Which factors drive product sales in OTC markets?

Monika Huber (GfK SE Healthcare, Nuremberg, Germany)
Katrin Dippold (GfK SE Healthcare, Nuremberg, Germany)
Rudolf Forsthofer (GfK SE Healthcare, Nuremberg, Germany)

International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing

ISSN: 1750-6123

Publication date: 23 November 2012



The purpose of this paper is to determine sales drivers for different OTC product categories.


The study uses data from both consumer and retail panels, which are gathered for various product categories. These long‐term data are analyzed per product category with two specific regression models, mainly time‐series analysis with VAR models and Shapley value regression.


It is found that purchase intention drives sales a lot in general. Besides, it is very important to distinguish seasonal vs non‐seasonal markets. The trend coefficient, which implies the stage of maturity of the market, indicates more or less saturated markets for the examples. The proposed models can be easily applied to different OTC categories without a lot of customization.

Research limitations/implications

The study does not take into account different outlets (e.g. online, supermarkets) and does not estimate interaction effects between the single drivers.

Practical implications

The paper provides the market researcher with a guideline on how to proceed to model OTC product categories, e.g. which data are to be used, which models are to be estimated, which conclusions can be drawn.


The study develops an analysis approach which is readily applicable to different OTC product categories, which exhibit very distinct market characteristics. The advantage of this approach is that it applies a standardized tool kit of methods to analyze highly varying markets.



Huber, M., Dippold, K. and Forsthofer, R. (2012), "Which factors drive product sales in OTC markets?", International Journal of Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Marketing, Vol. 6 No. 4, pp. 291-309. https://doi.org/10.1108/17506121211283208

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Copyright © 2012, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

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