PMR Report: Online sales of OTC products on the rise
COVID-19 pandemic and related restrictions in socio-economic life, are one of the major factors contributing to the strong increase in the value of online OTC sales market. Online sales increased in 2020 not only at online pharmacies in Poland. Increase in sales of dietary supplements and dermocosmetics was also recorded by the online non-pharmacy segment.
Dietary supplements and dermocosmetics not only from e-pharmacy
E-commerce in Poland benefited from the COVID-19 pandemic and the restrictions put in place to limit its spread. Online stores and platforms recorded significant sales increases, and many stationary store chains decided to launch their own e-stores. According to PMR data, in 2020 the e-commerce market in Poland recorded its highest growth in over a dozen years.
It was no different for online sales of OTC products, for which the sales value dynamics in 2020 exceeded that of 2019 (sales of OTC products in e-pharmacies and dietary supplements and dermocosmetics in online stores and on trading platforms). Strong sales increases were recorded by both the online pharmacy and non-pharmacy channels.
The availability of dermocosmetics outside of e-pharmacies is limited mainly to online drugstores (the largest stationary drugstore chains in Poland already have their own e-stores and offer dermocosmetics), e-perfumery, e-stores of manufacturers and trade platforms. In turn, dietary supplements are offered by various types of e-stores, ranging from food e-stores, including health food e-stores, e-drugstores, e-stores for athletes and stores with dietary supplements and nutrients for active people, online herbal stores or specialist medical e-stores. The size of the offer of dietary supplements differs, of course, substantially between different types of stores. This is also reflected in the value of sales of dietary supplements and dermocosmetics in e-stores and shopping platforms – in total in Poland the sales of the former is much higher.
Increase in value of non-pharmacy online sales of dietary supplements much higher than dermocosmetics
Online sales of dietary supplements increased rapidly in 2020, among online pharmacies, e-stores, and shopping platforms. The pandemic reinforced the already observed trend of increasing health care including vitamin and mineral supplementation, which resulted in increased demand for such products. In addition, dietary supplements supporting the immune system gained popularity as a result of the pandemic.
When it comes to cosmetics, as with many other sectors of the economy, the Internet is one of the few channels for the cosmetic products market that will be positively affected by the coronavirus outbreak. However, in the case of cosmetics, the increases have not been as impressive as in other non-food segments.
According to PMR estimates, the increase in the value of non-pharmacy online sales of dermocosmetics in 2020 was lower in percentage terms than that of dietary supplements. This is partly due to the fact that restrictions related to the spread of the coronavirus outbreak on store closures did not extend to cosmetic drugstores. In addition, the dermocosmetics segment has less price elasticity and generally higher prices, so their sales are more sensitive to adverse macroeconomic conditions.
Our forecasts indicate that the coming years will be very good for non-pharmacy online sales of dietary supplements and dermocosmetics, although the growth rate of this market (y/y) will slow down over the forecast horizon to 2026.