Due to the healthcare changes from the Affordable Care Act, drugstore chains are expanding and trying to tap into a new market, taking advantage of the revenue opportunities of newly insured Americans. With the continuously changing healthcare landscape, CivicScience can give these retailers a detailed look into their more loyal customer base, allowing them to provide better service to their current and future customers. By keeping up with consumer research, drugstore chains can be on top of their marketing and advertising strategies.

CivicScience polled 2,751 people from September 24, 2014 to October 14, 2014 on their preferred drugstore chain with the question:

“At which drugstore chain do you prefer to shop?”

  • CVS
  • Rite Aid
  • Walgreens
  • I don’t shop at any of these stores

We eliminated the 26% of respondents who did not shop at any of the three retailers. Walgreens and CVS were the most preferred, followed by Rite Aid, which could largely be due to the number of retail stores across the U.S. Walgreens has the most retail stores (at over 8,000), followed by CVS (7,600+) and Rite Aid (about 4,500).

We then mined the data to develop more detailed consumer personas among the drugstore customers, based on their preferred retailer. We looked at topics such as basic demographics, health and wellness habits, shopping behavior, entertainment consumption and more.

Some highlights between CVS, Walgreens, and Rite Aid fans:

  • Rite Aid tends to draw an older consumer base than CVS and Walgreens.
  • Walgreens is 33% more likely to attract the preference of parents than Rite Aid, whereas Rite Aid is 41% more likely to attract grandparents than Walgreens.
  • CVS is more preferred by those currently employed and making a middle class annual income of $50K-$125K.
  • Walgreens is favored more by urban dwellers, and Rite Aid by rural residents.

Some highlights that we see from the psychographic insights:

  • CVS consumers like to purchase products that allow them to explore and try new things, they closely follow trends and current events in health and fitness, are less likely to smoke, like Macs over PCs and are more interested in sports than the other groups.
  • Rite Aid consumers use debit cards or checks for most of their purchases, they consider themselves spendthrifts, visit health professional more each year than others, exercise more often, are more likely to have a landline home phone and subscribe to a print newspaper.
  • Walgreens consumers are more likely to seek out online reviews, make most of their household’s purchases, say they didn’t visit a doctor in the past year due to costs, are more likely to watch local news and belong to Facebook than the others.

Although the Affordable Care Act has shaken up the healthcare industry, drugstore chains are finding innovative ways to deal with the changes. One way to ensure a healthy future is for the retailers to be continually aware and informed of their customers’ lifestyles, interests, values and opinions, allowing them to better plan their future strategy – and to be aware of the personas of their competitions’ fans too.

It will be interesting to track the drugstore retailers in the coming months to see if their customer base changes, especially with the news that CVS and Rite Aid will not be using Apple Pay. Apple Pay enables consumers to use their iPhone to pay at the register, eliminating the need to carry cash or debit/credit cards. Depending if Apple Pay catches on among consumers, CVS and Rite Aid may see a shift in their customer base, which we will continue to track in the future.

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Consumer market research for drugstore retail chains