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Retail Intelligence

Supermarkets Maintain Purchase Levels Of OTC Products

By Donna Ahern
Supermarkets Maintain Purchase Levels Of OTC Products

The battle between supermarkets and pharmacies continues to be keenly contested when it comes to the purchase of over-the-counter painkillers with almost half of all grocery shoppers (48%) claiming to purchase painkillers in either SuperValu, Tesco or Dunnes Stores, with the same proportion purchasing from independent pharmacies (48%) and just over 4 in 10 (44%) purchasing from pharmacy chains.

Recent research on behalf of Retail Intelligence by Empathy Research, amongst a nationally representative sample of 1,011 adults aged 18+, sought to identify if this behaviour has changed year-on-year and the motivations for these changes.

While purchase incidence in the multiples is largely unchanged year-on-year (48% in 2017 vs. 49% in 2016), there have been significant decreases in the purchase incidences recorded in both independent pharmacies (48% in 2017 vs. 58% in 2016) and Discounters (14% in 2017 vs. 20% in 2016) year-on-year.

Although purchase levels in the multiples has remained unchanged there is still some concern expressed by consumers about purchasing painkillers in supermarkets. A third of grocery shoppers (33%) claim they are “worried that supermarkets will not take appropriate care when selling over-the-counter items”, rising from 29% in 2016. Value is a big driver of purchase from supermarkets in this category, with just over half (54%) of grocery shoppers agreeing that “supermarkets offer better value for money when it comes to over-the-counter items than pharmacies do”, although this level of agreement is largely unchanged year-on-year (52% in 2016).

There appears to be good scope for supermarkets to increase basket size amongst those who currently buy painkillers in-store with two thirds (66%) of this cohort agreeing that they “would like to see supermarkets stock a wider selection of over-the-counter items.”


For more information into where OTC items are being purchased and the attitudes of consumers in relation to these products, please contact Robbie Clarke at Empathy Research.

© 2017 - Checkout Magazine by Donna Ahern

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