With the convenience of 2-day shipping and a huge product selection, Amazon is many shoppers’ first stop when they need to purchase something. Basic necessities — from toilet paper to protein powder — are no exception.
In 2018, health-related subcategories like health care and nutrition were the main drivers of growth, with an increase in sales of 55% and 50% year-over-year respectively.
With high-profit margins and a wide range of products, many sellers see the Health & Personal Care category as a great opportunity to turn a profit.
Here’s what you should know before you take that leap.
What is the Health & Personal Care category?
If the phrase Health & Personal Care sounds incredibly broad, that’s because it is. On Amazon, this product category ranges from essential oil to fabric softener.
The subdivisions under Health & Personal Care include:
- Household Supplies
- Baby & Child Care
- Vitamins & Dietary Supplements
- Sports Nutrition
- Health Care
- Medical Supplies & Equipment
- Sexual Wellness
Each of these subdivisions has several subcategories of its own. Amazon also highlights featured categories such as Earth Friendly, FSA Eligible Products, and products available through Prime Pantry or Subscribe & Save options.
Health & Personal Care bestsellers
At the time of writing, the current bestsellers in Health & Personal Care include both Amazon’s own brands and top name brands:
- AA batteries (Amazon Basics)
- Paper towel (Bounty)
- AAA batteries (Amazon Basics)
- Paper towel (Bounty)
- Flushable wipes (Cottonelle)
- Toilet paper (Charmin)
- Disinfecting wipes (Clorox)
- Paper towel (Presto!, an Amazon brand)
- Dishwasher detergent (Cascade)
- Laundry detergent packs (Tide)
While this list changes hourly, we can infer two things:
- People buy a lot of paper towel.
- Amazon’s private label brands are competitive, even in a category where many customers feel loyal to name brands.
Amazon’s private label products
Amazon has four private label brands dedicated to the Health and Personal Care category:
- Presto: Household consumables such as paper products
- Basic Care: Over-the-counter medication
- Mama Bear: Baby care
- Mountain Falls: Personal care items such as body wash, shampoos, and hand sanitizer
As seen in the bestsellers list above, AmazonBasics also makes an appearance with private label batteries. Amazon’s original private label also offers lightbulbs, cleaning cloths, a medicine ball, plastic cutlery, trash bags, and more.
This is good news for frugal customers, but can be frustrating for sellers — competing directly with AmazonBasics makes it harder to get your product in front of customers and win the coveted “Best Seller” or “Amazon’s Choice” designations.
The Health & Personal Care industry
Now that we know what this category looks like on Amazon, let’s zoom out and consider the industry as a whole.
Because this product category is so broad, it spans several industries, including household supplies, baby and child care, vitamins and supplements, health care, medical supplies, sexual wellness, and sports nutrition.
While each of these industries has its own competitive landscape, here’s a snapshot of how some are performing:
- Medicine, vitamins, minerals, or supplements is the second most digitally purchased product category by US internet users, according to a study by Bizrate Insights.
- The same study found personal care and hygiene (27.4%) and cosmetics and fragrances (24.8%) to be the next most popular digital categories.
- The health, personal care, and beauty category grew 16.3% year-over-year in ecommerce sales from February 2018 to February 2019.
- Over-the-counter medication sales in the US reached $34.3 billion in 2017. Over 25% of that revenue was generated through ecommerce sales.
- By 2023, 16% of total revenue in the Home & Laundry Care market will be generated through online sales.
Overall, this is a huge market with a lot of opportunities — and a lot of competition, especially as ecommerce sales continue to increase in these categories both on Amazon and elsewhere online.
Selling in the Health & Personal Care category
On the surface, high-profit margins and the inherent credibility of Amazon make the Health & Personal Care category seem like a goldmine for sellers.
However, maintaining that credibility — especially in highly-regulated categories like over-the-counter medications and medical equipment — means stringent requirements.
In early 2017, Amazon introduced new requirements for sellers in the Health & Personal Care category, citing “customer concerns about product quality, product branding, and consumer safety.”
Sellers must follow these requirements to be “ungated” and allowed to sell on the platform:
Must be enrolled in the Professional seller plan with the following metrics:
- Less than 1% order defect rate
- Less than 2.5% pre-fulfillment cancel rate
- Less than 4% late shipment rate
Product Requirements for Health and Personal Care:
- Must provide “documentation” from manufacturer
- Three invoices from a manufacturer (not a wholesaler)
- Proven purchase of at least 10-30 units within a 90-day time period (from the day you apply to get ungated)
- Products must be listed under manufacturer’s UPC
- Products must be “new”
- Product listings should include:
- Image of packaging (showing ingredients/nutritional facts)
- Ingredients listed in Inventory File Template
Oh, by the way: The ungating process can take up to six months (and a significant upfront investment).
While these requirements may seem intense, they also give sellers lucky enough to be “ungated” a level of inherent credibility.
This makes Amazon more like a traditional drugstore or big box store, such as Walmart, Walgreens, Target, and CVS; if you wouldn’t find it on a shelf there, it’s relatively unlikely you’ll find it in the Health & Personal Care category on Amazon.
And they’re keeping up with the competition: In 2018, Health & Personal Care sales on Amazon made up 44.3% of total ecommerce sales of health, personal care, and beauty products in the US. Clearly, their strategy for this category is working.
Successful Brands Selling on Amazon: BioGanix
If you are actively selling products in the Amazon Health and Personal Care category, you’ve probably noticed an increase in competition, not to mention the fact it’s now much harder for new sellers to get access than it was 4 or 5 years ago.
So, how can supplement sellers differentiate themselves in one of the most competitive categories on the Marketplace?
According to Abis Hussain, Senior Marketing Officer at Relevium Technologies Inc. implementing Enhanced Brand Content and building an Amazon Store was critical for the success of BioGanix on the Marketplace.
Today, BioGanix currently offers 35 dietary supplement products and is considered one the best-selling products in the Health and Personal Care category on Amazon.
For more information on selling in the Health & Personal Category on Amazon, email [email protected]