New Insider Intelligence report highlights the current state of digital pharmacies in 2022 along with the challenges and digital opportunities for online pharmacies to appeal to consumers.
With cost and convenience at the forefront of consumer spending decisions and US prescription drug spending continuing to rise through 2026 to an estimated $730.50 billion, winners will offer consumers more robust online resources including pricing transparency, discounts, generic options and more information about the drug itself.
According to a 2022 MARS survey by Kantar, 34% of total U.S. adults aged 18+ stated that they purchase prescriptions or over-the-counter drugs online. Of those who buy online, 52% go through Amazon, 31% go through drug store websites, and the remaining 48% buy from online pharmacies, club store sites, or mass merchandisers. What’s driving these trends? A March 2022 DiRx report indicated lack of transportation was the biggest challenge for obtaining their prescriptions (11% of respondents); an additional 8% stated they don’t have pharmacies nearby. For these consumers, the opportunity lies in the ability to shift to hybrid models with a focus on digital experiences.
In addition to the convenience of online purchasing, the same DiRx report said 41% of consumers used pharmacy coupons, 26% visited price comparison sites, and 11% searched for online-only pharmacies to save on medications. Price isn’t the only thing online prescription shoppers look for: Many use online tools to learn more about their prescriptions: 64% searched on Google, 46% used health/healthcare-focused sites, 17% searched through drug company sites, and 10% turned to social media platforms for more information about their prescriptions and over-the-counter medications. Many of these online shoppers, armed with more information, expressed a preference for generic medications as a lower-cost alternative.
Since the pandemic bump for all pharmacies is waning as demand for vaccinations and tests dwindles, traditional pharmacies must provide robust online options. For example, partnering with a telehealth provider adds convenience and builds trust. Additionally, when paired with discount programs, price transparency tools, and seamless payment and delivery options, cost-conscious consumers will feel assured that they have received the best price.
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