There is an ever increasing need and preference for online pharmacies due to high penetration of the internet. Online pharmacies also known as ePharmacy offer medications at people’s doorstep. They use the internet to send medicine orders to customers through mail, shipping, or any online web portal. Various benefits of such pharmacies are anticipated to drive the market growth. Furthermore, the COVID-19 pandemic further transformed the scenario of pharmaceuticals as contactless deliveries were on peak.
According to the World Bank, 75% of the population in the U.S. and 84% of Germany’s population are internet users. Dependency of a large population on the internet and need for lucrative prices are anticipated to facilitate market progress. Cost-effective medicines offered by companies compared to normal brick and mortar medical stores are expected to propel market development.
Increasing digitalization and benefits associated with such pharmacies are expected to drive market growth. Escalating investments and several funding from various organizations and governments are expected to augment market development. Rise in the adoption of e-commerce, online sales, and developed health infrastructure is anticipated to propel market growth.
According to Fortune Business Insights, the global ePharmacy market size was valued at USD 49.7277 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach a valuation of USD 177.7949 billion by 2026 at a CAGR of 17.3% over the forecast period.
The market has the following leading players:
- CVS Health Corporation
- Express Script Holding Company
- Walgreen Co.
- Giant Eagle, Inc.
- Optum Rx, Inc.
- Rowland Pharmacy
- Walmart Stores, Inc.
- The Kroger Co.
The key players have been putting focus on effectively delivering medicinal products within a short duration. Patient pool worldwide has grown and they prefer doorstep delivery. In 2019, CVS Health Corporation, Express Scripts, and Doc Morris are leading ePharmacy players in the global market. The dominance is owed to the presence of such players globally due to strong logistics.
Other players have also been expanding their presence in different regions. These players are anticipated to drive the market development. Market players have been focusing on mergers and partnerships to focus on distribution channels. In January 2019, Meds, a Swedish online pharmacy, has bagged a funding of USD 5.5 million for expansion in other European countries.
More Consumers are Demanding Doorstep Pharmaceuticals Delivery
High dependency of a large patient pool for doorstep pharmacy deliveries is predicted to fuel market growth. There is a dependency of chronically ill patients and elderly population on online pharmacies as they offer a wide variety of medicinal products. Increasing number of beneficiaries registered under such pharmacies is expected to give rise to market growth. Ordering pharmacies means patients do not physically need to go to pharmacy stores. Majority of ePharmacy companies have been providing medicinal products at a discounted rate than brick and mortar stores.
Rise of Internet and E-Commerce Means Increased ePharmacy Uptake
High rise in digitization due to deep penetration of the internet has largely affected the market growth positively. The growing spread of e-commerce has facilitated the means to capture a wide consumer base in developing and developed countries. Millennials have been reliant on cosmetics and online shopping. Increasing investments and strategic initiatives by various organizations and government organizations are estimated to drive the market growth. New technologies based on Artificial Intelligence (AI) for better customer satisfaction are expected to present the market with new opportunities.
Pandemic Saw Massive Surge in Contactless Deliveries
The COVID-19 pandemic led to the shutdown of brick and mortar medical shops. The pandemic transformed the healthcare systems globally. Travel limitations and contactless deliveries prompted mobile applications of online pharmacies. Expansion of e-commerce during the pandemic supported the market growth for online pharmacies. Rise in demand from developing countries for such pharmacies supported the market growth globally.
Artificial Intelligence-based Solutions to Become a Sizeable Trend
One of the prominent trends in the market is that various companies have been introducing technologies and algorithms for enhanced customer experience and satisfaction. Significant increase in online service providers has offered a growth opportunity for internet pharmacies with improved access in developing countries. Owing to such trends, the market is expected to experience a significant growth rate in the coming years due to investments by e-commerce companies. Moreover, there have been strict rules and regulations for selling prescribed medicines through the internet. Thus, safety and high penetration of the internet resulted in a high rate of adoption of ePharmacy.