On 18 June, Kantar will be hosting its first ever standalone Pharmacy, Health and Wellness event in central London (You can read more about the event and our speakers here). This article is the first in a series of pieces that will highlight some of the topics we will be covering on the day, starting with how ‘Wellthy’ consumers drive growth for ‘Hybrid Pharmacy Models’.

The European Drug/Pharma channel must be approached as a set of sub-channels

The complex nature of Pharmacy and Drug in Europe makes a cookie-cutter approach to the channel impossible for suppliers. Instead, brands must approach the region as a set of sub-channels with each its own shopper profile, needs states and expectations from brands.

Kantar has identified four sub-channels applicable to retailers in this space, these include traditional (1) Pharmacies and (2) Parapharmacies, mainly focused on delivering health focused solutions to shoppers, (3) health & wellness specialists, focused on delivering a 360-degree lifestyle solution and (4) discount drugstores/mass beauty specialists looking to primarily fulfil shoppers BPC needs.

Fig 1. The four Drug/Pharmacy sub-channels in Europe



Hybrid (Health, Wellness, Beauty)




Health & Wellness Specialists

Discount drugstores/ mass beauty

Retailer example

Lloyds Pharmacy

Auchan Parapharmacie


dm Drogeriemarkt

Source: Kantar

The biggest players operate a Hybrid model

Over the next five years, key European players will continue to include the likes of Boots, dm and AS Watson. Looking at the USP of these top players (by sales), they all play across the sub-channels that fall under the Hybrid model. As such, retailers that focus on offering consumers a mix of health, beauty and wellness products are likely to see the majority of success in the region, but only if they can get the mix right.

Significant investment required

Operating a Hybrid model makes it more difficult to successfully attract shoppers across segments and demographics, simply because it’s quite hard to get everything right. This is one of the key reasons why Boots has struggled to grow sales of beauty while doing better in pharmacy.

As a destination, its beauty offering is not competitive enough against other players in the market, while it’s been seen as a go to for health-related issues. This is something the retailer is now looking to address by revamping the beauty space in key store locations across the UK, targeting younger shoppers’ need for experimental, educational and connected shopping experiences where new niche beauty brands will also act as a footfall driver.

This strategic move will likely improve Boots’ image as a go-to destination for beauty as well, especially among younger consumers who are used to a much more engaging beauty shopping experience and who shy away from traditional department store models for such purchases.

 ‘Wellthy’ consumers look for retailers that can meet their preventive self-care needs

A key reason for the success of well-executed Hybrid models is the rising number of ‘Wellthy’ (Well & Healthy) consumers looking for preventive solutions that can aid their self-care needs and health goals. This is becoming increasingly important as shoppers start to realise that engaging in wellness is key to stay healthy, and, although wellness is often seen as much more abstract and emotional, and health is thought of in more physical and functional terms, they are interconnected, and one cannot fully exist without the other. This mentality stretches beyond core categories such as OTC into beauty and wellness as oftentimes consumers look for preventive medicines, personal care and beauty as opposed to treatments. As such, retailers are increasingly looking to become destinations for Wellthy shoppers and look for brands that can help position them as experts in this field.

Successful suppliers understand how to segment the channel and how to target each sub-channel to maximise success

The implication for suppliers is to understand the assortment mix across these sub-channels, as each target a different shopper profile, meet different needs and have different expectations on the brands. Understanding the sub-channel, the role the retailer plays in shoppers’ lives and ultimately what role/segment brands play in within that sub-channel will be key when negotiating with these retailers.

Learn more at our Pharmacy, Health & Wellness event in London on 18 June 2019

This is just the tip of the iceberg of the topic I will be discussing at our Pharmacy, Health & Wellness event in London on the 18 June, where I will be joined by other presenters, including industry experts from Kantar and former eCommerce leaders and Omnichannel experts at Reckitt Benckiser and AS Watson, all covering important topics such as The Retailization of Healthcare, Success factors for your ePharmacy plans and Growth strategies for your key Pharmacy and Drug accounts.

By attending the event you’ll gain a comprehensive understanding of the current and future Drug and Pharmacy retail landscape in Europe; the latest trends from health & wellness to convenience, and how the growth of eCommerce is impacting this important sector of European retail. We'll examine what best practice looks like across brick and mortar and online and help you to identify growth opportunities for BPC and healthcare brands alike.

For more details and to find out how to register, go here.

I look forward to seeing you there!


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