August 9, 2002, 12:00 AM

Sales to older consumers are growing faster than total sales at Drugstore

Sales are strong in Drugstore.com`s "senior-related products." Some categories are growing at 60% or better for the year.

Kurt Peters

Executive Editor

As the Internet becomes a mainstream shopping medium, online shoppers are reflecting more closely the general population. The latest evidence: Drugstore.com Inc. says sales are strong in its "senior-related product groups" purchased by older consumers and their caretakers. "This is a strong indicator that more seniors and caretakers are adopting the Internet," a spokeswoman says.

Among the hot items that Drugstore counts in its senior-related products group are home health-care products, at-home health tests and medical devices. Unit sales of home health tests, including tests for cholesterol, blood pressure and colon cancer, rose 53% in July over July last year. Medical equipment, including pill reminders, canes and other products, rose 68% in unit sales. Sales of incontinence products for adults have risen 60% this year. The growth of senior products outstrips the growth of total sales at Drugstore.com, where sales were up 37% in the first half vs. last year.

"As mirrored by general population trends, seniors are one of the fastest-growing sectors of the Internet and that is translating into increased online sales of products geared toward older Americans," said Julie Johnston, director of merchandising for health and personal care.

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