More older consumers are buying pharmacy goods online
The year 2020 was a good year for the pharmacy sector online and e-commerce growth for the pharmacy sector ended up at 59 percent for the year.
The pandemic meant a double boost for the sub-sector. Partly in the form of increased demand for hygiene products, such as face masks and hand sanitizer, and partly in the form of social distancing as a driving force for e-commerce itself.
During the initial phase of the pandemic, consumers stockpiled both coronavirus related products and prescription drugs, for fear of not getting hold of the products when needed. This meant that sales declined during the summer, when the spread of infection decreased and stockpiled products were used up. During the autumn, however, both the spread of infection and e-commerce orders returned.
Growth has been particularly strong among older e-commerce consumers. In December, 40.7 percent of people aged 60–79 stated that they bought pharmacy goods online, an increase of more than 15 percentage points compared with January. This development goes hand in hand with the social distancing regime that has led to older people being recommended to avoid physical stores, despite the fact that pharmacies were not subject to the general recommendation to avoid physical stores that came into force in October.
The fact that more and more older people have purchased their pharmacy goods online has also led to prescription sales – which in 2019 accounted for half of online pharmacies’ sales – growing 16 percent. The increased prescription sales pave the way for continued success in online sales, because many online pharmacies offer their consumers the opportunity to subscribe to prescription items, for example. Despite the high level of e-commerce growth, the number of stores has – so far – remained intact. However, e-commerce growth can be seen among both omnichannel players and pure e-tailers. If older people continue to make online purchases in the future to the same extent as during the pandemic, there is reason to believe that e-commerce will account for a very significant part of the sector’s growth.
Source: The E-barometern annual report 2020