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Brits Add Six Billion Pain Relief Pills to Shopping Baskets

Brits Add Six Billion Pain Relief Pills to Shopping Baskets

Research Indicates Growth in Self-Medication and a Continued Return
to the Local Pharmacy

Bracknell, U.K, 7th March 2012 – The latest pharmaceutical and retail sales trends from SymphonyIRI Group, the leading consumer goods and retail market measurement and insight consultancy, identifies a 4.1 per cent growth in the sales of pain relief pills by volume year on year. This equates to almost six billion adult oral analgesics being bought by Britons in 2011.

The total number of pills purchased in the period December 2010 to December 2011, is 5,946,988,544. This is a 2.4 per cent increase in the value of sales year on year, with purchases being made in major multiple grocery retailers, chemists (including high street and independent pharmacies) and other retailers, which include independent grocers, for example.

The results of the research also indicate the impact that is being made by the retailer’s own label on national well-known brands, as more and more consumers choose to add own label Ibuprofen and Paracetamol products to their shopping baskets at the major multiple retailers. As medication gets cheaper and becomes so readily accessible, more than 62 per cent of pills purchased were own label as opposed to well-known brands – nearly two thirds by volume sales but only one third by value sales.

“But brands are fighting back to reclaim their share of the market,” explained Martin Wood, Business Director of Health at SymphonyIRI Group. “Consumers develop trust in certain brands as they offer familiarity. If a brand is associated with a product that works well, and it is widely available, the consumer is less likely to switch to an unfamiliar product that might not work. Brands, such as Nurofen, have used innovation - such as new pill formats; new packs and formulations like the Nuromol drug combination launched this year.”

The research also shows a preference for Ibuprofen-based products over paracetamol-based products and an increase in uptake of soluble solutions, such as Solpadeine.

Encouraging results from the research report show that the number of people purchasing medication at their local independent pharmacy has remained static for the second year running, rather than declining as it has been doing for so many years.

Martin Wood added, “The continued return to the local pharmacy for two years’ running is reflective of the current climate and subsequent shopper behaviour. As we experience the impact of the recession that is causing a rise in unemployment and more people with less money and more time, we see an increase in visits to the doctors and the submission of prescriptions at the local chemist, where additional purchases are made whilst in-store. Also, we have seen a trend for consumers to be more inclined to buy medication as and when they need it and that means a quick trip to the local high street..


Notes to editors:

About SymphonyIRI Group
SymphonyIRI Group, formely named Information Resources, Inc (“IRI”) is the global leader in innovative solutions and services for driving revenue and profit growth in CPG, retail and healthcare companies. SymphonyIRI offers two families of solutions: core solutions for market measurement and Symphony AdvantageTM solutions for enabling new growth opportunities in marketing, sales, shopper marketing and category management. SymphonyIRI solutions uniquely combine content, analytics and technology to deliver maximum impact. SymphonyIRI helps companies create, plan and execute forward-looking, shopper-centric strategies across every level of the organisation.

For more information, visit: or follow on twitter: @symphIRL_Intl.

To view the research, please contact:

Jeanette Field
UK Marketing Manager
SymphonyIRI Group
Tel: +77 (0)7748 770 636


Teresa Horscroft
Eureka Communications
Tel: +44 1420 564346
Mobile: +44 7990 520390

This press release was distributed by ResponseSource Press Release Wire on behalf of Eureka Communications in the following categories: Health, Medical & Pharmaceutical, Retail & Fashion, for more information visit