OECD: Covid’s impact on e-Commerce

A new report published last month by the OECD, entitled e-Commerce in the time of COVID-19, explores how the pandemic has caused an expansion of e-Commerce towards “new firms, customers and types of products, likely involving a long-term shift of e-Commerce transactions from luxury goods and services to everyday necessities”. Below we pick out some of the highlights that relate to medicines.

In the opening summary, the OECD says that, “while e-Commerce in the past for many consumer groups was centred on high tech goods, toys or books, it now increasingly involves goods for which availability is critical to a large share of the population, including groceries, medicine and other necessities.” There were two examples given by the OECD from Brazil and Germany showing how e-Commerce has disrupted the medicines market.

In Brazil, “around 54% of Internet users had bought food or food products over the Internet in 2020, substantially up from only 22% in 2018. Significant increases were also observed for cosmetics, toiletries and medicines. As convenience has always been one of the key drivers of e-Commerce participation, it is likely that many of the new users will keep ordering at least some goods online in the future.”

As for Germany, “online sales grew significantly for medicines and groceries, historically laggard sectors in terms of e-Commerce, while overall online sales contracted by around 18% in March 2020 in comparison to the previous year.” The OECD report also highlighted the impact of Covid-19 on e-Commerce’s share of total retail sales in the UK, USA and EU.

Writing in last Friday’s CHC.Newsflash, Nicholas Hall said: “Let’s take the best case point-of-view, that the incidence of Covid-19 will shrink dramatically during the middle of 2021, with a significantly lower death rate. How do we get back to normal? Will personal and professional life pick up where it left off? I doubt that very much. It seems to me that, at the very least, working from home is here to stay, which could mean the revival of suburban shopping, with lower footfall in city centres and out-of-town shopping malls. One impact on consumer health could be a marked revival in community pharmacy and online purchases growing from 9% to 19% of total CHC sales globally in the next 10 years, and from 11% to 27% in Asia. Another fascinating statistic courtesy of Eurostat is that, uniquely, the over-55 cohort is the largest purchasing group for medicines online, which runs counter to the theory that digital equals youth.

Don’t miss out on the chance to save up to 50% on selected reports with our Q4 promotional event, which will run until the end of the year! Stay tuned for new deals coming in December! To find out what promotions are available, or to make a purchase, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com

Digital strategy: Examples from China

In Sanofi’s recent Q3 earnings call, new head of Consumer Healthcare Julie Van Ongevalle said the company’s CH operation had “untapped potential”, and that her previous experience in the beauty industry would help with the strategy of leveraging consumer insights and maximising the digital and e-Commerce channel. In this week’s blog, we summarise three examples of innovative digital strategies by three companies (Alibaba, GSK and Bayer) operating in China.

Alibaba has kicked off its 11.11 Global Shopping Festival with new features to meet rapidly-changing consumer needs. These include the participation of Alipay’s digital lifestyle platform, broader consumer reach, as well as livestreaming technology creating more engagement for Chinese consumers, and with the largest international presence to date. A new sales window will be added from 1st-3rd November, ahead of the main event on 11th November, to provide merchants – specifically new brands and small businesses – the opportunity to showcase their products and tell their brand stories amid the pandemic. For many brands, 11.11 is the single biggest growth driver. This year, more than 2mn new products will be introduced, double the amount compared to last year.

OTC marketers are also building ties with local digital shopping platforms in China. GSK CH and Dingdang Kuaiyao have agreed a new strategic co-operation, which will utilise their R&D and data capabilities to drive growth and improve consumer access to healthcare products. Initially, the companies will focus on the concept of “Internet + Medicine” and work together to build brands and content, as well as consumer traffic and experiences. In 2021, the collaboration will cover brand awareness, global marketing, consumer trust and consumption scenarios. The news comes a month after GSK CH became an Alibaba “digital captain” after agreeing a joint business plan with its marketing technology platform, Alimama.

