May 3, 2001, 12:00 AM

Web gaining only slowly as shoppers’ choice for health care products

Web-influenced in-store health spending will soar, outstripping online sales three to one by 2005, says Jupiter Media Metrix.

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.

 

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