Market Research

Mishka Thacker
9 min readSep 17, 2019

Product Intro

The product that I will be focusing on for this semester of Creative Design Methods is a pill organizer. A pill organizer is a basic tool used to organize pills for each day of the week. An illustrated overview is provided below:

Illustrated overview of a pill organizer

A pill organizer does not contain many components to it, since it is just a container split into different compartments (typically 7). To get some more background before I conducted my market research, I searched for some history, a basic description, the target audience, and for any other interesting notes, which are pictured below.

Background notes

I discovered that:

  • This product had been around since the mid to late 1960’s, but hasn’t really changed its look or purpose since then
  • Most have 7 compartments, but some have 14 for multiple doses per day (AM and PM doses)
  • It is almost always made of plastic
  • The target audience includes, but is not limited to, the elderly, those with memory loss, and those with multiple daily medications. Anyone with a daily pill dosage might be using these as well
  • Some have features, such as Braille for the blind, specific color coding for patients with special needs, alarms, or locking mechanisms to prevent double dosing

Now that I had done some background research, I could start with some visual bench marking, which started off with a trip to the store.

Visual Benchmarking

To start off my comparison shopping for visual benchmarking, I went to CVS on the University of Minnesota campus. They had a large selection of pill organizers, as shown in the photo below:

The most common one was the one week organizer, with 7 compartments. They were all around the $3–5 range for an average organizer, with the smaller and more basic ones at $3, and the larger and more user friendly ones at $5. There was also a circular one for $5 and a stackable one for $6.49. The small daily ones were around $2, but the fashionable (and discrete) daily pill organizers, were around/over $6. The AM/PM pill organizers were in the $8.49–13.49 price range, depending on how many compartments were assigned for each day. The most user friendly 4-A-Day Weekly Pill Planner, was the most expensive organizer was at $13.49.

The next stop was at the campus Walgreens. The selection was rather small, with only two options, one with 7 compartments and one with 14 compartments. These are the two most basic options so it would make sense that these are the ones that they would offer, as shown in the photo below:

The third stop was the Midway Target in St. Paul. This store had the same size of selection as the Walgreens. This confirms that the two most popular options must be the 7 and 14 compartment organizers.

The last stop was the Cub in St. Paul, which had a decent size selection, as shown below. This one had a lot more daily options and had more cheap options than CVS. The 4-A-Day organizer was only $8 here, but did not seem as user friendly as the one at CVS.

After the in person comparison shopping, I had to search online. So I went to Amazon and searched up some pill organizers. I found Amazon’s two best sellers to be the following:

Both are very colorful and made by the same brand. One is a once a day organizer and one is a twice a day organizer. As I continued looking, a lot of the pill organizers looked the same as the two most popular ones and the ones I saw in the stores. So I started looking at ones that seemed different, such as a monthly one:

Or a more sleek gray one made of BPA free grain fiber:

Or a fun, fruit shaped one:

Another option was a stackable one in a little container that has 4-A-Day compartments:

When looking on the CVS website, the most expensive organizer I found was almost $300. This gives reminders when medication needs to be taken, tracks what you’re taking and how you’re feeling, and has the ability to use an app with the tracker. This was the most high end by far.

All in all, for an overview of the market, none of these pill organizers were super expensive, besides the last one, so when purchasing, people would lean more towards the amount of compartments needed rather than the price for the deciding factor of the pill organizer. None of the brands were super recognizable or were just off brand Target, CVS, Walgreens, or Cub ones. The major types were definitely the 7 or 14 compartment pill organizers. These pill organizers are being sold at most chain stores or stores with pharmacies, or just online as well. The price is reasonable, since it is most likely a one time purchase, at least for while, and are anywhere from $2 to $14, depending on the size. Comparing these products in a table:

10 Different Products

To simplify this down, I put these 10 products into a 2x2, sorted by cheap to pricey and basic to elaborate.

The context of where these are sold in a store is in the pharmacy department of many big box stores. They are sold close to over the counter medications as an accessory to medications and they are sold at an affordable price and in different sizes depending on one’s need. There are not many innovative products, besides the most expensive and elaborate pill organizer. There also are not many alternatives to a pill organizer either, besides not using one and just taking daily prescriptions out of the pill bottle as you need it. The idea of the pill organizer stays pretty similar throughout each idea that I researched and hasn’t really changed over the years.

