May 13, 2021|

Report Shows Opportunities for China’s Pharmaceutical E-Commerce Development


by Vivian Yang

Fast delivery speed and comprehensive choices are two core advantages of pharmaceutical e-commerce that have prompted a large amount of people in China to habitually purchase medicines online, said the Report on China Pharmaceutical E-Commerce Industry Research 2021.

The report was released on May 11 in Beijing by China’s leading medical industry-focused media and research platform VCBeat Research, in collaboration with JD Health.

The combination of online and offline operations and the readiness of last-mile delivery services on the market enables pharmaceutical e-commerce to cover all kinds of cases for users whenever and wherever they need medicine. A survey in the report on medicine buyers showed that 46.6% of respondents will buy medicine only when they get sick. Going online to order medicine can quickly answer their urgent need.

At the same time, common medicines for family use and medicines for long-term use account for 25.4% and 25.9% of users’ online medicine purchases respectively. Together with the government’s loosening of prescription medicine sales via the Internet, pharmaceutical e-commerce is facing an enormous opportunity to expand its market size, providing comprehensive medical products at competitive prices to customers in China.

The report also highlighted the importance of medical service in advancing the industry to the next level. It found that more than 70% of surveyed users expressed willingness to pay for doctor consultation service online, with nearly 40% willing to pay a  higher price to access veteran experts.

The outbreak of COVID-19 gave a strong boost to the development of the industry, doubling its market size from RMB 100 billion yuan to 200 billion yuan over the past year. This presents enormous opportunities for pharmaceutical companies to embrace these online platforms and their digital marketing solutions as a critical channel to reach end-users, the report said.

“The report aims to showcase a comprehensive status of China’s pharmaceutical e-commerce industry development and analyze the innovation models it is incubating,” said Han Hao, senior researcher of VCBeat Research. “For JD Health, we have observed that the company’s development in many aspects ranging from full-category expansion, omni-channel operations to healthcare services and more, are all an active response to the changing needs of users in China.”