External painkillers lead sales in analgesics market


stock checker on analgesics


External painkillers lead sales in analgesics market

D. P. Hamacher & Associates, a division of NONSTOP Solutions Inc., provided the material for this column. The Hamacher firm is a Milwaukee-based management consulting company specializing in drugstore management tools. For further information, call Hamacher at 1-(800) 888-0889, or e-mail the company at info@hamacher.com. Hamacher also has a Web site at http://www.Hamacher.com .

Whether it’s a throbbing headache or the muscle soreness of the overzealous weekend athlete, pain slows everyone down. And for many in our fast-paced society, slowing down is not an acceptable option. Fortunately, analgesics are. In fact, more than 75 million households purchased an analgesic last year.

These consumers prefer to buy analgesics in food stores and drugstores. Both outlets control a 35% share of the category, with mass outlets holding the remaining 30%.

Sales in the analgesics category as a whole fell 2% over the past year. However, even though sales declined, the category still generated $3.25 billion. Internal analgesics produced 91% of those sales, and external analgesics supplied the remaining 9%.

Subcategory sales breakdown

Internal analgesics
External analgesics


Internal analgesics

Within internal analgesics, customers are sticking to the old standbys. The combined sales of Tylenol, Advil, and private labels account for 63% of adult internal analgesic sales. According to Information Resources Inc. (IRI), Tylenol leads the way in the subcategory with six of the top 10 SKUs. Advil Tablets 24- and 50-counts rank No. 1 and No. 2 in unit sales. In an 8-ft. department, at least 30 linear feet should be dedicated to these brands to satisfy the demand.

Another emerging trend: using aspirin to promote cardiovascular health. Aspirin regimen tablets, 81-mg strength, generate sales of $320 million, almost 42% of total aspirin sales.

External analgesics

External analgesics showed the most promise for drugstores, increasing sales 16.3% over the past year. Favorable demographics, a more active society, and a growing number of arthritis sufferers are spurring this growth. As our society ages, sales of external analgesics should continue to expand. Seniors and aging baby boomers are continually looking for ways to keep their active lifestyles pain-free and intact.

New consumers entering the market–not the introduction of new products–are stimulating the growth in the external analgesics subcategory. Since January 2001, Hamacher has recorded only five new entries in the subcategory. Three are pain-relieving patches: Absorbine Jr. Pain Relief, Excedrin Cooling Pads, and Icy Hot Patches. Icy Hot, carried by the most wholesalers, ranks 270th in the analgesics category.

Merchandising guides

Because many people use both internal and external analgesics for their aches and pains, merchandising the two together makes good sense. The analgesics category is extremely diverse and can be confusing to shoppers. To help clear this confusion, we recommend the use of symptom-identifying shelf strips. These strips make your department easier to shop, which is always considered an added advantage in the consumer’s mind. In identifying symptoms, shelf strips also identify most subcategories in the department: aspirin, non-aspirin, anti-inflammatory, nighttime relief, stimulants, sedatives, children’s, specialty pain relief, hemorrhoid relief, as well as arthritis and sports rubs.

When you offer a wide variety of private-label/store brands, you give customers more options–while you increase your store’s profitability. Private-label margins tend to be 15% to 25% higher than those of their branded counterparts. What’s more, both unit volume and dollar sales for private-label items are on the rise. This is due, in part, to the increasing quality of private-label items. No longer regarded as "generics," store brands are considered more like inexpensive equivalents.

Where do you fit?

For drugstores seeking to differentiate themselves from their competitors, the analgesics department is a great place to start. Offer a broad selection and highlight department subcategories with shelf labels. The easier your department is to shop, the more attractive it becomes to your customers. Also, counseling is important for this department. Analgesics should be as close to the pharmacy as possible, so customers can discuss choosing the right product with the pharmacist.


Large Dept.
Medium Dept.
Small Dept.
Linear feet Number of SKUs Estimated sales per year Estimated inventory retail Retail inventory turns
96 300 $53,130 $7,000 7.6
64 210 $45,300 $5,500 8.2
32 110 $30,800 $3,300 9.3




Absorbine Jr Pain Relief Patch 6

Advil Children’s Suspension 4 oz. Blue Rasp

Aleve Caplet 100 Easy Open

Excedrin Cooling Pads 7

Feverall Suppositories

Icy Hot Patches 5 X/S

Midol Caplet 40 M/S Menstrual

Motrin Child Suspension 4 oz. Berry D/F

Motrin Infant Drops 1 oz. Berry N/S

St Joseph Chewtabs 36 Orange

St. Joseph Tablet Enteric Coated 36, 180

Tylenol Arthritis Caplet 250

Uniserts Suppositories 650 mg 12, 50

W.F. Young


Bayer Inc




Bayer Inc.

