Looking Deeper Into the Bone and Joint Health Categories

This article was originally published in Natural Products Insider’s digital magazine as a joint piece between ClearCut Analytics’ Dan Harari and Informa’s Steve Myers.

Given the related two categories have historically been dominated by slower-acting ingredients such as glucosamine, chondroitin, calcium and vitamin D, joint and bone health supplement growth rates have matched their maintenance activity mechanisms: slow.

These markets did not see a huge bump during the pandemic, as did immune health. Nutrition Business Journal (NBJ) logged a faint 0.5% compound annual growth rate (CAGR) in 2020 for joint supplements in the U.S., down from 2.4% in 2019. However, NBJ projected a 5.5% growth rate through 2023 to bring this market to US$2.3 billion.

The U.S. holds the biggest share of the global joint supplements market, although China is the fastest grower and is predicted to ride 9% CAGR to reach $3.1 billion by 2027, according to Global Industry Analysts. The market research firm reported the overall global joint health market should see growth of 6.4% through 2027 to reach $9.5 billion. The market for bone supplements is expected to see a 5% CAGR globally during this period, but when combined, the bone and joint supplement market should grow 5.8% and hit $14.7 billion worldwide by 2027, up from $9.9 billion in 2020.

In its recent “2021 Condition Specific Report”, NBJ estimated bone health held a 4.1% market share of the 2020 U.S. supplements market, slightly ahead of joint health’s 3.9% share.

One bright growth area of the dietary supplement market is sports nutrition, as Innova Market Insights reported joint health was the second-highest growth area for benefit claims from 2015 to 2019, with a CAGR of at least 60%.

Looking at one of the biggest U.S. retailers of dietary supplements, Amazon, ClearCut Analytics found the joint health supplement category logged 51% year-over-year (YoY) growth from June 1, 2020 to May 31, 2021. However, the average price in this category ($24.79) remained relatively flat during this period, compared to the prior 12-month period ($24.32).

This category at Amazon focuses on supplement complexes targeted toward joint health, including any collagen, turmeric, glucosamine and chondroitin products marketed for joint health/support. One look at the most recent top five joint supplements by sales reveals the collagen buzz is translating to sales and curcumin/turmeric is a popular anti-inflammatory for joint health consumers.

The top three joint supplements belong to the top three brands in this Amazon category—Vital Proteins, BioSchwartz, LiveWell Labs Nutrition (Live Conscious)—with Qunol and Osteo-Bi-Flex rounding out the rankings. Looking slightly wider, the top 10 joint supplement brands held 41% of this Amazon category in the 12 months ended May 31, 2021.

Further, the top five joint supplements at Amazon reflect the top two delivery methods by market share. Capsules held a 32% market share in the recent 12-month period, while powders came in second with 18%. Powdered supplements were near the top of delivery method growth during the period (72%), bested only by softgels (82%), which still hold only a slim 3% market share of the category.