Two-thirds of drugstore shoppers are stopping into chain stores like CVS, Walgreens, Rite Aid or independent drugstores for merchandise other than prescription drugs at least once a month — with 26% of those shopping weekly or more and 5% shopping “almost every day,” according to results of a March 2023 survey of 1,102 U.S. adults, split equally male and female, by Advantage Solutions.

Still, if drugstore shoppers’ behavior mirrors their intention, the channel won’t experience significant gains in traffic in the next six months, as about one-fifth of chain drugstore shoppers anticipate making more frequent trips and the same amount say they expect to shop at these locations less frequently, according to “Beyond the Pharmacy,” based on the results of the latest Advantage Solutions Pulse Survey.

Among the report’s highlights:

  • When it comes to drugstores’ biggest pull — their pharmacies — shoppers aren’t sticking to the channel to fill their prescriptions. While nearly two-thirds (64%) say they regularly buy prescribed medications inside a brick-and-mortar drugstore, almost one-third (32%) say they typically pick up their prescriptions at a mass merchandiser location and close to one-fifth (17%) are using grocery store pharmacies.
  • Despite their popularity for prescription filling, drugstores aren’t shoppers’ top choice for over-the-counter medications or other healthcare and personal care items. Nearly six in 10 U.S. adults (58%) who shop at least once a year at drugstores regularly choose a mass merchandiser for these items. About half say they regularly buy these products at drugstores and one-fourth say they typically buy these items at supermarkets.
  • Mass merchandisers are also winning in the beauty category; nearly six in 10 drugstore shoppers regularly buy beauty items at mass merchandiser stores. Almost 30% say they typically buy these items at drugstores and/or beauty stores. About one-fifth frequently buy them at supermarkets and about the same amount frequently purchase them online.
  • As more retailers offer low-cost, basic healthcare services, close to half (45%) of adults said they’d be somewhat or very likely to visit a clinic inside a drugstore for non-emergency treatment or healthcare advice. Four in 10 are likely to visit a clinic inside a mass merchandiser and three in 10 say they’re likely to visit a health clinic at a supermarket.
  • Shopping for the most competitive drug prices, one in five surveyed adults participate in a prescription discount service, such as GoodRx.
Download the Report