Line extensions and specialty products set the pace among new OTCs/HBCs in 2000

What were the bestselling OTCs and HBCs launched in 2000? Hamacher provides answers




Line extensions and specialty products set the pace among new OTC/HBC products in 2000

Editor's note: D. P. Hamacher & Associates, a division of NONSTOP Solutions Inc., provided the material for this article, which features the bestselling OTCs and HBCs launched in 2000.

In 2000, analysts at D. P. Hamacher & Associates (DPH&A) reviewed 1,393 new over-the-counter and health and beauty care (HBC) items, 176 more than in 1999. Those products were evaluated on the basis of several criteria, including product innovation, test-market results, ability to produce profits, and manufacturer support. Despite the larger number of items reviewed this time around, only 411 new items—30% of the total—earned places in planograms. That's 185 fewer than last year.

This trend continued as DPH&A experts identified very high potential items—those recommended for all planograms (small, medium, and large departments). This number decreased dramatically from 31 in 1999 to nine in 2000. The nine elite 2000 introductions listed here already rank among DPH&A's top 1,000 OTC/HBC items:

AtLast Blood Glucose System
AtLast Test Strips 50
Control Brand Nicotine Step 1 Patch 7
Control Brand Nicotine Step 2 Patch 7
J&J Band-Aid Anti-Itch Gel 2 oz
Nicoderm CQ Step 1 Patch 14 Clear
Ocuvite Lutein Cap 36
Pepcid AC Tab 60
Viactiv Calcium Soft Chew 60 Caramel

Market trends

Over the past two years, manufacturer spending on the Internet has risen as companies developed innovative ways to market new products to a society that has become used to getting information at the click of a button, 24 hours a day.

In addition, marketing to the Hispanic population has played a larger role in product introductions in 2000 as marketers have recognized the dollar potential of this growing group. For example, Dr. Scholl's targeted Hispanics with its new product lines to capitalize on this market's growth potential. According to DPH&A analysis, Dr. Scholl's experienced one of the year's more successful launches.

While marketing can get products into the hands of customers, only the products' performance will keep them there. In 2000, fewer introductions showed this type of staying power. Some numbers to prove this point: By the end of 1999, more than 40% of new items ranked in the top 6,000 OTC/HBC items. At the end of 2000, the percentage was under 20%.

Standards for planogram placement

Analysts at DPH&A typically planogram 6,000 items a year. Currently, the database is made up of 32,781 branded and 4,600 private-label SKUs. When analysts recommend a new item for any planogram, they're betting that the item will sell better than 30,481 existing items.

Before including an item in planograms, DPH&A weighs the item's potential to reach certain benchmarks. For example: Will the item rank among the top 6,000 OTC/HBC items? That's the minimum standard for most large planograms. For medium planograms, the item must rank in the top 3,930. For small planograms, the mark is the top 2,625. But even more important is the item's potential ranking in its own department. The question is, Will the item outsell products already in a planogram?


The chart below shows:

  • Departments

  • New items '00. The number of items reviewed in 2000 for each of the 21 departments.

  • Items in department. The number of items in the DPH&A database for each department.

  • # items in planograms. The number of SKUs contained in typical large, medium, and small planograms for each department.


DepartmentsNew items ’00Items in dept.# items in planograms

Baby needs421,616232191149
Cough & cold711,178475310212
Elastic & sports treatment271,82613310267
Eye & ear care7599229190100
Family planning193181495340
Feminine hygiene3041917610135
First aid45956378235156
Foot care4568015011359
Hair care2672,849684350263
Health maintenance13448676767
Oral hygiene681,267421253196
Skin care1563,124532361225
Sun care91732216178115


To illustrate how DPH&A analysts chose items for the 2001 vitamin planograms, consider the following: The DPH&A vitamin database contains more than 6,942 items, but fewer than 530 are included in the firm's largest planogram. To be among them, an item must outsell more than 6,412 existing vitamin items. To win a place in the smallest planogram, an item must sell better than 6,721 competing SKUs.


In 1999, growth in the category was due largely to new forms and flavors of existing brands. This was true again in 2000, as the success of Motrin Migraine Caplets and Advil Migraine Liqui-Gels showed. In addition, Alluna Sleep Tablets proved to be one of the year's stronger introductions. According to DPH&A research, this item climbed into the top 200 of the analgesic category.

The introduction of Aflexa and Flexagen extended the joint-health subcategory beyond its traditional boundaries—dietary supplements—into the analgesics department. Both products contain glucosamine/chondroitin blends.


