Tracking shopper topography

Are drug stores the new convenience stores?

According to The Hartman Group the answer may be yes. A recent survey conducted by Hartman’s market research experts found that while health and wellness needs are the top reason consumers to head to their local drug store, convenience, too, is playing a larger role in why they shop this channel over others.

Moreover, when asked the reasons that brought them to the drug store on their last visit, 29% said to stock up, 21% were there to fill in and 6% said it was an occasion-based need.

Drilling down even further when asked what they purchased within the past 30 days, 37% said OTC products, 32% answered personal care and 17% noted food and beverage purchases.

To me, for a number of reasons these findings are worrisome. For one grocery always owned the stock-up and fill-in titles, but while mass retailers like Walmart have been pushing for this business for the past several years it seems the drug channel is becoming an appealing place to service these needs too. Another fact that is troubling is the percentage of people buying food and drinks at drug stores, a number I would imagine we’ll see rise even higher as time goes on.

It seems officials at Hartman agree. They say the face of how consumers shop is rapidly changing and the number of product choices, brands and options on where to purchase has never been wider. At the same time, they note today’s shopper is savvier than ever before and the need to understand the how and why of shopping has never been greater. More detailed findings on this topic can be found in Hartman’s Shopping Topography, Mapping the New Consumer Pathway to Purchase 2012 report.

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