4 Demographic Trends Affecting Pharmacy
Adapt your pharmacy to changing customer profiles
As the demographic composition of America changes, so does the pool of potential customers for your pharmacy. And along with changing demographics, customers’ buying habits are changing too. Consider these factors:
- About 10,000 baby boomers are turning 65 every day and becoming eligible for Medicare. They will redefine what aging looks like.1
- Nearly half the women of childbearing age are not mothers, but even without children, they are an extremely important consumer demographic.2
- By 2017, the millennial generation will outspend baby boomers.3 Members of this generation already spend more on an average shopping trip than the boomers, including at drug stores.4 By 2030, millennials will outnumber baby boomers, 78 million to 56 million.
- Hispanics are one of the fastest-growing groups in America, now accounting for 17% of the U.S. population, more than 53 million people.5
Understanding how the demographic makeup of the consumer marketplace is changing will allow you to adapt your pharmacy’s products, services and marketing activities to improve your business success now and in the future. This is especially true as customer demographics continue to change in the coming decades. Following are key insights on four broad groups.
Aging Boomers Will Seek Different Products
As they become seniors, the baby boom generation is entering a new phase. While you may think of seniors as the primary target for durable medical equipment and home health equipment, don’t view baby boomers too narrowly. The boomer generation is focused on wellness and maintaining good health. More than 60% take a multivitamin or supplement, and more than 25% take a calcium supplement.6
Overall, women are responsible for more than 90% of over-the-counter pharmaceutical sales, and women in the baby boom generation are the largest group of independent pharmacy shoppers, according to Hamacher Resource Group.7
Boomers are focused not only on treating medical conditions, but also on maintaining wellness. Hamacher suggests tailoring wellness events to this vital group, and designing “Fabulous Over 50” end-cap displays that could feature products such as “age-defying” skin care and bone health supplements.8
Women without Kids Spend on Themselves
They may be single, married or in another situation, but women in their 20s through 40s who don’t have children make up an important buying demographic, and they are often overlooked. Members of this segment spend nearly $1,200 a year on beauty and hair products, and are more likely to shop for those products at a drugstore than at a mass merchandiser like WalMart or Target, according to a study by DeVries Global.9 However, just like moms, they like deals and will use coupons.
Who Are the Millennials?
The millennial generation can be hard to pin down. In general these customers were born in the 1980s and 1990s, and their ages now range from late teens to early 30s. As a group:
- They are “digital natives,” having grown up with computers, WebMD and social media, and they are eager to try new technology.10 Because they also value convenience, they are likely to appreciate services such as online prescription refills and text reminders.
- Contacts count. Far more than what companies or brands say online, millennials value reviews and recommendations from friends, family and people with firsthand experience.11 When it comes to health topics they are more likely to trust friends and family than high-profile health experts.12 They use social media more than other generations and have more online contacts. This means that monitoring what people say about your pharmacy and encouraging positive reviews on websites like Yelp and Facebook is crucial.
- They aren’t “one” demographic group. Researchers have identified up to six different types of millennial consumers, with widely varying values and habits. As a result, one type of marketing message isn’t enough. Different researchers classify them in different ways. For example, one group may be focused on the latest gadgets, while another is passionately committed to social causes.13
- Once you win their business, you can keep it. Millennials are just as loyal to brands as their parents, and nearly a quarter say they are even more brand loyal.14
Speak to Hispanics’ Culture
In the report “Hispanics: A growing force in the New Health Economy,” PwC says, “For businesses aiming to succeed in the New Health Economy, Hispanics represent unparalleled growth opportunities.”15 However, like millennials, Hispanics comprise many subgroups with important differences among them. Among the factors pharmacies need to be aware of:
- Hispanics are more likely to have diabetes than other groups. Already 10% of Hispanics have diabetes, a figure that is expected to double by 2031.
- Fewer than half of Hispanics have a regular doctor. For nonemergency situations they are more likely than other groups to seek care from a clinic in a pharmacy or retail store.
- Hispanics also are highly connected with mobile technology and social media platforms.
The specific demographics of each community will vary. It is important to know the current demographics in your community and among your customers, and how the demographics are changing in your market. This demographic knowledge will help inform your product, service and marketing strategies, and demographic insights can help you grow your business.