A new study from Acosta Group affirms that shoppers use trips to drug stores to stock up on everyday essentials, including groceries. According to Acosta’s "Drug Store Channel Shopper Insights Study," released ahead of the upcoming National Association of Chain Drug Stores (NACDS) meeting, 69% of drug store shoppers look for groceries, personal needs items, and other food and nonfood products for themselves or their families. That’s about equal to the 71% who go to those stores to pick up prescriptions and the 70% who shop the pharmacy area for over-the-counter items.
The survey also underscored growth and potential in this retail sector, which gained strength during the pandemic and has been fueled by consumers’ overall interest in health and wellness. "We heard repeatedly from drug store shoppers that convenient location, discounted pricing and one-stop shopping are appealing drivers in choosing drug stores over other retail options," said Kathy Risch, SVP, consumer insights and trends at Jacksonville, Fla.-based Acosta.
In a competitive retail market, brick-and-mortar drug stores are seeing traffic increases. Acosta’s survey showed that 58% of consumers visit drug stores two to three times a month, and a third of younger shoppers have increased their number of trips to such locations.
Younger shoppers, including Millennial and Gen Z customers, are also more likely to place orders on a drug store’s e-commerce site. When buying online, customers of all types are purchasing a variety of products, with 61% of survey respondents reporting that they buy groceries and other household goods from stores’ apps and websites.
"As we work with our clients, we are focusing on the importance of the omnichannel experience to grow opportunities within small-format retail. Critical to success in drug stores is bridging the gap between the physical and digital shelf to meet the way consumers want to shop this channel," observed Shannon Hodock, SVP, client development at Acosta.
Survey participants also shared areas for improvement at both physical and online drug stores. Among other suggestions, shoppers said they would like to see more staff members, fewer out-of-stocks and more consistent online ordering experiences.