The Irish ear care market increased by 2% in current value terms in 2012. Growth in 2012 was significantly lower than that seen since 2008. The increasingly austere economic conditions experienced from 2008 onwards resulted in consumers making far fewer non-essential purchases, as well as actively seeking out less expensive alternatives.
The changes in Ireland's financial fortunes also led to a return to previously held social values of frugality, either through choice or necessity.
Ear care in Ireland remains largely underdeveloped, due in large part to consumers' reliance on home remedies for the treatment of ear wax, with olive oil often favoured as a means to loosen built-up ear wax. Despite advice from medical professionals and manufacturers alike, many Irish consumers continue to rely on cotton buds to maintain the cleanliness of the ear canal.
More serious or painful conditions, such as swimmer's ear and other ear infections, are most often treated either with antibiotics following a visit to a GP, or with the assistance of analgesics until the infection has begun to improve and the pain subsides.
Unit prices in general remained unchanged, with little or no discounting or promotional activity. Products tend to be held behind the counter, and are available for the most part through chemists/pharmacies.
The majority of consumers feel most comfortable obtaining products from this source, as it allows them the opportunity to discuss their symptoms with a healthcare professional, who is in a position to offer the product most suitable to their needs.
Lab led the Irish ear care market in 2012 with a 47% value share with its Cerumol brand. Cerumol is often recommended by GPs to patients presenting with problems associated with ear wax build-up.
Rowex continued to see a small increase in share with the Tropex brand, reaching a 25% share in 2012. The company continues to generate interest in a variety of categories with its lower-priced, generic products.
Without large-scale investment in new product development or a change in attitudes amongst consumers in relation to ear care products, it is unlikely that the category will develop further through to 2017.
For more information on the Irish ear care market, see the latest research: Irish Ear Care Market
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