SURVEY: PRICE GIVES VITAMIN SALES A LIFT

Consumers are just as likely to buy vitamins in supermarkets as they are in drug stores and mass merchant outlets, but the chances of attracting vitamin shoppers increase if the products are competitively priced.0 consumers polled by telephone, all three channels pulled about the same number of vitamin shoppers, with 22% going to supermarkets, 23% going to discount stores and another 23% shopping

Consumers are just as likely to buy vitamins in supermarkets as they are in drug stores and mass merchant outlets, but the chances of attracting vitamin shoppers increase if the products are competitively priced.

0 consumers polled by telephone, all three channels pulled about the same number of vitamin shoppers, with 22% going to supermarkets, 23% going to discount stores and another 23% shopping at drug outlets. Of the remainder, 14% said they purchased their vitamins through other channels, such as mail order, natural food stores or warehouse clubs, and 18% said they don't buy vitamins at all.

In examining vitamin buying habits, price was the determining factor in most purchases. The cost of vitamins was classified as important by nearly six in 10 shoppers, and more than half of those called the price very important. When those not currently buying vitamins from supermarkets were asked what would make them switch, price again dominated the answers. Special price was cited by 39.4%, and everyday low price by 19% as a motivation to change from their current vitamin source.

Both branded and private-label vitamins were preferred choices by consumers. Just over a third, 34.4%, bought national-brand vitamins, 25.4% chose private label, and 22.3% bought both branded and store-brand vitamins. The remainder did not buy any vitamins.

The average American household spends $66.44 every year on vitamins, according to this national study, with supermarkets receiving a third, $22.72, of those dollars. More than half the shoppers said they are buying about the same amount of vitamins now that they were two years ago. The survey indicated that consumers do not make impulse purchases when it comes to vitamins. Nearly half reported they buy vitamins when they run out, rather than buying multiple bottles or stocking up ahead of time.

Vitamin consumers aren't likely to experiment with exotic or new types of vitamins either. Nearly half, 45.6%, said they are unlikely to try new or exotic types of vitamins like shark cartilage or garlic. Other findings relative to vitamins: 24.8% said the presence in the store of a trained expert on vitamins was not important to them; 31.7% considered the availability of pamphlets and information somewhat important if an expert was not available.

HBC CONSUMER SURVEY

A Close Battle

Supermarkets are in a tight race with drug stores and mass merchants to win over the vitamin shopper.

Where Shoppers Usually Purchase Vitamins

Supermarket 22%

Discount Store 23%

Other 14%

Don't Buy 18%

Drug 23%

The Price Is Vital

Consumers say price is the primary force that drives them into vitamin departments, while a good selection remained a strong secondary factor.

What Drives Shoppers to Buy Vitamins

Special Price 39%

Everyday Low Price 19%

Good Selection 19%

Don't Buy 14%

Impulse Appeal 5%

Valuable Coupon 4%