FYU: Prescription Drugs

As we reported in our most recent Executive Briefing, according to our Consumer Migration Index, Walgreens seems to be having a customer flow problem…as in, the drugstore’s Prescription Drug customers are flowing out its doors and to the competition. It’s time for this retail giant’s check-up, courtesy of our Retail Ratings Reports.

For Your Understanding this month, we’re going to look primarily at the top competitors in this category: Walgreens, CVS, and Walmart. As you can see in the chart below, while Walgreens and CVS have been keeping close company for most of the past year, it’s evident that in Q4 2011 the two retailers began to tangle for the top spot in this category:

Prescription Drugs - Store Shopped Most Often

For additional insight on Walgreens and its competitors, we can turn to our latest Retail Ratings Report. Just on the first few pages of this handy guide*, we can see that:

–  CVS fills more prescriptions for consumers in the lucrative $50,000+ and $75,000+ income brackets, while Walgreens is the top choice among those earning under $50,000.
–  There’s an occupational divide among the top three competitors. Walmart is the first pick among Labor/Blue Collar Workers, CVS is tops with White Collar/Service Workers, while Retirees and Disabled Workers head to Walgreens most often.
–  CVS bests Walgreens among customers in the 45 to 64 year old age bracket.  The two competitors are more evenly matched both among older (65+) and younger (18-44) consumers.
–  Walgreens maintains its surest footing in the Midwest and West, while CVS (and Rite Aid) rule the Northeast. CVS and Walgreens are neck-and-neck in the South (while Walmart a very close third here).

But let’s look a bit deeper with the Consumer Equity Index™ (CEI). The CEI – available exclusively within the Retail Ratings Reports – is a year-over-year index showing growth or decline of Consumer Preference Share (the % we collect each month for the store shopped most often). Here’s a key:

CEI = 100 (flat)
CEI = 105 (5% growth)
CEI = 95 (5% decline)

Our latest CEI ratings for Prescription Drugs show that Walgreens (+ others) continue to slip in a segment in which CVS shines:  those earning $50,000+/year. Here, CVS has experienced a 5% growth while Walgreens is suffering from a near 10% decline.

Prescription Drugs CEI - $50,000+ Incomes

And, if you were to analyze the CEI ratings for those earning under $50,000/year (read: Walgreens’ core customer base), you would find that Walgreens’ share is remaining stagnant, but that CVS is increasingly curing customers here as well.

Now you understand: While Walgreens remains a top competitor in the Prescription Drugs category, three weaknesses are evident with just a quick glance at the latest Retail Ratings Report:

1.) Walgreens is dropping share among upper income shoppers.
2.) Walgreens is experiencing a flat/no-growth situation among its core shoppers.
3.) Walgreens is facing tougher competition in the form of CVS.

How’s that for a diagnosis?

For more information on this data, please contact BIGinsight™.

Source: BIGinsight™ Monthly Consumer Survey, JAN-11 – JAN-12

* Retail Ratings Reports are available monthly for the following categories: Women’s Clothing, Men’s Clothing, Children’s Clothing, Shoes, Linens/Bedding/Draperies, Electronics, Hardware, Children’s Toys, Sporting Goods, Groceries, Health & Beauty Care, Prescription Drugs.

© 2012, Prosper®

BIGinsight™ is a trademark of Prosper Business Development Corp.

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