The online personal care market has a market size of 3 billion dollars and offers its market players room for growth.
A German court needed to decide whether Wir leben, a group of German pharmacies, is allowed to give its customers a loyalty bonus of €0.50 for purchasing prescription drugs. What might seem like a rather unimportant court ruling at first glance could have ignited a disruptive chain reaction in the German online pharmacy market. Online pharmacies in Germany are allowed to sell medicine that is available with and without prescription, but must abide by a statutory resale price maintenance for prescription drugs. The court decided against the pharmacy group but a positive ruling could have led to a lifting of German statutory resale price maintenance in the long run.
If we now have a look at the reasons for customers to buy medicines from online pharmacies, then the main reason for 68% of German customers is the more reasonable price for over-the-counter medicines. At the moment online pharmacies are quite unattractive for customers who need to buy prescription medicines, because it usually takes some time until they receive them. With a lifting of the resale price maintenance for this type of medicine, online pharmacies could become much more attractive due to more reasonable prices, which would consequently increase the market size of personal care products as well as revenues of online pharmacies.
The ecommerceDB.com shows that the online personal care market, in which pharmaceuticals and prescription drugs are included, has a market size of roughly 3 billion dollars, with a growth rate of almost 9%. If the resale price maintenance ended, retail pharmacies could lose a considerable share of the market to the online segment, which would be growing at a rate considerably greater than 9%. German based online pharmacies in particular, would probably make much profit from this development. Currently, docmorris.de, a personal care pure-player, is the top player in this segment and made a profit of 342.43 million dollars in 2016. The next two pure-players are shop-apotheke.com, with profits of 161.06 million dollars, and medpex.de, with profits of 110.70 million dollars. All three have a positive growth rates. shop-apotheke.com, in particular, stands out in this regard, with a growth rate of 25.4%.
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Stand: June 2017