The pharmaceutical sector has been growing for several years, but it has never been as present online as it has been since the COVID-19 pandemic. The global health crisis was the perfect storm to push the segment towards digitalization, as consumers began to change their habits and give more preference to online drugstore purchases. As recently as a decade ago, in many markets it would have been unthought of, and nearly impossible, to get a medical prescription online, yet those are today’s main keywords to search for online pharmacies among UK users. Still, the e-commerce channel for pharmaceuticals is not as developed as in other retail segments, such as fashion or entertainment. The nature of its goods, along with strict legal requirements to sell them online, has delayed the sector from completely transitioning onto the internet.
The e-pharma shopper profileBesides trying out the online channel for health-related purchases, many users have also embraced it and made it a regular shopping habit. More than half of European digital buyers bought medicines online at least once a month, a mid-2021 survey showed. In most European countries, such as the UK and Germany, women take the lead in using online pharma platforms, whereas in the United States, male shoppers buy more pharmaceutical products online.
Consumer demand for e-pharma is particularly higher among Millennials. Almost three in ten global consumers from this generation purchased pharmaceuticals online as of early 2022. If we look at the U.S. market, though, the largest share of e-pharma purchases belongs to Gen Z shoppers.