Walmart has recently revealed they’ve been experiencing a drastic change in customer shopping habits. One theory to explain this comes from U.S. operations CEO, John Furner, who believes it’s due to the rising popularity of weight-loss drugs such as Wegovy and Ozempic.
According to the retail giant’s own research, they’ve noticed a change in the shopping pattern of customers who’ve been supplementing with appetite suppressant medications. Furner further states that there’s been a sizable reduction in the overall size of the shopping basket for those taking medications such as Wegovy and Ozempic.
Over the past few years, Walmart has been analyzing its customers’ shopping patterns. The retail giant has used the collected data to compare the buying habits of those who take weight-loss durgs and those who do not. They’ve been able to come to some conclusions based on their research.
Those on the previously mentioned medications buy fewer items in store, and they see a reduction in overall caloric intake. However, the retail chain does admit it’s still premature to draw certain conclusions about the effects of the drugs on consumer behavior.
Speaking to news outlets, Funer said, “We definitely do see a slight change compared to the total population, we do see a slight pullback in overall basket. Just less units, slightly less calories.”
The pharmacies within many of the Walmart stores have been stocking various GLP-1 drugs, a particular category that includes weight-management medication such as Ozempic.
Walmart has revealed they’ve seen a significant impact on their revenue thanks to the introduction of such medication. The sales of weight loss drugs increased by over 300% between 2020 and 2022, according to Trilliant Health, and the retail chain has dramatically benefited from the surge in sales.
During a meeting with the analysts, The President of Walmart, Doug McMillion, revealed that they believe certain departments will see a dramatic increase in sales due to the surge in popularity of GLP-1 drugs.
McMillion said, “We still expect food, consumables, and health and wellness primarily due to the popularity of some GLP-1 drugs to grow as a percent of the total in the back half.”
Chief Financial Officer John David Rainey noticed an unusual phenomenon associated with those who use weight-loss medication. According to him, customers using such drugs tend to spend more time in stores despite purchasing fewer food items.
Such a phenomenon has caught the attention of other major retail stores and investors. CEOs from various companies, including Kellanova, who are behind brands such as Cheez-its and Pringles, are also debating studying the effects such weight loss drugs have on consumers.
Yet, as it stands, Walmart and other companies looking into the correlation between weight-management drugs and customer shopping patterns are still in it’s early days. They openly admit that a lot more research will need to be carried out before they can begin to say for sure precisely what drugs affect customer’s choices in store.