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Diabetic consumers spend 35% more on OTC products


Today’s diabetes patients represent a coveted consumer base for retail pharmacy no matter how you characterize that diabetes spend. For example, consumers with diabetes spend 35% more on OTC products than the average consumer, noted Jeff Gregori, group VP consumer and shopper analytics for Nielsen, during a presentation at the 2016 National Association of Chain Drug Stores Total Store Expo. And that’s because diabetes patients index higher across several leading OTC categories — adult incontinence, eye care, foot care and sleeping aids, for example, according to Nielsen sales data.

(To view the full Diabetes Report, click here.)

“That’s hands down more than any other ailment,” Gregori said, “and it’s because they face so many challenges beyond their initial diagnosis.”

According to the 2015 Nielsen Diabetes Survey, 63% of diabetics who received their diagnosis within the past two years struggle with weight control, and 40% find staying fit or in shape challenging. And this doesn’t get much better after time, Gregori noted, because as many as 60% of diabetics who had been diagnosed more than five years ago still struggle with weight control, and 39% with staying fit or in shape.

“There is a real logical connection between that 35% that the overall diabetic spends on OTC,” Gregori said. “The reason for that is they’re struggling. They’re struggling in the beginning, and [the OTC spend] is a consequence of that struggle.”

And that’s just in front of the pharmacy bench. On average, Type 2 diabetics take 5.4 prescription medications, according to Nielsen, with as many as 80% of Type 2 diabetes patients taking an oral prescription medication. For the 52 weeks ended Dec. 26, 2015, sales of diabetic-related products totaled $592 million, Nielsen reported, representing growth of 5.1%. In addition to nutritional supplements, which accounted for 29% of that spend, total diabetes-related products included blood-glucose meters, cough-cold and allergy products and lancets and syringes.

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