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As Boots reports a thirteenth consecutive quarter of market share growth, with instore sales rising by 3.8% and digital transactions up almost 11% YoY, the Retail Media Report 2024 report looks at how Boots has not only cornered the UK market for health and wellbeing but is also becoming a trusted place for advertisers too. 

An exclusive company profile, authored by Paul Skeldon, tracks Boots Media Group (BMG) work to rapidly carve out a distinct niche within retail media since its inception in 2020. Owned by Walgreens Boots Alliance, BMG leverages the vast network of Boots pharmacies and healthcare expertise to offer targeted advertising solutions for health and wellness industry brands.

The retailer is a natural fit for retail media,having run its successful Advantage Card loyalty programme for decades, accruing 17mn users. With such a volume of rich, first-party consumer data, it can offer truly specialised inroads to a specific consumer segment.

The group has been hugely successful because of who Boots is. The retailer reaches the right audience, targeting health-conscious consumers actively seeking healthcare information and products. It also leverages its trusted reputation in the sector and its well-known – and loved – brand.

Its use of instore, both digital and non-digital, is another plus that forms an integral part of its highly successful omnichannel approach to customer experience which, despite the brand itself looking somewhat staid, is remarkably ahead of the digital curve. All this is exacerbated by the vast amount of loyalty data it possesses.

Measuring the success of its programme is harder to do, since Walgreens Boots Alliance doesn’t publicly disclose specific revenue figures for BMG. However, industry reports suggest BMG’s advertising revenue contributes significantly to the company’s overall revenue stream, which is estimated to be in the range of $20bn in 2023. At this level, even a 1% contribution from retail media would be significant, highlighting the growing importance of BMG’s targeted advertising solutions within the health and wellness space.

Looking ahead, the continued consumer focus on health and wellbeing is likely to drive further interest in Boots as a media proposition. The growing adoption of digital healthcare is also likely to help propel BMG forwards. BMG’s ability to combine this trusted healthcare expertise with data-driven advertising solutions positions them as a valuable partner for health and wellness brands.

However, it does face challenges. Advertising in the healthcare space is subject to strict regulations regarding data privacy and claims. BMG needs to ensure compliance with evolving regulations across both data and healthcare.

The burgeoning wellness industry is also set to push competition, with other pharmacies and online health platforms already developing their own advertising solutions. Similarly, consumer habits change, so BMG needs to maintain a competitive edge through innovation and audience insights.

What it offers
Boots Media Group offers a range of core advertising services, covering:

In-store advertising – Strategic placement of digital signage, shelf- edge displays and print materials within Boots stores.

Digital advertising – Targeted display and video ads across Boots’ website and app, reaching users researching health topics or browsing for health and beauty products.

Content Marketing – Creation of informative, engaging content, including articles and ‘how to…’ videos, which align with Boots’ trusted healthcare image and which can subtly promote relevant brands and products.

Data-driven targeting – Leveraging customer data from across its sites and its Advantage Card programme allows ads based on demographics and purchase history.

This profile is one of nine in the RetailX Retail Media 2024 report. It also looks at UK retailers such as Tesco, Co-op, Sainsbury’s, Superdrug and Currys. Globally, profile includes Walmart (US), Warehouse Group (NZ) and Call360 (Australia).

Drawing on ConsumerX research, third party data and value-chain testimonials, the report explains the concept of retail media networks, their evolution, how to leverage them from any point within the value-chain and where they go next.

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