Growing adherence to an unhealthy diet coupled with the rising behavioral risks like drinking and smoking among the majority of the population in various parts of the world will lead to a further rise in disease prevalence that is poised to drive the E-Pharma market globally.
In recent years e-pharmacies were already gaining popularity on account of growing population resorting to online purchases, and the COVID-19 pandemic has further increased the demand for pharma through online sales channels. With the increasing number of cases globally leading to temporary lockdown in major economies has led to the growth in demand through the online distribution channel. Since social distancing is the only solution to prevent the prevalence of these diseases many offline retail stores who struggled to earn revenue during lockdown have also shifted towards online thus propelling the growth opportunities. In addition, due to government measures such as imposing lockdown or stay at home, people have started to stock up on over-the-counter medicines through online sources. In fact, due to panic buying, many e-pharmacy companies have lifted the restriction like fairy usage policy where customers are restricted on the buying on certain commodities like sanitizers and surgical mask or gloves. Furthermore, despite the challenges such as low manpower during the lockdown phase the e-pharmacies companies are extending hard to ensure to deliver ample supply of medicines.
By drug type, over the counter (OTC) segment is expected to hold the dominant share in 2019, due to the high prevalence of chronic diseases, which is thereby leading to the rising demand for various drugs, pharmaceutical, and other healthcare industry products by consumers. In addition, an increase in initiatives by the government to attract investments is further anticipated to boost the growth of the market in the coming years. However, the presence of a large number of stringent regulations for e-pharmacies across the world is negatively impacting the growth of the market. Also, there are several numbers of illegal practices performed in developing economies of selling medicines illegally that are not approved for sale. Such risk of receiving counterfeit & contaminated medicines with wrong active ingredients from online platforms is expected to restrain the consumer from using online pharmacies.
Rising Consumption of Dietary Supplements
It has been observed that around 48.8% of the US population were found to consume dietary supplements from 2007 through 2010. In addition, forty-eight percent of men and fifty-six percent of women, without chronic diseases were found to consume multivitamin supplements on a weekly basis in the United States. According to a health survey by a US national, it was observed that over 30% of children and adolescents consumed dietary supplements without prescription (source: National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine). Furthermore, it was reported that the average rate of multivitamin supplement usage was around 20%–30% or more in other developed countries. In Canada, Japan, and South Korea, the rate of dietary supplement consumption was around 40.1%, 32%, and 62% respectively. This is due to the strong sales of dietary supplements especially in developed countries such as the United States with more than sixty percent of people in the United States are known to consume dietary supplements at least occasionally while more than forty percent consume on a regular basis. Hence, the consumption of dietary supplements with the change in lifestyle and dietary trends are favoring the market growth of online sales channels during the forecast period and in the coming years. Furthermore, high disposable income and the prevalence of the geriatric population are further driving the market growth during the forecast period owing to the growing trend towards healthy aging with the growing consumer spending ability on dietary supplements. Furthermore, according to the World Health Organization (WHO), 17.9 million people die each year due to cardiovascular diseases (CVDs), an estimated 31% of all deaths worldwide out of which more than 80% are caused due to heart diseases. Thus, the growing prevalence of heart diseases is one of the major driving factors for the growth of consumption of healthy supplements and thus fuelling the e-pharma market growth opportunities during the forecast period.
Growing internet penetration around the globe anticipated driving the growth of the e-pharma market over the forecast period.
According to the World Bank data, individuals using the internet as the percent of the total population in Brazil, Mexico, Philippines, and China has increased from 28.17%, 19.52%, 60.05% and 10.52% in 2006 to 67.47%, 63.85%, 60.05%, and 54.3% in 2017.
Source: The World Bank, Knowledge Sourcing Intelligence Analysis
Asia Pacific Region Holds Enormous Growth Potential for the Market
Chinese and Indian economy in the Asia Pacific has an extremely high prevalence of diabetes which is one of the major factors shaping the market for e-pharma. According to the World Bank Group, the prevalence of diabetes among individuals aged between 20 and 79 was 10.39% in 2017. This means that number of individuals hit by diabetes was around 139.12 million which was nearly 3% more than that in China in the same year. This is driving the demand for pharmaceutical drugs through an online retail business. Furthermore, the focus of governments in many parts of this country towards improving the affordability of patient care is also driving the adoption of online retailing among people, thus driving the growth of the market. In conjunction with this, high out-of-pocket expenditure in India is another major factor fuelling the growth of this market. According to the World Bank Group, out-of-pocket expenditure accounted for 67.014% of the total healthcare spending. Data from the National Sample Survey Office, Ministry of Statistics and Programme Implementation, shows that more than 35 million households in the country bore healthcare expenses which exceeded their annual per capita consumption. Around 70% of such households were in rural areas while the remaining 30% in urban areas. As these catastrophic health shocks continue, the adoption of preventive measures for various severe diseases among people is expected to continue over the projected period.