In addition, under a strategic co-operation agreement with digital shopping platform Meituan, Bayer CH aims to become a full-service healthcare solutions provider to help individuals better manage their own health. The businesses will work with 20+ chain pharmacies to integrate online and offline healthcare products and services by exploring digitalisation options, expanding consumer services and developing a new era of pharmaceutical retail. The co-operation aims to reach consumers more efficiently under the “new normal”, which has resulted in growing public awareness of healthcare issues, rising demand for healthcare products and a change in consumption habits, with online purchasing increasing significantly.

We are pleased to announce the next round of savings in our special Q4 promotional event, running until the end of the year! Plus, for November only we are offering a 25% discount on annual subscription rates for our combined CHC.Newsflash and CHC.NewDirections news service! If you would like additional information on any of our publications or subscriptions, or would like to place an order, please contact Melissa.Lee@NicholasHall.com

How consumer shopping habits are changing

A recent report by Global Data in collaboration with Amazon describes changing consumer shopping habits during the Covid-19 pandemic. The report highlights a stark increase in online sales, but stresses that the online channel did not dominate during the peak of the pandemic — the majority of sales during lockdown were made at physical stores that remained open. In addition, the highest growth rates over the past few months are attributed to multichannel retailers, rather than pure-play online retailers.

The pandemic has catalysed closer integration of physical retail and online spaces, with many traditional retailers emphasising or introducing additional services such as curbside pick-up. These services have been well-received; almost 68% of US consumers say they will use curbside collection more, even after the pandemic has subsided. Also, in countries that have reopened post-Covid, there has been a “mini-rush” back to bricks & mortar retailers, highlighting how much consumers – especially in the US, UK and France – have missed the social interaction that physical stores offer.

As a result, the penetration rate for online is coming down as consumers resume physical shopping. According to the survey, penetration will remain elevated compared to 2019 but the peaks seen during lockdown were exceptional, not a new normal. If anything, the report suggests that the role of the physical store is actually being strengthened in some ways. In the USA, Global Data projects around 35.7% of non-food sales transacted online will be supported by a physical store this year – more than in 2019.

Comment from Laura Howard Werling, Market Analyst CIMA, Nicholas Hall Group of Companies: The Global Data report challenges the narrative that the pandemic, and subsequent growth of the online channel, spells the end for physical retail. Instead, retail stores have performed well over the past few months and are successfully utilising a multichannel approach to adapt to the disruption. Consumers have been satisfied with this approach and it should be no surprise: the modern consumer views online and retail stores as one market and navigates both spaces seamlessly to achieve maximum efficiency when shopping.

We are pleased to announce a special Q4 promotional event, which will run until the end of the year! For October only, we are offering a 25% discount on annual subscription rates for Insight and CHC New Products Tracker, alongside up to 50% on selected reports titles. Watch this space — more promotions will be coming in November and December! To find out more, or to make a purchase, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com

Q2 company results: Key trends & developments

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With all Top 6 CHC marketers and several important mid-tier companies having now reported their Q2 results, it’s a good time to analyse some of the key consumer health trends that have emerged in the second quarter of this turbulent year. Most notable is the downturn in Europe’s CHC market in Q2 2020, after an especially strong Q1, while North America’s CHC market has proven to be more robust so far. Also of note is the strong rise in e-Commerce sales for several CHC marketers.

Europe: Medicine cupboards already stocked

Marketers with well-developed CHC portfolios in Europe reported how “destocking” of medicine stores built up in Q1 had impacted regional OTC sales in Q2. GSK reported low single-digit decline for its pain portfolio in Q2, largely the result of this pantry unloading trend and the weak performance of Voltaren in Europe. Likewise, Sanofi reported a 13% decline in CHC sales in Europe in Q2, citing “consumer destocking” and low pharmacy traffic as key contributors to the regional fall.

Bayer, reporting on the wider EMEA geography, said regional sales fell 8.2% in Q2 after strong consumer stockpiling in Q1, with Allergy & Cold and Digestive Health the two categories most affected. Likewise, Mylan reported a 6% fall in its sales in Europe in Q2, as did several smaller CHC marketers, including Boiron, which recorded a 21% quarterly decline in sales in France owing to fewer doctors’ appointments and pharmacy visits.