McNeil Consumer

McNeil Consumer

McNeil Consumer

McNeil Consumer

McNeil Consumer




Use this never-out list to monitor your in-stock condition. The items listed account for more than 50% of the dollar sales in the analgesics category. An out-of-stock on any of these items represents a significant loss of sales.

____ Advil Caplets 24, 50

____ Advil Children’s Suspension 4-oz. Fruit

____ Advil Tablets 24, 50, 100

____ Aleve Caplets 24, 50, 100

____ Aleve Tablets 24, 50

____ Anusol Ointment 1 oz.

____ Aspercreme 3-oz. Cream Tube

____ Azo Standard Tab 30

____ Bayer Aspirin Chewable 36 Orange

____ Bayer Aspirin Reg/Low Tab 120

____ Bayer Aspirin Tab 24, 50, 100

____ BenGay Ointment 2 oz. Greaseless

____ BenGay Ultra Strength 2 oz.

____ Bonine motion Sickness Tab 8

____ Doans Caplet 24 X/S

____ Dramamine Tab 12

____ Ecotrin Tab 36 Adult Low Strength

____ Ecotrin Tab 100 Regular Strength

____ Excedrin X/S Tab 24

____ Icy Hot Cream 1.25 oz.

____ Midol Caplets 24 M/S Menstrual

____ Mineral Ice 8 oz. Original

____ Motrin Child Suspension 2 oz., 4 oz. Berry

____ Motrin Infant Drops .5 oz. Berry

____ Preparation H Cream .9 oz.

____ Preparation H Ointment 1 oz.

____ Preparation H Supp 12

____ Simply Sleep Cap 24

____ Tucks Pads 40, 100

____ Tylenol Arthritis Caplet 50, 100

____ Tylenol Child Suspension 4 oz. Cherry

____ Tylenol Infant Drops 15 ml Grape, Cherry

____ Tylenol PM X/S Caplets 24, 50

____ Tylenol PM X/S Geltab 24

____ Tylenol Softchew 30 Grape

____ Tylenol Tab 100

____ Tylenol X/S Caplet 24, 50, 100

____ Tylenol X/S Gelcap 24, 50, 100

____ Tylenol X/S Geltab 24, 50

____ Tylenol X/S Liquid 8 oz.

____ Tylenol X/S Tab 30, 60, 100

____ Unisom Sleep Tab 16

____ Vivarin Tab 16

____ Zostrix Cream 2 oz.



This list includes the most popular and price-sensitive SKUs in the analgesics category. Use it to see if your prices on these key items fall within the average everyday retail range.

price range

Tylenol PM X/S Caplet 50

Tylenol X/S Gelcap 24

Tylenol X/S Gelcap 100

Tylenol X/S Tablets 100

Advil Tablets 24

Advil Tablets 100

Aleve Caplet 24

Motrin IB Caplet 50

Motrin Child Suspension Berry

Tylenol Infant Drops 15 ml Cherry

Azo Standard Tabs 30

Bayer aspirin Tabs 100

Excedrin Migraine Caplets 100

Preparation H Ointment 1 oz.

Aspercreme 3 oz. Tube

BenGay Ultra Strength 2 oz.

Simply Sleep Caplet 24

Vivarin Tab 16

$6.79 — 7.99

2.99 — 4.29

7.53 — 9.29

7.49 — 8.99

3.29 — 4.49

7.99 — 9.79

3.49 — 4.53

4.99 — 6.99

5.29 — 6.99

4.59 — 5.99

6.49 — 8.99

5.69 — 6.33

7.89 — 9.99

4.79 — 6.39

4.63 — 6.93

4.99 — 6.79

3.99 — 5.49

2.59 — 4.19

Sandra Levy. External painkillers lead sales in analgesics market.

Drug Topics


Related Content
© 2024 MJH Life Sciences

All rights reserved.