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Supplements Sales in 2018: Is the future digital?

Last updated: February-1,2021

Supplements Sales in 2018: Is the future digital?

Technology - whether we're talking about the latest smartphone, social app, or digital breakthrough - has worked its way into almost every aspect of modern day living. Heck, for most of us it's difficult (if not impossible) to even imagine daily life without the gadgets and services we've come to know and love.

For better or worse, technology has changed the way that we as humans approach almost everything - including our health, our social lives, and the way we shop.

Dietary Supplements in the Digital Age

We're living in a moment where for many of us (especially in the US), it's easier than it's ever been to gain access to information about almost anything.

For many of us, learning more about a new supplement, diet, or exercise routine means turning to the internet and our favorite fitness or food blogger (and occasionally we'll reach out to a properly qualified human being - like a doctor or certified nutritionist).

From start to finish, almost every step of the average supplement buyer's journey takes place online or with the help of digital resources.

Looking back at 2017 (and thinking ahead to what's in store for the remainder of 2018), let's take a closer look at a key digital "power player" responsible for shaping today's (increasingly) digitally nutraceutical marketplace.


Coming in as 2017's (and 2016's, and 2015's...) undisputed champion of all things e-commerce, Amazon has made a name and digital empire for itself as a global powerhouse.

One estimate from the beginning of Q4 2017 anticipated that Amazon purchases could account for as much as 44 cents of every e-commerce dollar spent in the US in 2017.

At last check (which was about an hour before this post was published), keying "dietary supplement" into the Amazon search box returns more than 60,000 results.

The Amazon supplement marketplace has exploded in recent years. For many supplement companies - be they larger or small, established or just starting out, getting their product(s) into the Amazon Marketplace has opened up a wealth of new opportunities.

Even for companies with products that aren't ready for Amazon, or that feel Amazon may not be the best fit, it's become increasingly difficult to start any kind of business in 2018 withouthe help of a strong digital presence and e-commerce options.

Online Sales in the US in 2017

As a recent article from Practical Ecommerce pointed out, data provided by the research firm eMarketer reported that online sales in the US grew by 15.8 percent in 2017 - this translated to an estimated 2017 total online spend of nearly $453 billion.

A different market research firm, Statista, projects that e-commerce will comprise 15.5 percent of all global retail sales by 2021 (which given how quickly 2017 flew by, isn't very far away).

No matter which way you slice it, the future for supplement brands and retailers (and for businesses that sell just about anything) the future is going to be a digital one.

While we're likely still decades away from a fully digital marketplace, if 2018 plays out even a little like 2017, all signs point to even more digital supplement sales.

Looking to the Year Ahead

At 11 days into the month, 2018 has just begun. In the year ahead we're sure to see more advances and breakthroughs in digital and social tech. The question becomes - which breakthrough will change the dietary supplement industry next? What do you think?

January 11th, 2018

About the Author:

Vincent Tricarico

Vincent Tricarico is currently the Vice President of Contract Manufacturing at NutraScience Labs. With nearly 20 years of direct-to-consumer and business-to-business experience, Mr. Tricarico is a respected executive in the dietary supplement industry and is well-known for his ability to consistently build and grow successful teams that produce results. Over the years, his work has been published in many industry trade publications, such as Natural Products Insider, Nutritional Outlook, and WholeFoods Magazine.