The winter remedies market is worth £198.7m, and experienced a growth of 3.5% from the previous year after a substantial decline of nearly 8% the year before. The category is growing ahead of over the counter (OTC) healthcare, which is in 2.6% growth year-on-year.

There are four sectors within this market that cover the various antidotes for winter ailments: cold treatments, decongestants, cough liquids and cough/throat lozenges.

Cold treatments and decongestants are in growth, up 5.6% and 19.4% in value respectively, while cough liquids and cough/throat lozenges have experienced decline during the past year.

Decongestants showed the strongest growth after suffering a huge decline in the previous year. Premium product launches such as Vicks First Defence and Sudafed Plug in Vapouriser contributed significantly to this turnaround.

The main factors behind the growth in winter remedies has been an increase in purchase frequency and in the average amount paid for these remedies.

The average price for each pack was up 1.3% on the preceding year.

This was driven by the launch of branded premium products, as well as by a price stability in the own label remedy area.

Multiple grocers experienced the highest growth in winter remedies while specialised stores such as Boots and Superdrug declined in this category.

Boots has the biggest share of the market, with 23.3% ahead of Tesco at 20.9%.

Sainsbury's, the third largest retailer in the market, has almost half of the share of the top two, with 10.7% of the sales.

One reason for the good growth in the multiple grocers is that many of the most successful products are now sold on a General Sales Licence, and therefore do not need to be dispensed by a pharmacist.

People suffering from the symptoms of a cold are buying their remedies as part of their main grocery shop rather than making a special destination trip to either a chemist or a local shop.

The appearance of Tesco's own label in the top ten winter remedies brands proves that the supermarket has benefited significantly from this trend.

Andre Gersdorf, TNS Worldpanel