U.S. Weight Loss Market Worth $46.3 Billion in 2004 — Forecast to Reach $61 Billion by 2008

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$25,000 weight loss surgeries skyrocket as dieters are more desperate than ever.

Marketdata, a market research firm that has tracked diet products and programs since 1989 (http://www.marketdataenterprises.com) has just released the findings of its biennial study: "The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market." This dynamic market has been turbulent since 2002, as several trends soar, then decline in popularity. As American obesity rates climb, there are now 71 million dieters and more weight loss programs and options than ever before, with fortunes made and lost along the way.

Major Findings & Forecasts:

Two years ago, Marketdata found that the whole market was growing, with no individual segments of the industry contracting. This was a rarity in the weight loss industry. However, this has all changed, and the market has reverted to its cyclical nature, with certain segments up while others suffer. We have also revised our estimates for the total value of the market to account for weight loss surgeries, which have soared in number and represented a $3.5 billion market in 2004.

The main factors contributing to the turbulence in the market since 2002 include:

•    The number of weight loss or “bariatric” surgeries has skyrocketed, to a record 140,000 procedures last year.

•    The low-carb food trend turned out NOT to be a short-term fad but a "movement" and lifestyle with more staying power than anyone ever expected. But now it has peaked and is on the decline.

•    The government’s ban of Ephedra, one of the main ingredients in OTC diet pills, had a major impact on this market, and companies such as Metabolife.

•    Americans began consuming more diet soft drinks, and their share of the total soft drink market has reached near historical highs.

2005 Forecasts

"The 2005 'diet season' will be one characterized by the highest level of dieter confusion and price sensitivity ever. People are waiting for 'the next big thing' in weight loss, as the low-carb craze fades. They may not find it in 2005, since no new 'magic pills' will make it to market this year. The prescription diet drug closest to market is Rimonabant, which should hit the U.S. market in 2006," according to Research Director John LaRosa.

Bariatric surgeries... These reached record levels in 2004, but on Jan. 1, 2005 several major insurers ceased covering these procedures (which average $25,000 in cost). Consequently, Marketdata expects the market to fall by 15% in 2005, as surgeons and hospitals sort out how to offer financing plans to consumers or get them to pay out of pocket. Growth should resume in 2006.

"OTC" retail diet pills… This market was hit hard by the 2003 ban of ephedra and sales plummeted by 32% last year. However, with no new prescription pills to hit the market this year, and with the African herb Hoodia Gordonii hot right now, we expect a substantial rebound and 16% growth. Brands like Trim Spa, Cortislim, Hyroxycut and Xenadrine are heavily advertised and are doing very well. To 2008, this segment should grow 11.5% per year, to $703 million.

Commercial Chains… As the low-carb trend fades, more dieters are returning to structured programs such as Weight Watchers, LA Weight Loss, Jenny Craig and other chains. Marketdata estimates that weight loss centers revenues will grow 11% to $2 billion. An estimated 7.1 million American dieters use such programs. Small local or regional chains of 10-50 centers are growing as well.

Diet Food Home Delivery… For the most affluent dieters, focused on the two coasts (NY City and Los Angeles), this is becoming a more popular option. A handful of companies such as Zone Chefs, NutriSytem, Jenny Direct (Jenny Craig), Seed Live Cuisine, Sunfare, and Nutropia are cashing in on this booming market. The cost averages $10-40 per day for diet food delivered to your doorstep—as much as $1,200 per month.

Weight loss "kids camps" … Enrollments at these residential facilities are expected to grow as the childhood obesity rate climbs. Many were first opened in the 1960s-1970s and have been dormant since then, until now. Only a handful exist (New Image, Camp Shane, Camp Kingsmont, etc.) but new ones will probably open.

Dietitians & Nutritionists… Marketdata estimates that 20,500 registered dietitians are offering some form of weight loss program, via their practice or as consultants to health clubs, hospitals, etc. A typical customized, 6-month plan will cost $802 on average, based on custom market research and phone surveys. Nutritionists also compete. Their holistic and less medically-oriented plans average $643. However, nearly anyone can call themself a nutritionist, with no college degree required. Consumers should look for those with certifications such as CCN or CBNS.

Please see the attached chart to view Marketdata’s estimates for the major segments of the U.S. weight loss market.

About the Study

"The U.S. Weight Loss & Diet Control Market" is an off-the-shelf 307-page market analysis, with 80+ tables. It costs $2,195 and is also sold by single chapters at lower cost. The study, available in digital or print form, is believed to be the most comprehensive analysis of the entire U.S. weight loss market that exists. Historical data back to the 1980s is provided, along with 41 in-depth competitor profiles.

About Marketdata

Marketdata Enterprises, Inc. is an independent analyst of the U.S. weight loss industry (and other service sectors) since 1989. It is the only company to track and forecast the dollar value and growth of all segments of the U.S. diet market on a regular basis. Custom research, consulting, and real-time, pre-qualified dieter sales leads are also available. Please visit http://www.marketdataenterprises.com.

Contact Information

John LaRosa, Research Director

Marketdata Enterprises Inc.



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