There’s no denying that the supplement industry is enjoying a major boom, partly due to widening demographics that are making once-specialty formulas accessible to everyday consumers. From sports supplements to vitamins and minerals to beauty supplements, the “supplement” label is ever expanding.
Over the last two decades, the National Institutes of Health has spent $2.4 billion studying vitamins and minerals. Both academia and market researchers are churning out new information on the industry almost as quickly as manufacturers are churning out new products.
In the sea of information that is the worldwide web, here’s a definitive list of supplement industry statistics to help get a better understanding of this ever-growing market.
Who’s taking supplements?
The Council for Responsible Nutrition (CRN) puts out an annual Survey on Dietary Supplements that tracks consumer behaviors related to supplements. Here’s a quick summary of key findings from 2017, the most recently released study, and a few from the 2016 CRN study.
- 76% of U.S. adults—roughly 170 million—take dietary supplements. That’s a 12% increase from 2008.
- In 2016, dietary supplement use levels are about 70% for both adults aged 18–34 and those aged 35–54, representing an increase in younger supplement takers from 2015 data. In 2017, use in all three major age groups rose. 80% of adults 55+, 75% of adults 35-54 and 74% of adults 18-34 reported using dietary supplements.
Other polls, studies and statistics on who’s taking supplements:
- A 2013 Gallup poll found that 68% of Americans aged 65+ take supplements.
- A Journal of Nutrition study published in 2017 found that 29% of older U.S. adults take four or more supplements regularly.
What kind of supplements are people taking?
In the 2017 CRN study, the top reported reason for taking supplements was for health and wellness. But 30% said they took supplements for energy, pegging it as the second-highest response. Coming in third? To fill nutrient gaps.
- The five most common supplements taken by supplement users were multivitamins (75%), Vitamin D (37%), Vitamin C (34%), calcium (29%) and B complex (24%).
- The most popular supplement categories were vitamins/minerals, followed by specialty supplements (38%), herbals/botanicals (29%), sports nutrition (22%) and weight management (15%).
- 98% of the study’s supplement users have taken vitamins and minerals in the last 12 months; 73% have used multivitamins. 49% took specialty supplements, 34% took Vitamin C, 29% took sports nutrition supplements and 15% took protein powder.
Here are some of the study’s key statistics on the sports nutrition and fitness supplement space:
- Within the sports nutrition category, the most popular products were related to protein. Overall, 19% took protein powders, drinks and bars; 12% took energy drinks and gels; 8% took hydration drinks or gels; 6% took creatine; 6% took amino acids; and 5% reported using recovery powders or drinks.
- 13% of male supplement users from the CRN 2016 study reported that they took creatine, compared to just 3% of women in the study.
- 69% of the 2017 study’s supplement users exercises regularly, compared to 59% of non-supplement users.
- Among men supplement users, protein powders were the fourth most popular category, with 24% reporting having taken the supplement within the last 12 months.
Where do people buy their supplements?
One of the CRN study’s key findings was an increasing confidence in the supplement market. 85% of respondents said they were confident overall in supplement safety, quality and effectiveness; that’s among supplement users and non-users alike.
- 42% purchased supplements from mass merchandisers; 17% purchased them on the internet.
- 56% trust medical doctors for reliable information on dietary supplements, while 42% trust nutritionists and 40% follow their pharmacist’s advice on supplements.
Supplement market size statistics
In addition to surveys, research studies and public polls, a number of market research groups are closely tracking the growth of the supplement sector. Here are some of the key statistics to keep in mind.
- The global dietary supplement market is predicted to hit $278 billion by 2024, according to Grand View Research.
- Sports nutrition represented 12.7% of global dietary supplements market volume in 2016.
- Asia Pacific is expected to enjoy the fastest growth, at an annual growth rate of 11.2% between 2016 and 2024.
- The global sports nutrition market was valued at $28.37 billion in 2016 and is predicted to hit $45.27 billion by 2022.
- The global protein supplements market is expected to reach $21.5 billion by 2025.
- The market for probiotic supplements alone was valued at $1.41 billion in 2014.
- Vitamin D blood tests surged along with demand for this supplement. The number of these tests among people 65+ increased 83 fold between 2000 and 2010.
- Turmeric, one of the most popular supplements of the last few years, experienced a 118% growth in the mass channel and 32% within the natural channel in 2015. Sales exceeded $50 million.
- The global market for beauty supplements is projected to hit $7.1 billion by 2023.
Consumer confidence and use of supplements is growing rapidly. But with more brands hitting the market every day—and no FDA oversight to regulate quality—it’s more important than ever to do your due diligence. If you’re one of the millions who uses protein supplements to boost your performance and reach your health goals, check out these top-rated protein powders.