Hispanic surge bodes well for retail pharmacy

The U.S. Hispanic population is projected to reach 128.8 million by 2060, or more than 30% of the U.S. population. This could bode especially well for purveyors of health products and services in the pharmacy setting. According to PricewaterhouseCoopers’ Health Research Institute, perhaps more than any other consumer group, Hispanics are cost-conscious, mobile savvy and do not necessarily seek health care within the traditional $2.8 trillion U.S. healthcare system.

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In fact, Hispanics are less likely than other consumers to use a doctor as their primary caregiver when facing a non-emergency condition (66% vs. 76%). The key attribute that makes the Hispanic demographic so critical to retail pharmacy operators is the fact that Hispanic health consumers are open to means of care that are an alternative to seeing a doctor. This means they’re not only shopping the OTC aisles more often, but Hispanic consumers also are more likely to frequent retail clinics.

"According to PwC research, nearly one-fifth of Hispanics said they are already using an app or the Internet to make medical appointments. ”

According to the HRI Hispanic consumer survey, 57% of Hispanic consumers have utilized a retail clinic at least once, vs. 45% of non-Hispanics. “They may postpone or delay going to see a physician, but they may be open to seeking alternatives or alternative sources of care, whether it’s at a retail clinic or at a pharmacy,” said Frank Lemmon, strategy and operations principal for PricewaterhouseCoopers. There could be a number of factors driving that decision, Lemmon said, such as the value associated with the healthcare visit or the credence associated with pharmacy. “Because pharmacies are so prevalent in many Latin American countries, there’s more trust in the pharmacy and the pharmacist to treat their condition than there is in any sort of medical institution.”

On average, cost is most important to Hispanics when it comes to care, while quality is most important for non-Hispanics. Approximately 46% of Hispanics vs. 35% of non-Hispanics consider cost most important; 53% of non-Hispanics vs. 42% of Hispanics consider quality most important.

Hispanics also are more likely with download coupons to a phone than other consumers (25% compared with 17%). PwC suggested this might be an opportunity for pharmaceutical companies and retail pharmacies to improve medication adherence by making prescription discounts accessible by mobile devices.

Overall, more Hispanics than non-Hispanics use social media, mobile apps and Internet searches to find information about their medical care, and Hispanics are more likely to be influenced by the information when making decisions about care.

According to PwC research, nearly one-fifth of Hispanics said they are already using an app or the Internet to make medical appointments. Another 31% said they would be very willing to. “For many of them, mobile is their only access to the Internet, so it’s the way they’re using technology to connect [to] social groups,” Lemmon said.

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