"Designing Growth Strategies is in our DNA"
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During the fiscal year 2018, Walmart, announced the launch of Walmart U.S. mobile express money and pharmacy services for enhancing the efficiency and productivity of the e-pharmacy segment. Globally, various industries are witnessing the gradual shift of marketing and distribution strategies from conventional approach to data-driven approach due to the huge amount of data generation followed by data analytics. Combined with this, rapidly developing network of the internet offers favorable environment for implementation of online platforms across the globe.
According to a survey conducted by the Pharmaceutical Care Network Europe (PCNE), in 2017, 100% of pharmacies in Europe were computerized, and equipped with an internet connection for better connectivity. This developing internet infrastructure is offering opportunities for market players as well as start-ups to enter into the lucrative e-pharmacy market. For instance, in 2017, Matrix Partner India and Times Internet invested in Myra, an India based startup which is serving medicines online.
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The Global E-pharmacy Market is expected to witness growth due to the growing presence of factors for implementation of e-pharmacy such as persistently growing network of internet, increasing adoption of mobile phones, and lucrative pricing strategies implemented by market players. In June 2018, online retail giant Amazon.com, Inc., announced its entry in the e-pharmacy market by acquiring online pharmaceutical company PillPack. Moreover, there is a significant shift in preference of consumers from traditional brick and mortar stores towards online retail stores, including e-pharmacy. According to the Deloitte Access Economics survey (2017), an estimated 56.4% of consumers prefer online platforms for purchasing goods in the Asia Pacific.
Certain factors such as lack of network infrastructure in emerging nations, the reluctance of consumers to purchase medicines through online platforms, and reported cases of counterfeit medication delivery are restraining the demand in the global e-pharmacy market.
The e-pharmacy market is considered to be a fragmented market as there are many local and regional players operating across the globe. Key players operating in the global e-pharmacy market are Walgreen Co., Walmart Inc., Kroger, L Rowland & Co., OptumRx, Inc., Walmart, Giant Eagle, Inc., Express Scripts Holding Company, DocMorris, CVS Health, Netmeds Marketplace Limited, 1mg, SHOP APOTHEKE EUROPE N.V., Apotheke Zur Rose, and others.
· North America (USA and Canada)
· Europe (UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Scandinavia and Rest of Europe)
· Asia Pacific (Japan, China, India, Australia, Southeast Asia and Rest of Asia Pacific)
· Latin America (Brazil, Mexico and Rest of Latin America)
· Middle East & Africa (South Africa, GCC and Rest of Middle East & Africa)
North America is expected to dominate the global e-pharmacy market owing to developed network infrastructure and increasing adoption of the online platform for buying consumer goods and medicines. On the other side, Asia Pacific is expected to witness gradual shift of consumer preference from retail pharmaceutical stores to online pharmaceutical stores owing to the increasing penetration of internet access in emerging countries, a large pool of smartphone users in countries including China and India, lucrative pricing strategies, and rising awareness amongst patients. Additionally, certain pitfalls in traditional retail stores such as no bill receipt, unqualified pharmacy staff, and multiple visits to stores due to the shortage of medicines are expected to shift consumer preference to online retails during the forecast period. According to a survey conducted by the Consumer Online Foundation and the Bureau of Research on Industry and Economic Fundamentals (BRIEF), in 2015, in India, an estimated 48.0% of consumers visited repeatedly to retail pharmacy stores due to the shortage of medicines.