Consumers will slowly begin to spend more of their health dollars online, with the web driving about $14.4 billion in retail sales of medicines and health care products by 2005, predicts Jupiter Media Metrix. The web’s greater power in the retail health sector will be as a research tool that drives consumer spending in stores, says Jupiter analyst Stacey Rich.
“Web-influenced consumer health commerce spending will soar to $50.4 billion by 2005, outpacing purely online sales threefold,” Rich says. Last year, consumers spent about $600 million on health products online. Recent Jupiter data show that for various reasons, 50% of consumers surveyed believe it’s easier to shop for health products offline. About 25% say they find no cost savings online, citing both product pricing and shipping costs, while 20% are deterred by the inability to get online the pharmacist consultations or sales help available in-store.
Large drugstore chains are the most likely to be the biggest gainers as web-influenced spending grows. “They should actively build out their web presence, ensuring seamless integration and branding across all channels to engender customer loyalty and wallet share,” Rich says.