Press Release: New SymphonyIRI Research Finds Path to Healthcare Savings is Often Paved with OTC Products

Press Release: New SymphonyIRI Research Finds Path to Healthcare Savings is Often Paved with OTC Products

Consumers Embracing Nutrition and Prevention as Key Components in Money-Saving Strategies; OTC Medications Play Key Role

CHICAGO, Oct. 14, 2010 – Spurred by a difficult economy, over-the-counter (OTC) medications are increasingly playing a dual role for consumers looking to minimize healthcare expenditures. The influencers and implications of this trend are explored in detail in newly published SymphonyIRI Group, Inc. research, titled “Over-the-Counter Medications: State of the Industry 2010.”

“The down economy has reinforced and escalated consumers’ quest for ‘the good life,’” said Susan Sakach, senior vice president, healthcare solutions, SymphonyIRI. “Consumers have long worked to establish and maintain wellness in order to have a high quality of life; however, today they are motivated by something else, too. Consumers are looking to stay well in order to alleviate burdensome medical expenses.”

Nutrition is having its day in the spotlight, with 74 percent of consumers indicating they are trying to eat better these days. While many consumers are using nutrition to achieve a specific goal, such as losing weight or controlling a special condition, 81 percent of consumers indicate that they are eating better because they want to stay healthy and avoid unnecessary medical expenses. But, OTC medications, particularly vitamins and supplements, also play a key role in consumers’ stay-well strategies. Two-thirds of consumers regularly use vitamins, while one-quarter and one-third of consumers take herbal supplements and omega-3s, respectively.

Today’s OTC users have a broader definition of prevention than in the past. For instance, 16 percent of consumers indicate they take allergy medication to prevent allergies. However, proactively taking allergy medication simply treats symptoms but doesn’t actually prevent the allergy. This disconnect is one example of an opportunity for allergy medication manufacturers to educate consumers about true prevention strategies. Other OTC categories present similar opportunities.

“For many consumers, OTC medications are a tool that allows them to maintain their hectic schedules despite having a chronic condition, such as allergies, or acute ailments, such as achy muscles,” continues Sakach. “OTC marketers are wise to consider this perspective when developing their communication strategy. Education provides for another level of communication with consumers.”

SymphonyIRI’s new research goes on to explore purchase and consumption patterns around OTC medications used to treat common ailments and conditions. From allergies to gastrointestinal distress, consumers are leveraging OTC medications to treat common ailments. Self-care is a powerful trend in today’s OTC arena. In fact, more than one-third of consumers today are visiting the doctor less frequently and self-treating to save on medical expenses. Nearly all of these consumers, 88 percent, will continue to do so even as the economy improves.

Economic Conditions Prompt Frugality with Staying-Power
The recession has had a profound impact on consumers’ OTC purchase patterns, shopping behaviors and OTC rituals. Many of these changes will remain long after consumers recover from the powerful economic shockwaves that have gripped the country for the past two years.

SymphonyIRI’s “Over-the-Counter Medications: State of the Industry 2010” provides a comprehensive view of these pervasive trends and offers retailers and manufacturers valuable insights into how to win share of wallet and build shopper loyalty by understanding and addressing consumers’ evolving needs and wants vis-à-vis OTC medications. This research addresses such critical questions as:

* How are consumers defining “treatment” versus “prevention?”
* Have OTC store brands gained traction?
* How has the economy influenced the consumer decision making process?
* Which medication attributes are in high demand?
* How can OTC manufacturers and retailers align marketing, merchandising and product development with this “new” consumer?

“Our research provides valuable insights into the motivators of OTC behavior and into changing consumption patterns escalated by a down economy,” concludes Sakach. “Healthcare manufacturers and retailers have an important opportunity to integrate these findings into their future product development, promotion, merchandising and marketing strategies.”

SymphonyIRI OTC Webinar
SymphonyIRI is offering a free webinar, entitled “Over-the-Counter Medications: State of the Industry 2010,” on October 28 at 12 p.m. CDT. The webinar will be hosted by Susan Sakach, senior vice president, healthcare solutions, SymphonyIRI. To register for the webinar, please visit:

About the Report
“Over-the-Counter Medications: State of the Industry 2010” is available from SymphonyIRI, the world’s leading innovation partner that enables CPG, retail and healthcare companies to create and maximize new opportunities. The report is a culmination of research that includes exclusive results from SymphonyIRI’s 2010 OTC Consumer Trends Survey, an online survey of 2,000 consumers conducted in June 2010 to assess attitudes towards OTC medications, OTC preferences, and primary shopper role in OTC habits and OTC purchases for other adults in the household, as well as a detailed analysis of data from SymphonyIRI’s InfoScan® Reviews and Shopper Insights™ Advantage. For more information on this report or to schedule a presentation, please contact Susan Sakach at

About SymphonyIRI Group, Inc.
SymphonyIRI Group, Inc., formerly named Information Resources, Inc. (“IRI”), is the global leader in innovative solutions and services for driving revenue and profit growth in CPG, retail and healthcare companies. SymphonyIRI offers two families of solutions: Core IRI solutions for market measurement and Symphony Advantage solutions for enabling new growth opportunities in marketing, sales, shopper marketing and category management. SymphonyIRI solutions uniquely combine content, analytics and technology to deliver maximum impact. SymphonyIRI helps companies create, plan and execute forward-looking, shopper-centric strategies across every level of the organization. For more information, visit

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SymphonyIRI Contacts:
John McIndoe
Phone: (312) 474-3862

Shelley Hughes
Phone: (312) 474-3675

Information Resources, Inc. (IRI)

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