10) and bone & joint maintenance (glucosamine, calcium). This is also highly consistent with the ingredients and benefits of the best-selling products in this report. These four groups also happen to correspond to the three core consumer groups of health supplements: female beauty lovers, young people and the middle-aged and elderly. It can be seen that in China, health products have gradually penetrated into all age groups.

In addition to the above 10 sub-categories, oyster tablets and melatonin are the hot search keywords on the platform in 2021. Men’s health and sleep quality management are also issues that modern people are very concerned about and urgently need to solve. For consumers who need to boost their immunity during the ups and downs of the epidemic, B vitamins are also a very good choice.

In general, the price range of the best-selling overseas health supplements in 2021 is 100-400 yuan. Most consumers are still more willing to choose big brands and cost-effective products, but there are also quite a few consumers who are willing to spend money to buy high-end products with active ingredients of higher concentration and better effects.

Swisse’s Liver Detox Tablets and Calcium Tablets, By-Health’s Milk Thistle Tablets and Princess Luna’s Vaginal Probiotics are the best-selling products in 2021. These products are often seen in the top 15 of the monthly sales list. Among them, the popularity of female probiotics reflects that external beauty is no longer the only pursuit of contemporary sophisticated women, and issues such as vaginal health, which were often avoided in the past but are actually of great importance, have begun to be paid more attention by women.

On the other hand, dark horse products are all expensive beauty products. Under the circumstance of strengthened market supervision, NMN products have continued their hot sales in 2020, and many products have alternately appeared in the monthly top-selling list in 2021. Meanwhile, the two oral collagen products of the Korean brand Newskin took the top two places in terms of sales revenue in October, with a unit price of 15,000 yuan.

What are the consumers’ preferences for products?

In 2021, health products from US and Australia are still the first choice for Chinese consumers when purchase imported supplements. And Swisse, relying on its high cost performance, multi-channel marketing and good brand image, has become the best-selling brand for many consecutive years. For entry-level consumers who are new to buying and taking supplements and are in lack of related knowledge, Swisse’s products are a safe bet that can’t go wrong.

For some specific categories, consumers will also choose more professional and well-known brands and products in this field, such as MoveFree’s glucosamine products, Life Space’s probiotic products and Myprotein’s protein powder products. In addition, when consumers buy enzymes and other weight management products, they would prefer products from Japan.

In terms of product forms, consumers still buy the most health products in the form of capsules and tablets. However, in recent years, snack-formed health products (such as gummies and jelly) have become more and more popular among young Chinese consumers. The products that consumers usually buy in the form of snacks include probiotics, collagen and melatonin.

Are the brand flagship stores still the first choice of consumers?

First of all, the brand’s overseas flagship store, as a guarantee of genuine products, is still the most trusted purchasing channel for consumers. This can be seen from the fact that the stores where the four best-selling products are located are all brand flagship stores. However, judging from the ranking of top 10 cross-border stores, the annual sales of Tmall Global Import Supermarket are far ahead, and Ali Health Overseas Store also ranks third among all stores. These two Alibaba-owned platforms directly supply imported goods to domestic consumers at lower prices than brand flagship stores, so they are being chosen by more and more consumers.

However, it is worth noting that to what degree the sales channels are diverged is actually closely related to the brand influence. The flagship store of high-profile brands tend to account for a lower proportion of sales. For example, the sales of Swisse overseas flagship stores in 2021 are only one-third of the total sales of the brand. In addition, for countries like US, Australia, Canada and Japan, the Daigou business is a well-developed, and the C2C market is very large. The sales performance of a personal store with a good reputation can even be better than that of a flagship store.

Are consumers still crazy about Double 11?

Taking a whole year as a time period, the answer is obviously yes. As also mentioned above, sales in November 2021 accounted for 21.1% of the full year. However, it was down slightly from 21.9% in the same period last year. The report of CBNData also pointed out that the consumption of health supplements by young people is gradually becoming more of a routine, and the amount and frequency of consumption during the non-big promotion period has shown an obvious upward trend. Buying and supplementing nutrition at any time has become the normal life of young people.

However, it should be pointed out that the unit price of the product is an important factor. For affordable products, consumers are gradually shifting to a daily consumption pattern. While for products over 500 yuan, although quite a lot of consumers have interest in buying them, they are still more willing to stock up during the big promotion. Therefore, health products in these price ranges also generally accounted for a high proportion of sales in Q4 with the Double 11 and Double 12 promotions.


If you want to know the details of the annual report, please click and download the “2021 China Health Supplements Market Annual ReportThis report summarizes all the monthly sales data of China's overseas health supplements in 2021 from multiple dimensions and concludes the market highlights and trends throughout the year.2021 China Cross-border Health Supplements Annual Report“! In addition, if you are interested in the monthly information of specific sub-category or product, please download our “China Health Supplements Market Data Packs (2021 Annual Collection)This collection includes the China health supplements market data packs from January issue to December issue 2021.2021 China Health Supplements Market Data Packs”!

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