Shopper Insights

Hall's Vs. Ricola: Battle of the Cough Drops

Lost in the Aisles

Hall's stocking struggles...

The Insight

As cold & flu season descends upon us, families start stocking up on their go-to cough drop brands like Halls. But recently, the iconic brand has been stumbling in the eyes of consumers and reviewers. While Halls Cough Drops’ efficacy remains largely unquestioned, with a high positive sentiment score, Yogi data reveals that it isn't the product's performance but its availability and packaging that have left consumers frustrated. The brand has seen a decline from a healthy 4.6 star average rating in 2019 to a still good but deflated 4.3 stars in 2023.

But what's causing this decline? Consumers are complaining that the products are “hard to find” in brick-and-mortar stores, leading many to replenish their supply online. However, this move to eCommerce hasn't been without its challenges - damaged boxes, loose wrappers, and stock shortages on Amazon have compounded the complaints. Furthermore, a small yet significant subset of consumers are alarmed by the use of artificial sweeteners like aspartame in sugar-free variants, signaling shifting consumer preferences.

In contrast, brands like Ricola have managed to avoid the "out of stock" issues and have been rewarded with consistently high product ratings.

The Takeaway

The cough drop market is no different from others in highlighting the importance of listening to consumers and adapting swiftly.

  1. Product Effectiveness Isn't Enough: Halls proves that even if your product performs, logistical challenges can still mar its reputation. Consistent supply chain management, especially during peak seasons, can be a game-changer.
  2. Embrace Transparency: Concerns over artificial sweeteners underscore the broader industry trend where consumers seek transparent ingredient lists and “healthier” alternatives. Offering variants that address these concerns could be key.
  3. Constantly Monitor Feedback: Real-time feedback from consumers, especially on platforms like Amazon, is crucial. Packaging can be revamped, product formulations can be updated, but these changes are only possible when brands proactively react to the feedback loop.