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Consumers seeking to maintain their health are worth targeting

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Finding ways to connect with shoppers and draw in new consumers is an ongoing effort that needs constant reevaluation based on market conditions, the evolution of shopping behaviors, trends and the economy. One trend that continues to shape retailers’ strategies is the self-care movement. As consumers take more responsibility and control of their own or their loved ones’ health and wellness, retail channels should consider how they can best attract and serve these shoppers. Based on consumer research conducted by Acosta for leading retail industry trade association GMDC|Retail Tomorrow’s Selfcare Roadmap and HRG’s analysis of the responses, this is the second article in a series of four examining consumers’ primary purchase intent — preventing, maintaining, recovering or caregiving. This article will concentrate on those shoppers focused on maintaining their health while living with an ongoing health concern or chronic ­condition.

Females represent 58% of the “maintaining” group. The average age of these consumers is 51, and those ages 53 to 71 represent 44%. This age group, 53-71, comprises a similar percentage in the recovering and caregiving group, while there is a much higher percentage of these men and women working on preventing illness or condition onset.

There is a slightly higher percentage of shoppers with a maintenance mindset in the Northeast, with the smallest percentage in the West; however, all regions are very close in size. Overall, this group comprises 18% of the survey respondents.

Among those on this self-care journey, the average annual income is $54,375, with the largest section of the group in the range of $75,001 to $100,000; however, those in the range of $25,000 to $50,000 form a close second. Although shoppers in maintenance mode are smaller in number, they are mighty in terms of their income, creating a worthwhile ­opportunity.

The maintenance-focused shopper’s preferred outlet is mass/discounter, with drug store not far behind, and grocery in third. Their intended purchases were for these top three health concerns: allergy/sinus; cough/cold/flu/throat; and heartburn, indigestion or other stomach problems, respectively. A strong maintaining mindset contributes to their preference for products that treat ongoing health concerns, such as allergies and some stomach problems, which can be long-term or recurring conditions. Unlike the other three groups, pain relief isn’t among the top four health concerns for which this group shops.

When looking for over-the-counter recommendations, almost a quarter of these consumers’ decisions are influenced by friends, family and their own research. Physicians are most often sought out for recommendations, and pharmacists are second. It’s interesting that for a group that seems to be more often maintaining nonchronic concerns, they rely heavily on physicians and pharmacists for recommendations, although this could be a generational tendency for these consumers that are largely over the age of 50.

In-store signs and messaging were the nonprescription category improvements shown to be more important to this group of shoppers than those on any of the other three purchase journeys. Forty-eight percent expressed interest in self-education resources, with better and more readable instructions, and more educational material on their condition. In addition, wanting the products they’re seeking to be in stock when they need them ranked second for these shoppers. Better self-education resources and product availability were the most popular answers across all groups. Retailers and brands should factor this feedback into their overarching strategies since they have been consistently identified as needs across all shopper groups.

As noted earlier, even though the maintenance-minded group of consumers represented the smallest segment among respondents, they have a higher average income, and thus are a worthwhile group to target. Influencing health care providers and improving stock levels and educational material are a start, but digging into the other insights in the Selfcare Roadmap will help provide further direction on how to best reach this set of shoppers.

The next article in the series will look at the “recovering” consumer segment and ways to best reach them.

Megan Moyer is an industry researcher and writer with Hamacher Resource Group Inc., which focuses on improving results across the retail supply chain.


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