Dietary supplements are taking the U.S. by storm. But supplements aren’t just a fad in one part of the world; every corner of the globe is learning about the benefits of supplements and bringing them into their health routine.
Experts predict that the global supplement industry isn’t done growing yet. Zion Market Research estimates the industry’s value will hit $220.3 billion in 2022 (up from $132.8 billion in 2016.) This isn’t just the work of one country.
Here’s how people around the world are using dietary supplements, and how these trends differ from country to country.
Let’s start with the good old United States. American is not always portrayed as the slimmest country, but we are certainly the most wellness crazed. The U.S. is the world leader in using dietary supplements to enhance the results of a healthy diet and exercise routine.
The U.S. has seen steady growth in its supplement use over the past decade. While a significant number of adults have always taken supplements (64% of adults took them in 2008), a whopping 76% of U.S. adults now take supplements. That’s at least three out of every four Americans.
Almost all supplement users take vitamins and minerals, but Americans also purchase:
- Specialty supplements (49% of supplement users take probiotics, fiber, melatonin, etc.)
- Herbal and botanicals (39% of supplement users take green tea extract, cranberry, etc.)
- Sports nutrition supplements (29% of supplement users use protein products, energy drinks, etc.)
- Weight management supplements (19% of supplement users use weight-loss protein products, garcinia, etc.)
Supplement sales increased by more than 30% in Australia from 2014 to 2016. The most popular supplements are typically vitamins or single ingredients, including cranberry or St. John’s wort. This could be explained by a general concern with trusting supplements and the truth behind the advertised effects.
This concern does seem to be receding, as more information about the benefit of vitamins and minerals is becoming available online for Aussies everywhere. More than 60% of Australians are currently taking at least one supplement to enhance their diet.
In New Zealand, natural health products are the second-most purchased non-food item at the grocery store. (The first is toilet paper.) Kiwis purchase supplements for a variety of reasons, including joint health, immune system health and muscle relief.
While sales of specific items are plummeting in New Zealand due to environmental concerns, the industry as a whole is still afloat and adding to its global growth.
The United Kingdom is on the supplement train, as well. While more than 65% of adults in the U.K. take dietary supplements at least once a year; 46% take them every single day. In 2015, Brits bought more than £414 million ($550 million) worth of vitamins and supplements.
If the U.K. is seeing a rise in supplements, the rest of Europe is booming. A recent study conducted by Fundación para la Investigación Nutricional and the University of Surrey surveyed six European countries, including the U.K., Germany, Italy and Spain. Supplement use was most prevalent in Italy. In 2015, Italy’s supplement industry is valued at €1.4 billion ($1.63 billion.)
Behind Italy is Russia, with a supplement industry valued at €887.7 million ($1.03 billion). Other European countries with major supplement use include Germany (the United Kingdom is trailing Germany by around €200 million), France, Poland and Norway.
While plant-based dietary supplements are on the rise, Europeans have specific habits. Most of these supplements were taken to remedy a cold or a flare-up, and use isn’t spread out among too many products. More than 80% of Europeans surveyed only took one product to supplement their diet, and over half of these products consisted of one ingredient.
Saudi Arabia has seen significant growth in supplement use, especially among women. A study from King Saud University predicted that supplement use has grown at least 75% among women in the past two decades. While the most-used supplements in Saudi Arabia include multivitamins and omega-3s, other supplements mentioned in the survey were taken for cosmetic reasons, including the maintenance of healthy hair.
But the fascination with dietary supplements isn’t limited to the Western world. Southeast Asia is projected to be the biggest growth opportunity for the market, with more consumers than ever flocking to supplements to enhance their health and beauty. Leaders in the health and supplement industries predict that Southeast Asia will continue to see steady growth in supplement sales for the next three to five years—making supplements a true global phenomenon.