Drugstores, a longitudinal study

Drugstores have been enjoying growing popularity for years: their share of total sales of drugstore articles was 45 % in 2017 (Statista) and rose by 5 percentage points in the five previous years alone. And even in food retailing, modern druggists are holding their own, with a slight upward trend. Recently, they also accounted for 9% of the total food turnover (Statista).

Eight years after our first survey, last winter we wanted to take a closer look again  and determine the preferences of German drugstore customers.

In which drugstore do Germans prefer to shop?

The customer favourite is the dm drugstore market, which once again clearly outperformed 2010: 69% of respondents named dm their preferred drugstore market. The clientele is significantly younger and more female: 80% under 29 prefer dm and 74% among women (compared to 64% among men). Nevertheless, dm is also becoming the favoured market in all age groups.

Rossmann manages – also with increasing tendency – to reach a very good second place. Since the interviewees were also able to mark several markets as favourites, Rossmann draws quite close to dm: more than one in two (55 %) likes to go there, interestingly enough men and women alike. Müller, on the other hand, is in third place with 17% and is in slight decline.

In our comparative study for 2010, the Schlecker drugstore market was still on the market, with 37% preferring to shop there. Schlecker customers may have reoriented themselves towards dm and Rossmann.

In which of the following drugstores do you prefer to shop? (2018 and 2010 n=1.000, multiple answers possible)

Which products are most in demand?

The product range offered is broad, as is demand. So it’s surprising that some products do stand out clearly: For example, soap and shampoo, which 77% of Germans buy from drugstores, followed by dental care products (70%) and skin care cosmetics, i.e. face cream, body lotion or deodorant (67%).

A comparison of the sexes reveals slight preferences: in the case of men, soap and shampoo (72%) are followed by dental care (66%) and at the same level by men’s cosmetics (65%). The men apparently like – or are forced – to buy their own cosmetics themselves, but at least 28% of women bring their men shaving foam and aftershave from the drugstore. All in all, drugstore purchases are female: in all categories – with the exception of men’s cosmetics – there are significantly more women than men standing in front of product shelves.

And in many categories there is also a much younger clientele: decorative cosmetics (mascara, rouge, powder, …) are bought much more by the young target group of 18-29 year olds in the drugstore. Every second person (53%) under the age of 29 buys this category and thus significantly more frequently than the target group of 39-49 years (39%) or 50+ years (36%). In some categories, the 50+ generation in particular is less enthusiastic about the drugstore as a shopping location, namely for muesli or other foods, perfume or tea and coffee.

Do Germans know the services of drugstores?

The modern druggist has long been offering not just the classic drugstore articles and has upgraded some services. We were interested: Are consumers familiar with these services? The photo service is commonly known; two thirds of all respondents (65%) are familiar with it. It is getting meager with offers for online ordering (28% awareness), individualised products such as shampoo with your own photo on the label (13%) or ordering prescription medicines (5%).

Which of the following services have you already used from drugstores? (2018 n=946 and 2010 n=930 respondents shopping in a drugstore; several answers possible)

In all new service categories, awareness among younger target groups up to 49 years of age is significantly higher than the 50+ target group.

Perception of services – Departure by age (2018 n=946 and 2010 n=930 respondents shopping in a drugstore; several answers possible)

Favorite market

Last but not least, we asked for the absolute favourite and asked all consumers to rank their favourite markets. The result is not surprising: the clear winner is the dm-drogerie markt, which almost one in two (49%) places on the top of the winner’s rostrum. Second place went to Rossmann, who clearly caught up in the ranking and gained nine percentage points. Müller is at the bottom with 8% and a somewhat worse rating than in 2010 (minus two percentage points).

Preferred drugstores – comparison 2018 and 2010 (2018 and 2010 n=1,000)

What do Germans like about drugstores?

Finally, we wanted to know: What exactly is it that makes the drugstore so successful? While the most important argument in 2010 was the good price/performance ratio, the picture is changed a little, because today the extensive assortment (76 %) is the most important factor, closely followed by the price/performance offer (73 %). Service is now being given a much stronger weighting: The friendly shop staff is the third most important argument, accounting for 64%. Overall, customers appear to be more satisfied than eight years ago, as they rate almost all the categories surveyed better today than in the last study.

What do Germans like about drugstores? (2018 n=946 and 2010 n=918 respondents who have named in a preferred drugstore market; multiple responses possible)

Not only do women visit the drugstore most often, they are also convinced of and more satisfied with their market and its performance. In particular, their assessment of the image and the high-quality private labels is much more positive than that of the men.

What do women and men appreciate most about their favourite drugstore? (2018 n=946 and 2010 n=918 respondents who have named in a preferred drugstore market; multiple responses possible)

Dialego study

In November 2018, we asked the Germans for their opinion on the drugstore market. For the current study, 1,000 women and men aged 18+ from Germany were interviewed. The study is representative by age and gender. A comparative study was already carried out in 2010. We will be happy to answer any further questions you may have.

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Andera Gadeib
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Andera Gadeib is founder and CEO of Dialego. The business information scientist has been a proven expert in the field of digitization for many years. Among other things, she is a member of the advisory board for young digital economy of the BMWi and of the board of the German IT-Mittelstand bitmi.
Andera Gadeib
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