Product standoutsManufacturer
Advil Migraine Liqui-Gels 20, 40, 80Whitehall-Robins
Aflexa Tabs 50, 110McNeil
Alluna Sleep Tabs 28, 56SmithKline Beecham
Bonine Chew Tabs 16 RaspberryPfizer
Flexagen Joint Care Caplets 50, 100Whitehall-Robins
Motrin Migraine Caplets 24, 50, 100McNeil



In the antacid/laxative category, 28 more products were introduced in 2000 than in 1999. New flavors of Rolaids and Tums are included in this total. Tagamet HB 200 Liquid is the category's big performer, capturing a ranking of 282 among 698 items in the category file.


Product standoutsManufacturer
Fiber Choice Tablets 90 OrangeCNS Inc.
Gas-X Max/Str SoftGel 50Novartis
Pepcid AC Tablets 90McNeil
Tagamet HB 200 Liquid 12 ozSmithKline Beecham


Baby needs

A few new items are worth mentioning. J&J's Bedtime Bath has moved into the category's top 100, and its antibiotic towelettes are slowly rising in the rankings. Gerber's launch of 11 baby products also succeeded, with five of the items earning places in the baby-needs planograms.  


Product standoutsManufacturer
Gerber Diaper Rash Lotion 4 ozNovartis
Gerber Vapor Bath 15 ozNovartis
Johnson's Baby Oil 6.5 oz Gl/CJohnson & Johnson
Johnson's Bedtime Bath 9 ozJohnson & Johnson
Johnson's Towelettes 18 Anti/BJohnson & Johnson


Cough & cold

Sales were relatively flat again in 2000, and new products have not met manufacturers' expectations. A short cold season and more people getting flu shots will lessen sales growth in 2001. In addition, the withdrawal of items containing phenylpropanolamine will also dampen sales growth until products that contain alternative ingredients can be released.


Product standoutsManufacturer
Advil Flu & Body Ache Cap 20Whitehall-Robins
Aleve Cold & Sinus Cap 10, 20Bayer Inc.



New item activity in this category continues. In fact, for the second straight year, this category has produced "the most successful new brand." Dove's line of antiperspirants scored almost as great a triumph in 2000 as Secret Platinum in 1999. All 12 introductions are included in the deodorant planograms, while four earned places in the smallest set. And three SKUs rank within the category's top 100.


Product standoutsManufacturer
Dove A/P Invisible Solid 1.6 oz FreshUnilever
Dove A/P Invisible Solid 1.6 oz OriginalUnilever
Dove A/P Invisible Solid 1.6 oz PowderUnilever
Right Guard Xtreme A/P Solid 2.8 oz ClearGillette



This department can boast the year's second most successful introduction. The AtLast Glucose Monitoring System reached place 713 among all OTCs, while the strips broke the top 500, placing 358. The Choice DM Bar & Liquid lines also showed strong growth, with its Liquid Vanilla ranking in the top 100 of a category dominated by expensive strips and meters.  


Product standoutsManufacturer
AtLast Blood Glucose SystemAmira
AtLast Test Strips 50Amira
AtLast Lancets 100Amira
Choice DM Bars Fudge/Brownie, Peanut Butter/ChocolateBristol-Myers/Mead
Choice DM Liquid 8 oz 6 pk Chocolate, VanillaBristol Myers/Mead


Foot care

Two major introductions in 2000 significantly influenced the category. Dr. Scholl's Air Pillo Inserts for men and women ranked as three-star items in DPH&A's new-item review and have earned never-out status. Never-out products are worth carrying in even the smallest sets. Desenex Max Cream 12 g also was a big success. This product, a three-star item, currently ranks in the category's top 50.


Product standoutsManufacturer
Dr. Scholl's Advantage Sport Replacement Insole MenSchering-Plough
Dr. Scholl's Advantage Work Insoles MenSchering-Plough
Dr. Scholl's Air Pillo Insole Men, WomenSchering-Plough
J&J Band-Aid Corn Remover 6 pk RegularJohnson & Johnson
Desenex Max Cream 12 gNovartis
Lamisil AT Athlete's Foot Spray 1 ozNovartis

Hair care

The hair care category underwent major changes in 2000 as manufacturers tried to position their brands as hair-care systems. Procter & Gamble overhauled both the Pantene Pro-V and Vidal Sassoon brands to conform to this model. Of Pantene's 54 introductions, 29 were included in DPH&A planograms, with six items making it into the smallest set. Any item in this crowded category that ranks in the top 500 should be considered a success. These products, having reached the top 350, are considered stars:


