Shoppers Pick Mass Merchandisers for OTC: Study

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Shoppers Pick Mass Merchandisers for OTC: Study

LITTLE FALLS, N.J. -- Consumers most often choose mass merchandisers over other channels when they buy over-the-counter drugs, according to a new study from global management consulting and market research firm Kline & Co. here.

In a survey of almost 1,000 consumers, the study identified this trend across all categories and all types of OTCs.

"Mass merchandisers have been stealing share from these other retail channels, and our research shows this is mostly due to the premium pricing of these products," said Laura Mahecha, industry manager of the healthcare practice for Kline's market research division. "When we asked consumers what they were unhappy with or what they would want to change with OTCs, almost all of them said, 'Prices are too high.'"

Club stores, dollar stores, and Internet stores are also becoming popular consumer choices for these items, further accelerating the market share decline of food stores and drug stores. The study additionally found evidence that premium pricing may be discouraging consumers from buying some OTC drugs altogether.

"While OTCs are convenient and generally cost less than their prescription counterparts, the high cost of some of these products may make it worth the trip to the doctor to get a prescription for some consumers," noted Mahecha.

The report, "U.S. Consumers' Perceptions of OTC Drugs 2007," offers an analysis of consumers' usage, perceptions, unmet needs, and purchase decision-making processes for OTCs in many product classes. It provides insights on how consumers perceive, use, and buy prescription-to-OTC-switch brands and which prescription drugs they'd like to see available as OTCs, said Kline & Co.