What you need to know

The majority of adults (84%) have experienced some kind of cold, cough, flu, allergy, or related symptom in the past 12 months. Over-the-counter remedies are the most common method for treating these ailments. Yet, after achieving 25% growth from 2013-17, category sales softened in 2018. Mintel’s forecast calls for a gain of 10% between 2018 and 2023 to nearly $10.5 billion as a variety of treatment methods are adopted. Specifically, interest in natural, botanical/herbal, homeopathic, and free-from remedies could bolster sales growth moving forward.


This Report covers remedies that can be purchased OTC (over-the-counter) without a prescription to relieve symptoms of colds, flu, allergies, sore throat, coughs, and congestion.

  • 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; cough syrups/sore throat liquid medicine.

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

The market size is not inclusive of all herbal and homeopathic remedies used for treatment of cough, cold, flu, and allergy, in part because many natural supplements are not labelled 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. Sales of herbal and homeopathic medicines are discussed in this Report, however.

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