Drivers and Barriers Within the Purchase of OTC-medicines: A Mixed-method Study on Danish Consumers’ Purchase of OTC-medicines, and the Influence of Brand Awareness and Consumer Involvement

Sonya Rasmussen

Student thesis: Master thesis


Consumers may once have been considered passive recipients of healthcare services, but they are now playing an active role in making their own healthcare decisions. As the paradigm have shifted from being physician- to patient-centered, consumers have gradually become health-conscious and as a result, the ways of making decisions might have changed too. This development suggests a need for exploring the drivers behind the consumers’ purchase of OTC-medicines.
The thesis aims to study, through an explanatory sequential mixed method research, the key parameters driving Danish consumers’ purchase of OTC-medicines. Specifically, the research examines important attributes in product choice and key drivers and barriers in the choice of distribution channel. Additionally, the thesis investigates how the level of consumer involvement and brand awareness influences the consumer in the purchase. An online survey was conducted in the first phase of the mixed method research, and the results were subsequently explored through 10 in-depth interviews.
The study suggests that the overall key drivers within the choice of distribution channel are Trust, Quality, Convenience, and Price, whereas the most significant barriers discovered include Location, Expensive Price, Lack of Guidance, and Trust. The findings indicate that older consumers are less-price sensitive, and that women tend to perceive higher importance in recommendations from close relationships, compared to men. The findings support previous research in the notion that brand awareness plays a significant role in the purchase of low-involvement products. Also, the findings indicate consumers tend to use brand awareness as a heuristic when purchasing OTC-medicines.
The findings propose that consumers generally consider OTC-medicines low-involvement products, however, related with a higher degree of psychological risk compared to regular low involvement products. Moreover, it is suggested that the level of involvement depends on the perceived risk experienced by the consumer. The findings reveal that the female interviewees tend to perceive a higher risk in the purchase of analgesics and cough and cold remedies, and consequently demonstrates a higher level of involvement than the male interviewees.

EducationsCand.merc.smc Strategic Market Creation, (Graduate Programme) Final Thesis
Publication date2020
Number of pages81