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Having the right offerings for unpaid caregivers is a challenge

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Finding ways to connect with your 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 fourth and final article in a series examining consumers’ primary purchase intent — preventing, maintaining, recovering or caregiving. This article will concentrate on those shoppers caring for a loved one — relatives, friends or neighbors who provide assistance related to an underlying physical or mental disability but who are unpaid for those ­services.

With an average age of 53, the “caregiving” group is dominated by females at 66%. Those age 53 to 71 represent 48% of these shoppers, while ages 37 to 52 follow with 35%.

Most of the caregiving shoppers can be found in the Northeast, followed by the Midwest, and their average income is $46,547, the lowest of all groups. There are 25% in the annual income range of $75,001 to $100,000 and 25% in the range of $25,001 to $50,000. There are 24% earning $50,001 to $75,000. This is a wide variance, and it means closer scrutiny and multiple strategies will need to be employed regionally, or perhaps at store level, to speak to and attract this group.

Consistent with all shopper respondents, the caregiver’s preferred outlet is mass/discounter, with drug store not far behind, and grocery trailing in third. Like the shoppers focused on prevention, caregiving consumers chose dollar store over club stores for their fourth-most-preferred outlet. This correlates with a quarter of this group being in a lower income range, and likely seeking economical choices.

Their intended purchases were for these top-three health concerns: general pain relief, cough/cold/flu/throat and allergy/sinus — the same top-three in the same order as the recovering group. Pain relief, upper respiratory care and digestion issues represented nearly three-quarters of intended purchases among those caring for a loved one. Each of these categories contain products that address both long- and short-term conditions, and stocking the right items and offering an effective solution is key to building ongoing loyalty.

Physicians ranked highest among this group — 40% — when seeking over-the-counter recommendations, with pharmacists and personally conducted research following. Interestingly, caregivers are twice as likely to seek advice from a physician than they are to do their own research.

Better and more readable instructions and counseling/advice in store represented nearly 30% — the highest amount — of respondents’ suggested improvements. As it was for all four purchase journey groups, self-education resources and item availability were top choices for improvements these consumers would like to see.

Because 38% of these caregiving consumers earn $50,000 or less, with 13% earning less than $25,000 per year, brands and retailers will be challenged with finding the sweet spot of offerings that all shoppers in this group can afford and trust.

Megan Moyer is an industry researcher and writer with Hamacher Resource Group Inc. HRG focuses on improving results across the retail supply chain by addressing dynamic needs.


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