Irish consumers will spend over €1.2 billion
in pharmacies in 2018, a number set to grow
substantially over the next few years.
This Amárach report looks at Irish pharmacy
customers, and explores the key drivers
of growth for beauty, health and medical
products and services through pharmacies.
The data in this report draws on Amárach’s
proprietary PlanR business intelligence
dashboard and database.
Every month we poll 1,000 different adults
for PlanR, adding up to 12,000 interviews
every year, including 11,000 pharmacy
customers in 2017 alone.
The Irish Pharmacy Market
Pharmacy customers are generally very loyal, which is why Irish pharmacies
enjoy a more positive Net Promoter Scores as a category versus many others.
Of course, NPS scores vary considerably by pharmacy brand within the sector. ‘Local independent’ pharmacies score highest as a
sub-category (NPS of +22 on average in 2017), followed by Boots (+13), then by Sam McCauley (-3).
The average pharmacy customer spends €37 a month on a mix of beauty, health and medical products. Over 55s spend most (€45 a
month), indicating how important an ageing population will be to the future growth of the sector.
Source: Amárach Research PlanR database 2015-2017
Average Net Promoter Scores: Selected Retail Categories
May-16 Jun-16 Jul-16 Aug-16 Sep-16 Oct-16 Nov-16 Dec-16 Jan-17 Feb-17 Mar-17 Apr-17 May-17 Jun-17 Jul-17 Aug-17 Sep-17 Oct-17 Nov-17 Dec-17
NPS Supermarkets NPS PharmaciesNPS Petrol Stations
Source: Amárach Research PlanR database 2017
Demographic profiles of customers of different pharmacy brands: 2017
All Adults Boots Lloyds pharmacy Sam McCauley McCabes pharmacy
Sample 11,999 3,697 663 545 462 3,703
Male 49% 41% 50% 47% 49% 51%
Female 51% 59% 50% 53% 51% 49%
16-24 15% 24% 17% 17% 17% 7%
25-34 20% 26% 22% 26% 26% 11%
35-44 19% 22% 20% 17% 23% 16%
45-54 16% 13% 14% 16% 11% 21%
55+ 29% 15% 28% 23% 23% 44%
Dublin 28% 35% 45% 16% 63% 18%
With children under 17 35% 38% 40% 37% 39% 32%
With children over 17 34% 21% 31% 33% 28% 50%
Has medical card 40% 35% 39% 45% 35% 47%
Does not have medical card 60% 65% 61% 55% 65% 53%
Many consumers shop with more than one
pharmacy brand, but our research focus is
on their ‘main pharmacy’.
On this basis, local independent pharmacies as a ‘group’ have
the dominant market share (weighted by spend) at 34% in 2017.
Boots is second at 30%, followed by Lloyds Pharmacy at 7%.
Of course, this does not reflect the share of outlets, simply
where consumers commit most of their pharmacy spend.
Nor does this mean consumers buy all their beauty or health
products in pharmacists, for example: 23% of Irish women buy
cosmetics online, including 22% of Boots customers.
Six in ten pharmacy customers have actually recommended their main
pharmacy to a friend or family members.
Those belonging to loyalty programmes run by their pharmacies are much more likely to make a personal recommendation.
That said, typically 1 in 5 pharmacy customers think it likely they’ll switch their main pharmacy in the next 6 months.
But there are other influences on pharmacy loyalty and spending. The chart shows that a minority of pharmacy customers are
highly influenced by their digital interactions with pharmacies, while interactions with staff – and price/value perceptions – are major
influences for the majority of customers
% pharmacy customers saying each factor is important influence
Source: Amárach Research PlanR, January 2018
Your pharmacy has the
lowest prices or charges
Interactions with staff when
deciding to continue as a
customer of your pharmacy
Dealing with your pharmacy
digitally through their
website and/or social media
61% 60% 18%
The pharmacy sector is one of the retail categories currently enjoying a strong growth trend,
though turnover has yet to return to 2010 levels1
. Our estimates exclude payments to pharmacists
through the HSE’s Primary Care Reimbursement Service (PCRS), worth €1.3 billion in 20162
Nevertheless, a more affluent, ageing population will
undoubtedly drive demand for the key product lines traditionally
associated with pharmacies: health & beauty, OTC medicines
and prescription medication.
Our forecasts assume a rate of growth slightly faster than overall
consumer spending, though this in turn assumes pharmacies
will successfully pivot to a more ‘experiential’ retail offering in
future as they face the digital challenge.
1 goo.gl/svpkP3 2 https://www.sspcrs.ie/portal/annual-reporting/report/annual
Value of spending in Irish pharmacies: € billion 2018-2022
€1.20€1.10€1.00 €1.30 €1.40 €1.50
Source: Amárach Research forecasts, 2018
Irish pharmacies have a unique opportunity to play a key role in meeting the
health and wellbeing needs of Ireland’s population in the years ahead.
But not all will succeed: those that cling to outdated retail
formats and service offerings will be bypassed by brands
championing ‘clicks & bricks’ solutions.
Amárach will continue to invest in understanding and sharing
its insights into the Irish pharmacy customer, focusing on
opportunities for sustainable and significant growth for its clients.