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Health Economics and Management

Consumer Preferences for Pharmacy in Highly Competitive Environment

Maria Rohova, Antoniya Dimova, Elka Atanasova, Zhana Rangelova


Introduction. In recent years, the pharmacy market in Bulgaria is dynamically developing with increasing
concentration of retailers in the big cities. The aim of this study is to analyse the factors influencing consumer choice of a pharmacy in a highly competitive environment.

Materials and Method. The study was conducted among 433 consumers in the city of Varna between February and April 2017. Direct anonymous inquiries were used to investigate consumer opinion, including factors affecting the choice of a pharmacy and over-the-counter medicines.

Results and Discussion. The results show that the majority of the respondents attend relatively regular pharmacies - at least once a month or more frequently. For purchase of food supplements, over 50% of consumers prefer pharmacy versus drugstores and non-pharmacy retailers. Geographic proximity and price level are reported as most important factors in pharmacy choice. Counselling by qualified staff is important to 65% of respondents and could be interpreted as a factor stimulating re-selection of the retailer. Product range and competitive prices also have an impact on loyalty. For the purchase of over-the-counter drugs and food supplements, respondents rely heavily on the recommendation of a doctor (48%) or a pharmacist (37%), who in this case form and predetermine consumers` choice.

Conclusions. The intensity of competition is often associated with a price reduction or higher differentiation between market players. Analysing the factors and motives of consumer choice in a highly competitive environment is crucial for successful positioning and market performance of pharmacies.


pharmacy; consumer preferences; competition; consumer choice; loyalty;

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