Stick to the script

Pharmacies are an increasingly attractive shopping destination. TANYA SHINN highlights how news media can help maximise their popularity.

INFOGRAPHIC_PHARMACY_2016_DIGITALConsumers have increased their spend at the pharmacy counter more than any other retail sector in percentage terms,
according to researcher Nielsen.

It says over-the-counter sales increased 11 per cent over the 12 months to last April, which compares favourably with the three-point increase in revenue at grocery and convenience stores.

More than half of all consumers aged 14+ (9.3 million) shopped at a pharmacy in the last three months, emma data reveals. News media readers make up 94 per cent of the buying market, and they are 12 per cent more likely to spend money at a pharmacy than non-readers.

Leader of the pack

Consumers tend to favour well-known, discount pharmacies. Chemist Warehouse tops the list as the shoppers’ favourite, attracting 5.5 million customers over a three-month period – that’s one-in-three consumers.

The gap between Chemist Warehouse and its competitors is significant. Second-ranked Priceline attracts one-in-seven shoppers, while Amcal and Chemmart capture 10 and 8 per cent of the market respectively. Discount Drug Store, Guardian, Good Price Pharmacy Warehouse and Price Attack round out the pack, each with less than 5 per cent market share.

Growth categories

Health products make up 51 per cent of sales.1 emma data finds 36 per cent of consumers purchased health-related pharmacy products in the last four weeks. Beauty products are a pharmacy’s second largest segment with sales of skin care and cosmetic products rising 14 and 7 per cent respectively over the past year.1

Proactive approach to health

Staying healthy is an increasing concern, and 82 per cent say they are taking steps to improve their health – an increase of 383,000 over the past two years.

While exercise is the most popular mitigating action, 39 per cent say they use vitamins and supplement products. These contribute one-fifth of an average pharmacy’s revenues1. Some 1.9 million patrons have bought such products in the past 12 months – a rise of 49 per cent.

Readers buy more and spend more

News media readers are above-average buyers across a range of pharmacy products designed to prevent sickness or improve health.

Over a four-week period, and compared with non-readers, they are more like to buy:

  • Quit-smoking products (42%)
  • Weight-loss products (36%)
  • Antihistamines or other allergy products (30%); and
  • Vitamins or supplements (22%)

They are also above-average spenders across a range of pharmacy products. During their last visit to the pharmacy, compared with non-readers, they spent:

  • 14% more on vitamins or supplements
  • 11% more on prescription medication; and
  • 9% more on hair care and skin care

News media

Retailers can be confident they will reach their target audience with news media. emma data shows 90 per cent of pharmacy customers read news media every month, with 63 per cent consuming both digital and print content.

Placement of advertising in dedicated health and well-being sections will maximise efficiency of this marketing investment. Some 5.2 million readers a month turn to these sections, which offer authoritative and trusted editorial content.

Australians trust ads in newspapers more than any other medium or platform2. One in ten pharmacy consumers say they consider newspapers the most useful media when making decisions about health or pharmaceutical purchases.



  1. Nielsen, Best of Both Worlds: Pharmacy Growth Continues, While Online Opportunities Abound, August, 2016.
  2. The Nielsen Global Trust in Advertising Survey, Feb. – March 2015.

All other figures from emma™ conducted by Ipsos MediaCT, People 14+ for the 12 months ending July 2016; Nielsen DRM July 2016, People 14+ only.


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