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Survey: Consumers may get early start on holiday shopping due to economic outlook

BY Allison Cerra

AUSTIN, Texas — It seems that consumers’ outlook on the economy is influencing how they will shop this upcoming holiday season, according to a new survey.

Conducted by online coupon site RetailMeNot.com, the survey reviewed shopping attitudes and behaviors of consumers and found that only 3% of respondents felt that the economy is in "good shape," 70% of respondents have a dismal view on the economy and 1-in-4 are worried about future purchases. These findings may point to how consumers will shop for the remainder of the year, including this year’s holiday season, RetailMeNot.com said.

"Our most recent survey looked at how consumers plan to shop for the remainder of the year. We believe a lackluster economy combined with high demand for discounts while shopping will lead to more frequent and higher first-time use of coupons over time," said Kristen Remeza, editor-in-chief of RetailMeNot Insider.

The survey noted the following shopping behaviors for the upcoming holiday shopping period:

  • Nearly 4-out-of-10 of respondents (39%) start their holiday shopping before November. Additionally, women are more likely than men to start their shopping earlier than November (46% versus 31%);

  • Almost one-quarter of respondents (23%) said they start shopping in early November, 12% wait to start shopping until Black Friday/Cyber Monday and only 15% wait until after Cyber Monday to begin shopping;

  • 54% of respondents finish their holiday shopping sometime between Black Friday and when they actually give away the gift during the holidays.

  • Nearly 1-in-3 respondents (32%) said they are done with their holiday shopping by the end of Cyber Monday. What’s more, women were more likely than men to say they tend to finish their holiday shopping after Cyber Monday (58% versus 50%); and

  • 59% of consumers still prefer to do their holiday shopping in-store versus online (31%).

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Q.bel Foods adds whole grain crispy chocolate wafers to portfolio

BY Allison Cerra

NYACK, New York — Q.bel Foods has introduced its whole grain chocolate wafer bars.

Q.bel whole grain crispy chocolate wafers, which will launch next month, are available in five flavors, including: Double Dark 70% Cacao, Minty Mint 70% Cacao, Silky Dark 55% Cacao, Peanut Buttery 36% Cacao and Simply Milk 36% Cacao.

Q.bel whole grain crispy chocolate wafers have a suggested retail of $1.29 to $1.49 each.

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Introducing DSN Patient Views

BY Rob Eder

Can you feel that? 


It’s the seismic shift that currently is occurring in health care in this country. And really, it’s just a tremor. The intense stuff isn’t expected to hit until 2014.


That’s why we’re creating “Patient Views” (see page 6), a new department that will be featured Upfront in every issue of DSN and in every edition of our daily 
e-newsletter, DSN A.M.

But let me back up here. Let’s look at health reform for a second, and for once let’s not only focus on the 32 million Americans that will be formally introduced to the healthcare system. It also is projected that millions of Americans, who today have perfectly good insurance, will likely be dumped into the exchanges as well, as many employers do the math and figure it’s cheaper to cut benefits and just pay the penalty.


Beyond that, it also is expected that new plan designs will put increasingly more of the onus on the patient to think more like a consumer — to seek the least expensive options for care, or shoulder the extra cost themselves. This will create opportunities for nontraditional competitors to step in to create new, lower-cost alternatives, the likes of which we already have begun to see with retail clinics, expanded pharmacy services, urgent care and more.


In this environment, all providers are going to be measured and compensated by the quality of the care that they deliver. All of health care will become an outcomes-based business. It’s also going to set off a whole new wave of competition for the patient — and really a whole new dimension by which to compete.


This will create new opportunities for unique partnerships; the accountable care organization model will create teams of providers working in conjunction to improve patient outcomes. But there also will be competition to become a part of an ACO. Networks will continue to narrow. Is your company in or out?


For all of the opportunity that will be created for retail pharmacy and retail clinics, there is no denying that this business will become more complex than it has ever been.


That’s why we’re doing Patient Views. To thrive in this brave new age of “healthcare retailization,” you’re going to need to be able to see around corners. You need better information — as up-to-the-minute as you can get it — about what patients are thinking and how that impacts the way they utilize health care, and inevitably how they shop your stores, if they shop your stores and where your brands fit into their lives.


That’s why we have partnered with 
AccentHealth, whose extensive reach into physicians’ offices all across the country has created a panel of thousands of patients (see Q&A here). We can ask them anything we want. Patient Views is how you’re going to keep up with it all.


What do you want to know? If you could ask thousands of patients anything at all to help you see around the corners into the future of health care, what would you ask them? Email me at reder@lf.com and let me know.


Rob Eder is the editor in chief of The Drug Store News Group, publishers of Drug Store News, DSN Collaborative Care, and Specialty Pharmacy magazines. You can contact him at reder@lf.com.

MORE ARTICLES FROM ROB EDER >

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