To help homeopathic manufacturers and marketers best serve consumers during this unusual time in history, AAHP surveyed nearly 600 dedicated homeopathy users. The results might surprise you. Consumers who shared information regarding their attitudes about homeopathy, their buying habits both before and during COVID, as well as their plans in a post-pandemic economy.
About the Survey and Panel
Consumers completed the survey during quarantine from late June to mid-July 2002. Reporting in nearly real time during the pandemic, AAHP hosted a complimentary virtual panel with three leaders of homeopathic consumer groups weighing in on the data.
A full version of the report is complimentary to AAHP members and available to non-members for $100. Opinions of core homeopathic shoppers, like those we surveyed here, as opposed to mainstream consumers, help identify how retailers in the food, drug, and mass channels have opportunities to better serve and attract the natural channel shopper. It’s all about convenience — as we will see.
Shoppers are Happy with Homeopathic Products…
Unlike for conventional OTCs that are mostly purchased as necessary, 91% of core homeopathic consumers stocked the products in their household which means manufacturers have an opportunity to increase purchases with coupons (according to 85%) and price sales (according to 77%).
Our research found that 95% of survey participants are satisfied with homeopathic remedies. Aside from efficacy, the most commonly cited reasons for customer satisfaction were:
- Safer choice with no known drug interactions and fewer side effects;
- Natural active ingredients; and
- Can be taken by the whole family.
In fact, when asked about deterrents to purchase more, most respondents said that “there’s nothing I dislike” about homeopathic products, followed by the frustration of finding the products. This presents a great opportunity for retailers to attract natural shoppers by expanding their homeopathic offerings.
Convenient Shopping is Key
Whether you’re trying to reach your current audience or convert new buyers into dedicated homeopathy users, the best advice is to meet them where they are. Modern consumers are strapped for time.
Despite that this targeted audience overwhelmingly stated they still purchase their homeopathic medicines in natural and specialty stores, “convenience” was by far the top reason for shopping in their favorite store, followed by other time-savers (product assortment availability and ease of finding the product in the store). “Best price” ranked only a distance fourth. Again this shows an opportunity for other retailers with more locations to offer the convenience of one-stop-shopping to the homeopathic consumer.
The survey also showed other retailers could attract these natural shoppers with product selection, knowledgeable staff and better navigation through large stores.
Go Beyond the ‘Natural’ Section
AAHP’s survey reinforced that consumers shop by “structure-function,” that is, they will first go to a section for cough and cold if sick as opposed to first looking in a special natural section of a mainstream store. Work to have your products first displayed among allopathic medications but pitch the opportunity for an additional placement if there is a vitamin or natural section. Doubling product placement will raise awareness of the medicine to those unfamiliar with it while it helps loyal users conveniently find it.
COVID-19 & Online Shopping
During the COVID quarantine, it was assumed that much shopping moved online. The survey offered some insight: 1) General online retailers like Amazon were preferred; 2) Among these natural shoppers, online retailers specific for health products weren’t far behind; and 3) a third of the respondents said they didn’t shop online for homeopathic products.
To account for online shoppers, be sure to make your products available to be purchased in a virtual environment. Interestingly, when it comes to online shopping, price is ranked as a slightly higher consideration than convenience. This is perhaps due to shipping charges for small orders or the ease of comparison shopping.
Another surprising fact: nearly half of the respondents said they will return to their normal shopping habits after COVID. This is welcome news for brick and mortar stores. However, 18% say they will now buy most or all of their homeopathic medicine online in the future.
Last, for short-term planning purposes, 33% stated they stocked up on their favorite products during the quarantine. Manufactures should watch for pantry-load situations in the third and fourth quarters.
If Amazon remains the primary site for online homeopathic purchases, consumers will need online resources to answer questions about homeopathy. There’s an opportunity to help further develop educational programs and partner with trusted networks of professionals such as those participating in the AAHP panel discussion: Holistic Moms Network, Joette Calabrese, and the National Center for Homeopathy. More education and increasing convenience may help increase the consumption of homeopathic products in the future.