Healthcare eCommerce Market in North America, Forecast to 2022

Drug and Device eCommerce Growth Opportunities in the Changing Paradigm of Healthcare Consumerism
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Published: 4 Mar 2019

Healthcare, as an industry, is entering a phase of rapid transformation. Digitization of products, services, and commerce models is democratizing current healthcare systems and unlocking new previously inaccessible segments. The fundamental convergence of healthcare with IT and retail industry continues to shift eCommerce from simple search portals for buying products to the digital marketplace that provides personalized experience and informed purchase decision making. This is manifesting into a new era of healthcare consumerism; today hospital buyers and patients are equally expecting a retail-like buying experience. Furthermore, as tech-savvy millennials are expected to overtake boomers, in terms of population, in 2019, eCommerce models with personalized UX/UI will be the preferred marketing channels for medical products and services. Entailing this, North America’s healthcare eCommerce market for pharma drugs and medical devices is projected to cross $200 billion by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 10% to 15%. Frost & Sullivan defines healthcare electronic commerce (eCommerce) as “the application of communication and information-sharing technologies during the process of marketing, exchanging, servicing, buying, and selling of healthcare products, professional services, funds, and information over an electronic network, primarily by phone and Internet connectivity. It combines business and electronic infrastructure which allows traditional business transactions to be conducted electronically, ignoring the physical or geographic boundaries separating them”. Furthermore, it’s critical to understand that, eCommerce is not a software or IT platform feature. It is an evolving ecosystem that digitally-led emerging business models such as servicization, amazonization, uberization, and shared-economy among others. Trends in both, demand (cost and pricing pressures) and supply side (health consumerization), coupled with increasing competition from non-traditional participants (e.g., Amazon, Ali Health, Apple, and so on) are fuelling the adoption of eCommerce. This compels drug/device Original Equipment Manufacturers (OEMs), wholesalers, GPOs, PBMs, distributors, and retailers to operate differently by leveraging on eCommerce to achieve much-needed operational efficiencies, standardize purchasing process, optimize supply chain inefficiencies, and improve end-user experience. Additionally, digital marketplace scalability provides drug/device companies the opportunity to differentiate with value-add services, such as free shipping, same-day delivery, online payment, product quality certificate, discounts, customer feedback on services, as well as the ability to connect 24x7, which is an important element in the overall buying experience. There is no one-size-fits-all eCommerce strategy for healthcare products. Drug and device OEMs and other supply chain participants should prioritize their eCommerce strategy based on the maturity of their buyers by using a suitable mix of available digital tools for educating, researching product information, and management of order and payment. Apart from drug/device types and purchase volumes, factors such as market positioning, target end user, and reimbursement play a critical role in eCommerce channel selection and success.



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