Study sheds light on medication buying behavior

A national research study by VetInsite Analytics shows declining veterinary sales of flea/tick and heartworm products combined with high awareness among buyers of alternative channels for purchasing products.

The study is based on data collected in 2010.

Owners of 37% of dogs in the study purchased heartworm from veterinarians, ranging from nearly half (47%) in Texas to only 18% on the West Coast.

Owners of 33% of dogs in the study purchased flea or tick preventives from veterinarians, ranging from 44% in Florida to only 6% in the mostly arid and mountainous region of the Western states.

Heartworm sales for cats in the study were dramatically less, with owners of only 13% of cat owners in the study purchasing heartworm preventives from their veterinarians. This ranged from a high of 20% in Texas and Florida to only 3% in the western mountain region.

Flea/tick purchases were also significantly lower than those for dogs, with 24% of owners of cats purchasing flea/tick preventives from their veterinarians, ranging from about 30% in Texas and Florida down to only 4% in the western mountain region.

VetInsite surveyed pet owners regarding their purchasing behavior for flea/tick and heartworm preventives as well as NSAIDs for pain management.

Dog owners are more likely than cat owners to make these purchases from their veterinarians, with 44% of dog owners and 32% of cat owners saying they purchase their flea/tick, heartworm and NSAID purchases directly from the veterinarian.

More cat owners than dog owners purchased these products from alternative channels (29% of cat owners versus 28% of dog owners).

About the same percentage of both cat and dog owners purchase flea/tick, heartworm and NSAID products from both veterinarian and alternate channels (29% and 28%, respectively).

Alternative channels include pet specialty stores, such as PETCO or PetSmart; online pet stores or pharmacies; mass merchandisers or discount stores (such as Wal-Mart), and others.

Veterinarians and veterinary technicians are the most frequently consulted source on flea/tick medication.

Among those who purchase from alternative channels, friends and colleagues are a leading source of information, followed by pet store staff or websites.

Because consumers trust veterinarians and staff, they have a significant degree of influence over purchasing decisions. Veterinarians must actively communicate and educate their clients to strengthen the relationship and continue to add value, the study’s authors conclude.

To see the data in more detail, click here.


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