Where Brazilians go to shop

November 28, 2017
Rodrigo Kurata
Rodrigo Kurata, Senior Manager, Consumer Health, Brazil & Andean Latin America
Key Highlights
Brazilians flock to pharmacies: How healthcare companies can bolster sales by embracing this shifting shopper trend.
The shopping habits of Brazilian consumers have changed in recent years. The economic crisis, coupled with growing interest in preventive care and demand for more variety in their product selection has not only altered what these consumers purchase, but also where they shop and how they decide. 

QuintilesIMS recently conducted a survey with 850 pharmacy shoppers across Brazil, to identify consumer health product shopping trends --  including OTC (over-the-counter), patient care, personal care and nutrition categories. The sample focused on men and women, ages 18-55, of middle to high socio-economic level (A, B and C), who had purchased in the pharmacy channel over the last 30 days.

And we found some surprising results.

Shoppers’ needs are best met by chain pharmacies
The study shows that in 2017, Brazilian consumers are shopping more often in chain pharmacies than in independent outlets, and that those with higher incomes shopped more frequently in these chains. 

The study also found that more than one-third of consumer health product shoppers have increased their number of trips to the pharmacy in the past year, primarily to purchase products that they previously bought in other channels. OTC medications and personal hygiene products are among the most frequently purchased items. This preference is driven by a number of factors, including valued advice from pharmacists, higher quality products, convenience and attractive pricing.

This trend suggests that healthcare companies can bolster sales by increasing their product assortment and marketing efforts in chain pharmacies across the country. That includes offering non-prescription medications and personal hygiene products, as well as baby care products, cosmetics, vitamins, medical devices, and other non-food items that consumers previously purchased in other channels such as grocery.

However, healthcare companies need to be strategic in these efforts. For example, while these consumers may be more affluent, their primary drivers for shopping at pharmacies are cost and convenience. Half say that one of the key advantages of shopping at a chain pharmacy is that they can find unique promotions for products of interest, and 37 percent said they would spend more than planned when promotions are offered. But if the product is deemed too expensive, they won’t buy it. 

For healthcare companies to make the most of these retail opportunities, they will need to be thoughtful about their pricing strategies, and use creative promotions and coupon offers to entice these shoppers to maximize their spend.

Cart abandonment issues
Along with attractive promotions, Brazilian consumers also expect to find a variety of quality products at pharmacies -- and they have no problem walking out if that variety is lacking. More than half of shoppers surveyed said they would abandon their basket to go to another shop if their pharmacy didn’t offer a specific medicine they needed; and one-third would leave if they couldn’t find a non-medicinal product on their list. 

From a retail perspective, these findings are very important. To meet the needs of Brazilian customers, consumer healthcare companies must have strong pharmacy distribution, and a keen understanding of competing brands in the pharmacies in those outlets. Ideally, they want their brands to be positioned as part of a diverse product portfolio, ensuring consumers a variety of choices across a number of categories and price points to meet multiple shopping needs.

Consumer healthcare players have a significant opportunity to improve market share by responding to the changing shopping habits of their core consumers and increasing their presence in chain pharmacies. Consumers are eager to buy products that meet their quality and value expectations, and the brands that comply will be best positioned to win their business.

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