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The rise (and rise) of Chemist Warehouse

Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Apr 2008 – Mar 2013, average annual sample =19,490
It’s an ambitious motto: “We beat everyone’s prices.” But if Chemist Warehouse’s dizzying trajectory over the last five years is any indication, they’re not exaggerating. And not only are they beating prices, they’re beating the competition good and proper. So who’s being hit hardest by this retailer’s rise? The latest results from Roy Morgan Research suggest that Amcal should be concerned.

In the five years to March 2013, the proportion of Australians aged 14+ who shop at Chemist Warehouse in an average four-week period has more than doubled from 10% to 21%. Compare this to Amcal’s flagging fortunes: from 13% to 9% of the population over the same period.

Chemist Warehouse’s growing popularity hasn’t had such a profound impact on other well-known pharmacies and chemists. Retailers such as Chemmart, Guardian, My Chemist, Priceline and Terry White have experienced more gradual declines over the same period of time. Discount Drug Stores is the only other chain to have gained slightly in popularity.

Chemists/Pharmacies bought from in last four weeks


Source: Roy Morgan Single Source (Australia), Apr 2008 – Mar 2013, average annual sample =19,490 (Note: Amcal includes Amcal Max)

Geoffrey Smith, General Manager – Consumer Products, Roy Morgan Research, says:

“For many years Amcal was Australia’s leading pharmacy group but that title is now firmly held by Chemist Warehouse.

“Pharmacists continue to rank highly in Roy Morgan’s annual survey measuring the honesty and ethics of 30 professions (coming second only to doctors). While the reputation of pharmacists isn’t in question, the role of the pharmacy has evolved. There’s increasingly less focus on prescriptions and more on categories such as vitamins and cosmetics. These growth categories are well suited to self-service and online retailing.

“A glance at the Amcal and Chemist Warehouse websites highlights a clear retail focus at Chemist Warehouse (Father’s Day fragrances and free shipping for purchases over $30) and a more traditional health focus at Amcal with links to Health Management, Weight Management and the Amcal Health Club.

“As pharmacy groups compete to retain and attract customers, understanding the changing needs of consumers and how they like to shop has never been more critical.”

Click here to view our extensive range of Chemist/Pharmacy Store Customer Profiles, including Chemist Warehouse customers, Chemmart customers, Priceline customers and more. These profiles provide a broad understanding of the target audience, in terms of demographics, attitudes, activities and media usage in Australia.

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For comments or more information please contact:

Geoffrey Smith, General Manager — Consumer Products

Office: +61 (2) 9261 8233

Mobile:  +61 413 844 732


About Roy Morgan Research

Roy Morgan Research is the largest independent Australian research company, with offices in each state of Australia, as well as in New Zealand, the United States and the United Kingdom. A full service research organisation specialising in omnibus and syndicated data, Roy Morgan Research has over 70 years’ experience in collecting objective, independent information on consumers.

In Australia, Roy Morgan Research is considered to be the authoritative source of information on financial behaviour, readership, voting intentions and consumer confidence. Roy Morgan Research is a specialist in recontact customised surveys which provide invaluable and effective qualitative and quantitative information regarding customers and target markets.

Margin of Error

The margin of error to be allowed for in any estimate depends mainly on the number of interviews on which it is based. Margin of error gives indications of the likely range within which estimates would be 95% likely to fall, expressed as the number of percentage points above or below the actual estimate. Allowance for design effects (such as stratification and weighting) should be made as appropriate.

Sample Size

Percentage Estimate


25% or 75%

10% or 90%

5% or 95%