What you need to know

US sales of cough, cold, flu, and allergy remedies grew substantially in 2015 largely due to the Rx-to-OTC switch of Flonase, a nasal allergy medication. A moderately severe flu season, coupled with a relatively ineffective flu vaccine, contributed to growth in the market. Households with children are a strong opportunity for brand marketers as these consumers have the highest incidence of illness and are likely to purchase the most remedies.


This Report covers remedies that can be purchased over the counter without a prescription to relieve symptoms of colds, flu, allergies, sore throat, coughs, and congestion. For the purposes of this Report, Mintel has used the following definitions:

  • Cold, flu, and sinus remedies, including tablets, capsules, liquids, powders, and hot drinks for treating cold/flu and/or nasal and chest congestion. Nasal remedies include nasal strips and aspirators.

  • Cough/throat remedies, including cough/sore throat drops and cough syrups/sore throat liquids medicine.

  • Allergy remedies, including tablets, capsules, liquids, powders, and nasal sprays.

Sales of herbal and homeopathic medicines are discussed in this Report, including sales data from SPINS covering natural-channel supermarkets.

However, the market size is not inclusive of all herbal and homeopathic remedies used for treatment of cough, cold, flu, and allergy medicines, in part because many natural supplements are not labeled for specific medical conditions. The market size does cover sales of those herbal and homeopathic brands, such as Zicam, that are most likely to be found in mainstream retailers and can be identified as intended for use for the conditions discussed in this Report.

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