Unconditional Expenditure

Editor’s Note: The following brief article by Barry Urquhart has been included as a baseline for pharmacists to consider what “unconditional markets” they may be associated with from within their pharmacy.
Barry talks about the metrics of pet food as being one example. Would not pet medicines fit into a similar category?
And what about babycare? Always a strong market for pharmacy is the 0-5 years category.
Should this merit a fresh look in these difficult times?
What other “unconditional markets” exist and how should a pharmacy’s display or promotion reflect these markets? What constitutes an “unconditional market?
All worthy questions for pharmacists alert to opportunity.
Expenditure on pet food and care has established itself as the fast-growing and most resilient of household outlays since the onset of the Global Financial Crisis (GFC) in August, 2008.
Each year Australians spend some $280 billion in mainstream retail expenditure.  Pet-related purchases currently total $12 billion per year.  This compares favourably to “Pester-Power” which is estimated to influence or determine some $110 million of annual retail sales.
Outlays on pets appear to be primarily driven by emotion and are not constrained by budgets.
Veterinarian surgeries are one of the major beneficiaries of the trend.  Medical operations costing thousands of dollars are not unusual and progressive veterinary businesses strive to achieve 50% of turnover being derived from retail products, rather than from consultation fees and the dispensing of medicinals.
These are among key findings of an extensive series of qualitative and quantitative research conducted by Barry Urquhart of Marketing Focus.  He said:
“The unconditional love given by pets is being returned in spades with unconditional expenditures by their owners.
In many instances, emotion is the key driving force.
The packaging of pet food is interesting.  Prime-colours, typically associated with child-related products are used extensively.  In this instance, the targeted audience is the customer (the pet owner) rather than the consumer – the pet.  (Dogs are, after-all, colour-blind.)  Interestingly, the average shelf space allocated to pet food, care and treats is 31 metres (lineal).  That is marginally less than the provisions for dairy products and the combined fruit and vegetables.
Labradors and white, trimmed terriers predominate in the point-of-purchase merchandising and packaging.  Use of the words “Gourmet”, “Premium” and “Premier” in product packaging is an effective means to influence selection.
Overall, the sales of discretionary items, including homeware furniture, as well as fashion have declined and fluctuated since the GFC.  Pet-food, treats and care have seemingly been relatively immune to those market influences.”
Kind regards,
Barry Urquhart
Marketing Focus
M:      041 983 5555
E:       Urquhart@marketingfocus.net.au
W:      www.marketingfocus.net.au

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