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Belgium eye care market: Dominated by international brands and manufacturers
Eye Care in Belgium - a new market research report on 2014-04-18 15:13:03
The competitive landscape in the Belgium eye care market is concentrated in terms of players, but fragmented in terms of brands. It was almost exclusively in the hands of international brands and manufacturers in 2012. Six companies held shares over 5% – Théa Pharma, Viatris, Pfizer Consumer Healthcare, Leo Pharmaceutical Products, Alcon-Couvreur and Novartis Consumer Health, however, Théa Pharma clearly maintained its lead with a share of over 17% in 2012. Following its introduction just prior to the review period, Hyabak from Théa Pharma became the brand leader in 2006, and forged ahead during the bulk of the review period. Although Hyabak lost ground to Optive in 2008, it countered with an aggressive promotional campaign over 2010-2011, which enabled it to continue to gain share in 2012.

Sales of eye care products are usually dynamic, but were dampened by two negative factors in 2012. First, the category was in indirect competition with increasingly successful eye care supplements such as Préservision 3 from Bausch & Lomb and Nutrof Omega by Théa Pharma. Then, due to the climatic conditions in the spring and summer, allergy eye care often experiences irregular sales, with frequent peaks and troughs. Again in 2012, cases of conjunctivitis were rare during the wet spring and summer, which limited the distribution of pollen. As a result, allergy eye declined by 2% in current value terms in 2012.

Despite their efforts, manufacturers have increasing doubts regarding the capacity of Belgian consumers to self-medicate in the area of eye care. Belgians accept directly buying vitamins, dietary supplements or cough, cold and allergy remedies when they are tired, stressed or have a cold. Nonetheless, only a minority will purchase for the first time a brand in eye care without advice or a prescription from their ophthalmologist. Once the product has been prescribed once, they directly purchase it from pharmacists on an OTC basis. European deregulation enabled artificial tears to be sold through outlets other than chemists/pharmacies during the review period in Belgium. However, Belgians still depend on advice from chemists/pharmacists, and thus sales have not taken off in parapharmacies/drugstores or supermarkets.

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