DSN Industry Issues Summit: 2024 shopper outlook

Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO of Coresight Research, provided an in-depth look at the consumer of 2024.

What does the 2024 shopper look like?

Deborah Weinswig, founder and CEO of Coresight Research, provided an updated picture during her keynote at Drug Store News’ 25th annual Industry Issues Summit, in December.

One of the biggest trends Weinswig cited is the change in the way people are consuming. She said that in September the head of innovation of one of the largest grocers told her, “‘Everything we’re seeing is this move back from traditionalism.’ Everyone is trying to remember what things were like before the pandemic. They are trying to spend in that way,” Weinswig said.

Weinswig gave the example of how people bought Halloween candy much earlier than usual, and stores ran out of candy. “Everyone wanted to make sure they delivered the best for their family. People have been really early and really prepared,” she said. Awareness of ChatGPT and OpenAI is another trend that Weinswig foresees continuing. “People know there is something new that is coming. Most of us believe it will augment humans, but it also will change. These technological innovations are taking time away from tasking, and moving us to selling,” Weinswig said. As a result, customer service is better.

[Read more: Envisioning an ideal model for retail pharmacy]

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“What we’re seeing is a real change in terms of spending,” Weinswig said. “There may be ways going forward to tweak what you have and to do it really fast. Right now on average about 30% of time is being given back to employees.”

When it comes to healthcare, Weinswig pointed out that we have a massive shortage of doctors, nurses and pharmacists and that for the first time on record the life expectancy in China was longer than in the U.S.

“The 30- and 40-year-olds display as people in their 50s and 60s. A lot of this is driven by obesity and heart disease,” she said. She also talked about growth in hyper-personalization in health care. “If you wear an Apple watch, have an iPhone, etc. you expect you can sell your data to Walmart, if you scape all your data on Google, you can sell it to them. There’s an opting-in. If you’re shopping in the grocery store, there’s an opportunity to think about health and wellness differently.”

Loyalty and rewards programs for employees and consumers also are on Weinswig’s radar in 2024.

“We’re seeing gamification of the consumer,” Weinswig said. “Shoppers start to feel a different level of relationship with you.” To that end, Weinswig advised that companies can award employees for their involvement in learning things such as how to save time, CRM or how to handle a difficult customer call.

[Read more: How retailers, pharmacy technology companies are redefining the modern healthcare experience]


Convenience, whether it means close to home or getting a lot done, also is a trend that Weinswig is watching, but she cautioned that products have to be in stock to be considered convenient.

“If you think about price, mark downs, in stock and on shelf availability these are real challenges for consumers,” she said. “This goes back to pharmacists. If one product is out, can you substitute for another?” 

People slimming down also has had a significant impact across all of retail, especially when it comes to apparel, footwear and accessories. Weinswig said many of Coresight’s apparel clients this holiday season didn’t have the right sizes, noting that consumers are starting to rethink where they shop.”

Frugality and a significant focus on own brand, private label and exclusive brands also is a trend that is becoming entrenched with consumers. “For many retailers, private or own label is over 40%.

That drives a lot of loyalty, once you start to get used to a product,” Weinswig said. Weinswig’s picture of the consumer of 2024 also includes precision medicine, especially in rural markets. “There’s a huge demand there,” she said. Lastly, Weinswig said ChatGPT 4 presents a great opportunity. “It’s easy,” Weinswig advised. “There’s an opportunity to work together, and it doesn’t matter if you are competitors.”

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