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Nielsen: Taiwan Consumers Spent NTD 1.35 Billion on Gastrointestinal OTC a Year

3 minute read | October 2016

Close to half (47%) of the respondents in Nielsen’s new Over the Counter (OTC) Usage Behaviors Report have had gastrointestinal issues in the past 12 months; the proportion of females (55%) is greater than that of males (45%) when speaking of those with the syndromes. The survey was conducted in May, 2016 and included 1,006 aged 18 to 54 respondents. Compared to other consumer segments, aged 35 to 44, employed consumers had a higher percentage of suffering from gastrointestinal issues in the past one year with thirty-three percent. “This may be relevant to work stress and more socializing occasions,” said Spencer Hung, senior director, Industry Research, Nielsen Taiwan.

The Nielsen OTC Usage Behaviors Study reveals that close to half (49%) respondents would see doctor while one-third (33%) prefer to buy OTC. The reasons for choosing OTC were: mild symptoms (65%)”, followed by OTC medication already stored in the household (51%) and because OTC medication saves a trip to the hospital or clinic (40%).

The gastrointestinal OTC market indeed is full of potential. According to Nielsen Retail Measurement Services (RMS), consumers in Taiwan have spent 1.35 billion NTD totally on gastrointestinal OTC in the latest MAT till August 2016. This means Taiwanese consumers have taken 185 tons of gastrointestinal medicine powder and swallowed 360 millions of gastrointestinal tablets in the past year. Nielsen Retail Measurement Services includes pharmacies, personal care stores and hypermarkets for gastrointestinal OTC category but exclude prescription drugs.

To know more about The Nielsen OTC Usage Behaviors Study on the gastrointestinal OTC market, please click “download”.


Six types of prescription drugs are included in Nielsen OTC Usage Behaviors Study: the cold medicine, painkillers, pain relievers, gastrointestinal drugs, eye drops, and medicines for mold. This research was conducted via online interviews held since May 19th till May 30th, 2016, with respondents composed of people aged 18 to 54, living in Taiwan (excluding the eastern areas and surrounding islands); they were also required to have had conditions including cold/ pain/ sore/ stomachache/ eye discomfort/ athlete’s foot/ onychomycosis during the past 12 months, and have purchased correspondent medications during the past 6 months. The number of valid samples retrieved was 1,006 in total, and the sampling error was ±3.15%.

Nielsen Retail Measurement Services, launched in 1987, is the only method in the country used for tracking FMCG sales to help customers measure their sales performances on a continuous basis, as well as grasping circulation dynamics and promotional prices of relevant industries and products of relevant categories, so that to further develop strategies for sales performance growth via exchanging POS sales data obtained all major FMCG retailing channels, including CVS (convenience stores), hypermarkets, supermarkets, personal care stores, and chain pharmacies. Currently, more than 160 food and commodity categories are monitored via the Nielsen’s Retail Measurement Service, including prescription drugs.

Nielsen Holdings plc (NYSE: NLSN) is a global performance management company that provides a comprehensive understanding of what consumers Watch and Buy. The Company’s Watch segment provides media and advertising clients with Nielsen Total Audience measurement services across all devices where content—video, audio and text—is consumed. The Buy segment offers consumer packaged goods manufacturers and retailers the industry’s only global view of retail performance measurement. By integrating information from its Watch and Buy segments and other data sources, Nielsen provides its clients with both world-class measurement as well as analytics that help improve performance. Nielsen, an S&P 500 company, has operations in over 100 countries that cover more than 90% of the world’s population. For more information, visit

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