What you need to know

Since the start of COVID-19, more adults report experiencing an increase in digestive health concerns, indicating greater need for symptom relief remedies. Yet, even with more digestive problems, the majority of consumers feel digestive discomfort is manageable without medication, suggesting the OTC remedy market will remain relatively stable amidst the rise in symptoms.

Heightened category sales in the re-emergence phase will be a result of mounting consumer interest in multi-functional health benefits related to gut health. Adults have built the understanding that maintaining a healthy gut microbiome is beneficial to overall wellbeing, but more recently, consumers are connecting gut health to immune system strength. Because COVID-19 threatens the health of Americans and treatment is still unknown, adults are seeking ways to improve their ability to fight illness and germs through simple health measures. Straightforward behaviors to achieve wellness goals, such as adding a multi-functional OTC digestive health supplement to daily routines, will be valued in order to gain control of personal health safety.

Key issues covered in this Report

  • The impact of COVID-19 on consumer behavior and OTC digestive health products.

  • Recessionary spending may increase purchasing of store brands.

  • Increased stress has heighted incidence of digestive health concerns.

  • Multi-functional health benefits will drive category innovation.

This Report was written August 1-10, 2020.


This Report focuses on products marketed for digestive health or digestive relief that are available OTC/without a prescription. For the purposes of this Report, the digestive health market has been segmented as follows:

Antacids: Products that neutralize excess stomach acid and relieve heartburn, sour stomach, or acid indigestion. These include:

  • PPIs (proton pump inhibitors): Products that reduce the production of acid by blocking the enzyme in the wall of the stomach that produces acid.

  • H2 blockers: Products that reduce or inhibit the secretion of gastric acid by binding competitively with histamine to H2 receptors on cell membranes.

  • Antiflatulents: Products that help reduce gas buildup and its associated discomfort.

Laxatives: Products that relieve constipation and work in one of several ways: by introducing fiber to the bowel, stimulating the bowel, or softening stools.

Stomach remedies and antidiarrheals: Products that relieve general nausea and settle the stomach, and products that slow spasms of the intestine and thicken stool.

The following items are excluded from the scope of this Report: enemas, lactose-intolerance medications, emetics/antiemetics, probiotic supplements and home remedies.

Consumer use of/attitudes and behaviors toward OTC dietary supplements with digestive health benefits (eg probiotics, fiber supplements) are discussed within this Report.

Back to top