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North America: J&J and P&G benefit from geographic mix

Bayer and GSK both reported dynamic VMS growth in the region in Q2, while Sanofi cited the “strong spring allergy season”, which boosted its Xyzal brand, as a factor in better Q2 sales in North America compared to Europe. Marketers with CHC portfolios more focused on the US market performed well, notably J&J, which reported a 10.7% rise in OTC sales in Q2 thanks to strong growth of Tylenol and Zarbee’s Naturals.

Like J&J, P&G benefits from a clear geographic focus on North America, and reported strong growth in the region in Q2 as a factor behind the double-digit rise in sales of its Personal Health Care portfolio, with Vicks and several other brands gaining share. Other CHC marketers with a particular focus on the region, including Perrigo and Church & Dwight, also reported stronger quarterly results in Q2 compared to competitors.

e-Commerce: RB and Nestlé report high growth

Another factor in rising organic CHC sales for Perrigo in North America in Q2 was continued robust growth in e-Commerce, more than offsetting category declines owing to lower brick & mortar foot traffic. Two other marketers that cited the impact of e-Commerce in their Q2 results were RB and Nestlé. For RB, e-Commerce sales rose by 50%+ and now represent 15% of total Health net revenue, while for Nestlé e-Commerce sales grew by 48.9%, reaching 12.4% of total sales.

Are the leading CHC marketers investing in e-Commerce? Do they have online platforms for their brands? Find out in our report Digital Marketing & e-Commerce: Tapping the Potential of Online Sales and Digital Promotion in Consumer Healthcare.  To order your copy, or to find out more, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

e-Commerce CHC growth accelerating

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All the signs point to accelerated growth for the internet & mail order channel of the global CHC market in the first quarter of 2020. In 2019, the overall global retail CHC market recorded growth of 3.9%, while internet & mail order sales achieved much faster growth of 12.4% that same year, and the channel is forecast to rise by 22.5% in 2020.

Several leading CHC companies reported dynamic e-Commerce growth in their latest quarterly results, with RB reporting a strong e-Commerce upturn across all major platforms and market places, particularly in Greater China, led by Dettol and Infant & Child Nutrition (IFCN), and North America, with Mucinex and VMS in particular making good progress. Likewise, P&G reported 35% growth for e-Commerce channels in its fiscal third quarter (calendar Q1 2020), translating into around 10% of company business. CFO Jon Moeller acknowledged social distancing orders were a key driving factor, but still expects a permanent shift in the portion of business conducted online post-pandemic.

GSK is another company that has been boosted by increased online demand for its analgesics, CCA and VMS products. The company reported that the impact of Covid-19 varied across regions in Q1 2020, as a result of differing government actions and consumer behaviour. USA, UK, Australia and several other markets benefited from increased demand and shopper activity in both traditional retail and e-Commerce channels, which resulted in accelerated purchases across all categories, while some markets, including India and China, were negatively impacted by mandated retailer shutdowns.

Likewise, the benefits of increasing trade channel liberalisation will not be shared equally among all CHC marketers. While many leading companies are well prepared for this increasing consumer appetite for internet & mail order purchases, some marketers with a more limited e-Commerce profile may find it hard to adapt to this shift in demand, especially if they’re highly leveraged in brick & mortar retail outlets, as is the case – for example – with Prestige Brands and the convenience store channel in the USA.

Coming this month — with two timing options on 22 and 23 July — is an all-new Hot Topic webinar focusing on COVID-19: The Impact on the Global and Regional CHC Markets. To find out more or register to join your preferred session, contact elizabeth.bernos@NicholasHall.com.

e-Commerce Developing Fast in Southern Europe

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As more and more countries go into lockdown to enforce social distancing, the way that consumers do their shopping is of course having to change dramatically. Some countries are better adapted to this change than others – according to a recent report in the Financial Times, southern European countries like Italy and Spain currently only have low e-Commerce penetration, with respective shares of 4% and 5% of total retail revenues (prior to the Covid-19 pandemic).

