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7 Coronavirus Retail Trends That Should Transform Your Front End

7 Coronavirus Retail Trends That Should Transform Your Front End

July 21, 2020

Inside: Embrace these in-demand products in your front end to stay profitable despite the pandemic. 

There’s no doubt about it: the economy is shrinking, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. Your patients might be facing economic uncertainty and keeping a tight grasp on their wallets.

But COVID-19 has also created new demand for certain products, and consumers are still spending money on these pandemic-proof trends.

Stock products from these seven categories, and you can move inventory through your front end throughout the challenging economy.

 1. Sleep aids

With the global pandemic bringing unprecedented stress, patients are struggling to get a good night’s sleep. The research firm IRI found that sales of sleeping remedies are up 17.9 percent from last year, and experts expect demand to stay high as the effects of coronavirus continue to loom.

Natural sleeping remedies are the top choice for patients looking to fall asleep and reduce anxiety, with melatonin leading the pack.

CBD is also gaining momentum as a natural sleep remedy. CBD sleep products range from capsules to lotions with botanical extracts, and patients tend to gravitate toward products that appear to have certifications and consistent manufacturing practices.

Patients aren’t just looking for products to help them fall asleep — snore products like nasal dilators and nasal filters that protect patients from pollutants while they sleep are also in demand. Throughout the category, patients are primarily seeking out non-medicated, natural products.

2. Hair care

People hoping to tame their wild locks while salons and barbershops were closed caused a spike in hair care sales this spring, and some experts think that consumers will continue to take care of their own hair as the pandemic continues. Hair products could be a good bet to boost front end sales at your pharmacy.

Hair color is unsurprisingly in demand, but other home grooming tools like grooming tools, scalp treatments, hair masks, extensions, and hair loss products have also seen new interest from consumers.

Though salons and barbershops have now reopened, many are booked full several weeks out, and some customers still have concerns about the ability to social distance while getting their hair done. Together, this means that many consumers are still dying and trimming their own hair.

Once consumers learn how to maintain their own hair, they may adopt those DIY habits for the long term, especially with the shrinking economy making people more price-conscious.

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3. Pet products

As the nation began to shelter place, pet products saw an uptick in demand. While this was partially a temporary spike, with pet owners making sure they had enough pet food or cat litter to last for a long quarantine, pet products could see an overall rise in demand due to coronavirus.

The idea of spending months in isolation prompted many Americans to adopt a furry friend to keep them company throughout the pandemic, creating a new, sustained demand for pet products like toys and grooming tools.

The U.S. Pet Market Outlook predicts that in 2020, the market for pet food will continue to grow 4 percent despite the recession. Since many people view their pets as a member of the family, pet products are often considered a necessity, and the category tends to remain steady even if the rest of the economy shrinks.

READ NEXT: How Pharmacies Can Gain a Share of the Profitable Veterinary Medicine Market

4. At-home entertainment

To maintain social distancing, your patients are probably looking for ways to keep themselves entertained from the comfort of their own home. Because of this, jigsaw puzzles have seen unprecedented demand. In the first weeks of the stay-at-home orders in the U.S., the puzzle maker Ravensburger saw a 370 percent spike in sales.

Card and board games have seen a similar increase in interest, and with uncertainty about whether children will be able to return to school in the fall, toys with educational benefits like Play-Doh could help parents keep their kids occupied.

With many community pools remaining closed for the summer, patients will be looking for ways to get their outdoor recreation fix from the comfort of their own home. Patients who have young children will be on the hunt for inflatable pools and pool accessories to help their kids stay cool throughout the summer season.

5. Pampering products

With patients washing their hands more than ever before, they are probably also dryer than ever before. Consumers are on the lookout for hand creams that will repair their dry skin and protect their fingernails from damage.

Cosmetics sales are suffering while many women work from home and other women forgo their makeup routines because they are wearing masks. However, nail care products like fingernail polish have seen a 218 percent increase in sales compared to last year, as it is impossible for patients to maintain six feet of social distancing while visiting a nail salon.

Self-care products that help people relax during this stressful time have also seen an increase in sales, so make sure your pharmacy is well-stocked with items like scented candles, aromatherapy, bath bombs, and sheet masks.

6. Immunity-boosting supplements

Patients are seeking out any way they can to protect themselves from coronavirus, and the market for immunity supplements has grown during the pandemic. Supplements like elderberry, Vitamin C, oregano oil, and zinc are in high demand, but even supplements that aren’t marketed specifically to boost immunity are seeing a bump in sales.

In addition to patients who are new to supplements, those who already had a supplement regimen may be more adherent now that there’s a persistent health threat, causing them to restock more often than they used to.

7. Cleaning products

Even though the market has been saturated with hand sanitizer after an initial buying frenzy, people are still on the hunt for cleaning products like disinfectant sprays and sanitizing wipes.

The EPA found that Lysol Disinfectant Spray will kill coronavirus on non-porous surfaces, and many patients are cleaning their homes and personal spaces more regularly in order to prevent the spread of the virus.

Market research suggests that demand for sanitizing wipes will continue to grow through at least 2027 as people focus more on cleanliness.


An Independently Owned Organization Serving Independent Pharmacies 

PBA Health is dedicated to helping independent pharmacies reach their full potential on the buy side of their business. The company is a member-owned organization that serves independent pharmacies with group purchasing services, expert contract negotiations, proprietary purchasing tools, distribution services, and more.

An HDA member, PBA Health operates its own NABP-accredited (formerly VAWD) warehouse with more than 6,000 SKUs, including brands, generics, narcotics CII-CV, cold-storage products, and over-the-counter (OTC) products.

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