Product standoutsManufacturer
Physique Amplifying Shampoo 10.2 oz VolumizingProcter & Gamble Beauty
L'Oreal Kids Tangle Tamer 9 ozL'Oreal
Infusium 23 Hair Treatment 8 oz MoisturizingBristol-Myers Squibb
Suave Gel 13 oz Light HoldUnilever
Pantene Pro-V Shampoo 13.5 oz Classically CleanProcter & Gamble Beauty
Pantene Pro-V Shampoo, Cond. 13.5 oz Smooth & SleekProcter & Gamble Beauty


Health maintenance

According to analysts at DPH&A, the best new SKU of the year was Nicoderm CQ Step 1 Patch Clear. This product ranked 320 among all OTCs. The control brand Nicotine Patch Step 1 from Novartis finished a close third, reaching 451 on the list. Year 2000 marks two years in a row that a major introduction in this category has stolen the show. Just wait—the numbers aren't in yet on Nicorette Orange.


Product standoutsManufacturer
Nicoderm CQ Steps 1, 2, 3 Patch 14 ClearSmithKline Beecham
Nicotine Steps 1, 2, 3 Patch 7, 14Novartis


Oral hygiene

The oral hygiene category saw 38 fewer introductions in 2000 than in 1999. Of the 68 introductions, only 19 made it into planograms, 12 fewer than the year before. No big stars in the category, but a few items are worth mentioning as success stories.


Product standoutsManufacturer
Colgate Sensitive Maximum Strength Toothpaste 4 ozColgate-Palmolive
Colgate 6 oz Toothpaste Sparkling White Baking SodaColgate-Palmolive
Crest Toothpaste 6 oz Multi-Care Advanced CleanProcter & Gamble Health

Skin care

Skin care introductions declined in 2000. Only 156 new items debuted, 45 fewer than a year ago. New acne treatments and moisturizing lotions did very well in the rankings. Items from Neutrogena and Stri-Dex proved popular in the acne subcategory, while Cetaphil, Vaseline Intensive Care, and Nivea brands added spark to the moisturizer subcategory.


Product standoutsManufacturer
Neutrogena On-The-Spot Acne Patch 27Neutrogena
Neutrogena Pore Refining Mattifier 1 ozNeutrogena
Nivea Lotion 6.8 oz Sheer MoisturizerBeiersdorf
Nivea Lotion 12 oz Skin FirmingBeiersdorf
Cetaphil Moisturizing Lotion 4 oz SPF 15Galderma Lab
Stri-Dex Face Wipes To Go 32Blistex
Vaseline Intensive Care 325 ml Water ResistantUnilever
Herbal Essence Lotion 8.5 oz X/DryBristol-Myers Squibb

Vitamins and supplements

For a product to be even somewhat successful in this crowded category, it must post some pretty impressive numbers. Two products really sparkled in 2000 and have broken into the top 1,000 OTCs: Viactiv Calcium Soft Chews Caramel (824) and Ocuvite Lutein Caps (802). In a category in which only 18 new items made it into planograms, these products proved themselves category heavy hitters. Glucosamine and chondroitin products also succeeded, as did soy-based products.


Product standoutsManufacturer
Nature's Bounty Glucosamine Max Tab 60Nature's Bounty
Theragran Heart Right Cap 100Bristol-Myers Squibb
Theragran M Advanced Cap 220Bristol-Myers Squibb
Viactiv Soft Chew Caramel 1, 60Bristol-Myers/Mead
Alpha Betic Multi-Vitamin Cap 30Abkit Inc.
Ocuvite Lutein Cap 36B & L


Other success stories

Visine Contact Rewetting Drops and Splenda Sweetener Packets did very well. Seasonal products, like Neutrogena Sunless Foams and Rid Lice Mousse, also were category stars. Two of the big movers in the men's grooming segment were Gillette Sensor Razor and the Schick Xtreme III Razor 4. DPH&A analysts expect another new product from this category to post huge success in 2001—Gillette's Venus for women.

End-of-year introductions

Several late introductions will significantly add to sales in 2001. Preparation-H Wipes, Chap Stick Overnight Treatment, Clerz Plus Lens Drops, Tums Calcium, and Colgate 2N1 Toothpaste/Mouthwash all have star-status potential. Yet analysts feel two new products hold the most promise:

  • Abreva Cold Sore Cream, the first OTC medicine proven to speed cold sore healing, is backed by a marketing budget of $26 million.

  • Nicorette Orange Gum. Unpleasant taste is the No. 1 one reason smokers don't use gum products. With last year's successful mint flavor, and this year's orange flavor, the category may succeed two years in a row.

Making choices

Traditionally, new items with the best chance of making a quick appearance as top sellers are those backed by strong advertising and marketing support. Staying power comes from a product's ability to keep its promises. Stay alert to changes in the market.


Line extensions and specialty products set the pace among new OTCs/HBCs in 2000.

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