Online Reviews

Some online reviews are fake, which makes it important to check the credibility of them. For the best seller:

The Fakespot review changed the average rating to 3 stars instead of 4.5.

The next one was the 31 Day one:

The Fakespot review kept the 4.5 star rating that Amazon had.

Then I checked the more sleek looking one:

The Fakespot adjusted rating changed this to 2.5 stars.

The last one was the stackable one:

The adjusted Fakespot rating for this one was only 2 stars.

After looking through these adjusted reviews, the features and functionalities that are important to users are:

  • Easy to use
  • Large compartments
  • Sturdy
  • Helpful for the elderly
  • Pills don’t fall out
  • Is not difficult to open

The common complaints are:

  • Too small
  • Top doesn’t secure tightly
  • Labels rub off
  • Won’t stay closed

The highest rated product was the 31 day pill organizer. This was because it stay closed, it was easy to use, the compartments were large enough, it was well made, and it was for a whole month. These are the most important features to keep in mind for idea generation.

Trend Research

The major societal lifestyle trends that will affect this product category would be the increasing amount of elderly people there will be, due to our increasing population. Researching the demographics of the United States, the census broke down the age groups like this:

  • 0–14 years: 18.62% (male 31,255,995/female 29,919,938)
  • 15–24 years: 13.12% (male 22,213,952/female 21,137,826)
  • 25–54 years: 39.29% (male 64,528,673/female 64,334,499)
  • 55–64 years: 12.94% (male 20,357,880/female 21,821,976)
  • 65 years and over: 16.03% (male 22,678,235/female 28,376,817)

The graph below also shows the increase in population.

The largest age group by far is 25–54, which does include the largest age gap, but those 30 years make up almost 40% of the population, which is still a bigger ratio per age group than the other age groups, besides the 0–14 age group. When people get to old age, they are prescribed more medications and would be more likely to purchase a pill organizer. As more people in this age group get older, and our population increases, and the average life span increases, then the demand of pill organizers would increase. Better food, living environments, healthcare, and medicine, (which all increase the population size and life span) is the societal lifestyle trend that is helping the pill organizer market.

Retail trends such as online shopping will impact the product category, since people will most likely order them online since people can even get their medications delivered to their door. Since technology is improving and online shopping is more prevalent, as shown in the graph below, this will impact the product category, which is why there is already a larger selection online than at each store. The elderly and patients with special needs who have a hard time to get to the store would prefer something delivered to them, which would increase the use of online shopping for this product category.

Rise of Online Shopping

Sustainability is also something important to consider in this product category. Some people are leaning away from the use of plastic completely and most pill organizers are made of plastic. This could reduce the amount of plastic pill organizers purchased and increase the amount of pill organizers that are made of plastic substitutes or other materials. On the other hand, a pill organizer is a good substitute for plastic bags when travelling and not wanting to bring the whole pill bottle with you, which makes it a sustainable product.

Product trends that will impact this product category will be electronic pill organizers that can send alerts to a phone through an app. The rise of technology will take over the pharmacy industry and pill organizers will not just be pieces of plastic, they will have features to make remembering to take medications easier. Also, the rise in biodegradable materials will impact the product category and change what each pill organizer is made of but not change the use of it.

New Ideas

Acknowledging the complaints of users and the opportunities, I decided to focus on a few things with my ten new ideas:

  • Reminders
  • Being convenient
  • Portability
  • Organization

All of these ideas would also fix the current problems that people were having, such as being too small, top not securing tightly, labels rubbing off, and staying closed. These would be more focused on later on in the process of having a prototype made and picking the materials, rather than in the first idea drawing.


  • Tuesday 9/17/19- Write up outline and timeline
  • Wednesday 9/18/19- Start researching about pill organizers. Think about specific materials of the product, the target user, the general context of use, and any interesting and/or historic notes about the product topic
  • Thursday 9/19/19- Work on illustrated overview of the generic product detailing the functionality
  • Friday 9/20/19- Do the market research. Pick three stores to go to and look at some products online and take notes about it
  • Saturday 9/21/19- Actually go to the stores. Work on table and 2x2
  • Sunday 9/22/19- Analyze the online reviews
  • Monday 9/23/19- Document societal lifestyle trends and specific trends in retail and product with images and text
  • Tuesday 9/24/19- Note product opportunities and sketch 10 new product ideas related to your topic
  • Wednesday 9/25/19- Blog due! Finish up last edits to blog