Consumer tendencies to shop supermarkets for health and beauty aids fell during the past year, according to the latest SN survey of shopping habits.
ere purchasing more, down from last year's 24.1% finding.
"It's a time problem,"said Britt Beemer, founder and chairman of America's Research Group, the Charleston, S.C.-based company that has conducted the survey for the last three years.
"We're seeing this attitude throughout our consumer surveys," Beemer added. "If shoppers can run into a drug or convenience store, find their items, pay and leave quickly, then they'll do that rather than stand in line in a supermarket -- even if it means paying more."
The percentage of consumers who reported they were buying about the same amount of HBC from supermarkets rose slightly, from 35.7% in 1995 to 40.1% this year.
The same trend was seen in future purchases, as 12.4% predicted they would be buying more HBC at their favorite market in the future, down from last year's 15.1% response. Meanwhile, the number expecting to buy the same amount at markets showed a slight increase, up 1.8% from last year's 49.8% reading.
On-Site Pharmacist Is Critical, Survey Shows
The presence of a pharmacist in a supermarket pharmacy to answer questions about prescription and over-the-counter drugs is vital, according to survey findings.
More than four in 10 shoppers called the availability of a pharmacist extremely important.
Overall, the use of supermarket pharmacies showed a slight decline over last year's numbers. This year, 22.2% reported using a supermarket pharmacy to fill their prescriptions, while 24.6% said they used the pharmacy inside the supermarket last year. Of those who did take advantage of the store pharmacy, nearly two-thirds cited the convenience of one-stop shopping as the No. 1 reason for doing so, an increase of 8.7% over the 1995 survey. Prescription pricing at supermarket pharmacies also has caught the attention of bargain-hunting consumers, as 15.3% cited cost as the chief reason for having their prescriptions filled at supermarket pharmacies.
Among the 77.8% surveyed who do not use supermarket pharmacies, convenience was given as the No. 1 reason for relying on traditional drug stores for filling prescriptions. Nearly one in five shoppers gave convenience as the primary reason they chose drug store pharmacies over supermarkets, almost double last year's results. More than 13% cited the preferable cost of prescriptions at drug stores rather than supermarkets as the reason they remained with drug stores, more than a 10% drop from the 1995 survey. That indicates that supermarket pricing of prescriptions has, in the minds of many consumers, become competitive with drug store costs.
However, there is a perception that supermarket pharmacists are not as credible as their drug-store counterparts. Consumers' third most cited reason for selecting drug stores over supermarkets was that they trusted the drug-store pharmacist more. That category jumped from 15.9% in 1995 to 27.8% this year. More than half the survey's respondents -- 55.1% -- said they had sought assistance from a supermarket pharmacist, an identical finding to the 1995 survey. More than one in five of those interviewed answered that they now feel more comfortable buying over-the-counter drugs from a supermarket than in the past. Nearly one in three reported feeling less comfortable shopping for OTC medications at the supermarket, a decline of 5% from the 1995 findings. Nearly half in the survey, 48.7%, said their opinion of buying OTC medicine in supermarkets had not changed.
The survey has a margin of error of plus or minus 4.3%.
HBC Draws Less [chart]
Consumers' HBC purchases at supermarkets are dropping, survey results indicate. There were 19% fewer shoppers who said they would purchase more HBC at supermarkets than a year ago.