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What Were France’s Biggest Self-Care Companies, Categories And Brands In 2021?

Executive Summary

France’s consumer healthcare industry association, NèreS, recently published its 2021 self-care market data. In this data-driven article, HBW Insight looks at the year’s biggest self-care companies, categories and brands.

France’s self-care market returned to growth last year, after a disappointing 2020, according to the latest data from France’s consumer healthcare industry association, NèreS.

Thanks to double-digit growth in sales of dietary supplements and self-care medical devices, as well as a return to growth in sales of OTC medicines, the market expanded by 7.1% to €3.72bn ($4.24bn). (Also see "France’s Self-Care Market 2021: Wellness Innovation Delivers ‘Exceptional Year’" - HBW Insight, 8 Feb, 2022.)


But what were the year’s biggest self-care categories, companies and brands?

In the following tables, HBW Insight dives into the top-10 French self-care, OTC medicines and dietary supplements categories and brands in 2021, as well as the top 20 consumer health companies operating in the country.


In the above table are the top-20 self-care companies operating in France by 2021 sales value. Here we can see two players, Sanofi and Boiron, clearly dominating the market, both growing fast in the year and now commanding together a market share of 15%.

Other notable success stories are P&G, Urgo, Reckitt, Nutergia and Biogaran, all growing double digits in 2021.


France’s top-10 biggest selling self-care categories, reflects, on the one hand, the return to growth of the market’s OTC medicines segment and, on the other, trends for wellness and prevention.

Digestion, pain and respiratory – the top three bestselling OTC medicines categories (see below) – all posted respectable growth in 2021 but are still lagging behind pre-COVID levels.

Sales of home-care and homeopathy products, meanwhile, saw huge increases, at 28% and 46% respectively.


France’s top growing 2021 self-care brands reflect the demand for at-home COVID-19 tests (Flowflex, AAZ, IDC and Wesail) and homeopahic products (Boiron), as well as for crtain OTC medicines (Sanofi’s fever-reducing paracetamol brand Doliprane). 


As noted above, the top-10 selling OTC medicines categories – pain, respiratory (including cough, cold and flu products) and digestion – reflect the continuity of demand for long-standing treatments for common minor ailments.

Sales of homeopathic medicines surged in 2021, growing almost 50% to €162m and sales of immunity-boosting medicines also did very well, increasing by 15.9% to €3m.

Interestingly, however, energy and tonics – a translation of “vitalité” – declined in 2021 relative to both 2020 and 2019.

This decline is primarily due to the fact that in 2020, a number of Bayer’s Berocca effervescent vitamin and mineral products were categorised as medicines and in 2021, all Berocca products became food supplements, NèreS explained.


The table below, therefore, shows that, while OTC energy and tonics sales plunged, on the supplements side, sales of these products jumped up by 26% to €150m in 2021.


This is also reflected in the top growing food supplement brands, with Bayer’s Berocca dominating supplement growth in France in 2021, with sales increasing by €25m in the twelve months.


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