Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Global Trends and Healthcare Goods

It is very interesting to read an article like "Trends that Will Shape the Consumer Goods Industry" and understand the many global causes that will effect the consumer healthcare business.  Food companies have identified various global trends, including increased numbers of global buyers and supply chain modernization and scalability to strategically increase the food products that are sold nd related margins.  Specifically, companies within this food industry have seized upon global trends to make strategic business decisions that led to increased food choices, expanded food vertical food markets and region-specific food choices.  This growth in packaged foods, cola sales, fast food choices and non-perishable items will ultimately effect global trends in healthcare as well.

Global healthcare trends show that the population is aging, growing more obese, choosing processed foods over fresh options and experiencing high stress levels.  This will have an effect on the health of citizens around the world and consumer healthcare companies will be in a great position to capitalize on this trend.  For example, probiotics is a consumer healthcare product that can be used to promote better digestion and enhance 'good' bacteria that is otherwise destroyed with the use of antibiotics.  This product will be in higher demand as people experience higher rates of stomach and intestinal issues that result from the higher prevalence of non-healthy food options.

Increasing sales of probiotics in the U.S.

Likewise, a company like J&J that has a diverse portfolio of consumer healthcare products may choose to alter its portfolio mix in certain countries to reflect global trends.  For example, the U.S. is predicted to experience a decline in births due to economic conditions that reduce incentives to have multiple children. 


Therefore, J&J may want to alter its Baby Care consumer healthcare goods in response to this trend.  Alternatively, the U.S. is experiencing an aging of its society.  As such, J&J may choose to increase its marketing and R&D efforts in its Skin and Hair Care consumer healthcare line.  These strategies reflect necessary business responses to macro-trends.

It is evident that global trends do not often result in obvious strategic business decisions.  For example, it is not obvious that economic slowdowns should lead to a decline in baby oil, but these indirect effects are important to identify in order to take advantage of global trends.  Therefore, it is important to ask, 'are global trends consistent across countries necessitating coordinated strategic responses?'  and 'what are the indirect or unintended results of certain global trends that may necessitate strategic responses in business strategies?'  

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