France (10%) has a higher share than the two countries at its southern border, but still lags behind other markets in Europe (20% in the UK) and globally (36% in China). However, this situation looks set to change fast, with Covid-19 leading to a revolution in e-Commerce sales of groceries in southern Europe – for example, according to the FT report, supermarket chain Carrefour stated that its online customer base in Italy has already doubled to 110,000. Is this a trend that will outlast the current crisis?

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And what impact will Covid-19 have on online sales of consumer healthcare products? Our recently published Digital Marketing & e-Commerce Report outlined the Top 20 leading internal & mail order markets for CHC products, with China and the USA the clear leaders, followed by Japan, Germany and the UK. Inevitably, the projected growth rates for 2020 will have to be revised, especially given this fast-changing crisis could also lead to changes in regulations governing the online sale of OTC medicines.

For example, Europe’s largest e-Commerce pharmacy group, Zur Rose, today submitted a request to Switzerland’s Federal Office for Public Health calling for a temporary exception that would allow mail order sales of OTC cold & flu medicines (at present, all non-prescription medicines can only be sold by mail order if specifically approved by a doctor). As well as owning Germany’s best-known pharmacy brand, DocMorris, Zur Rose is also active in France and Spain, and could be at the forefront of overcoming strict regulations governing the sale of OTC-registered medicines in those markets too.

For an in-depth look at the rising power of e-Commerce in the CHC market, order a copy of Digital Marketing & e-Commerce: Tapping the Potential of Online Sales and Digital Promotion in Consumer HealthcareThis report also explores social media, which CHC brands are employing effective digital marketing strategies, and the opportunities and challenges e-Pharma faces. For further details, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

eCommerce expansion led by Amazon limits store-based growth

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Continuing our series of blogs on the 10 Infinity Zones for future CHC growth outlined by Nicholas Hall, in this edition we take a closer look at eCommerce, following the news that Amazon has become the world’s most valuable brand, according to the 2019 BrandZ Top 100 Most Valuable Global Brands ranking released by WPP and Kantar.

Commenting on the latest DB6 MAT Q1 2019 figures, which show that global bricks & mortar OTC growth decelerated to 3.7%, Nicholas Hall said that “Amazon goes from strength to strength, and takes a 75-90% share of all eCommerce sales of CHC products, depending on whom you listen to. These are the glory days for the so-called GAFAA companies (Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, Alibaba), but will it last?

Top 10 country MAT Q1 2019

The rise of eCommerce is one of the factors causing the slowdown in store-based OTC sales, which now total US$136.7bn. According to Celine Waller, VP, DB6, store-based sales account for 78% of the global OTC market, with direct sales generating 14%. Internet & mail order currently accounts for 9% of the “all channel” universe, with sales dominated heavily by VMS supplements in China and USA.

However, this channel has seen a CAGR of 20% since 2014 and will continue to increase dramatically in importance over the next decade. In China, Alibaba continues to prosper from the Chinese government’s attempts to promote eCommerce and regulate the so-called suitcase trade (daigou), while Amazon remains supreme in the US market.

To help keep our clients abreast of these changes, this year we have introduced an “all channels” version of the DB6 dataset, which reports on topline sales of direct sales (MLM), Internet & mail order plus key brands in selected leading markets. eCommerce will also be one of the key topics in our upcoming report, Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Examine each aspect of the CHC industry in 20 chapters, with a focus on major issues including Regulation, Pharmacy Point-of-Care, M&A, Switch and much more. Nicholas will also unveil the “infinity zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. In addition to this, you can upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas for an additional GB£10,000. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

10 Infinity Zones for future CHC growth

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Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC report, due to be published later this year, outlines 10 Infinity Zones for future consumer healthcare growth, which were shared as an exclusive preview with delegates at our recent Vienna conference. Below we outline these Infinity Zones to OTC DASHBOARD subscribers, with a short description of each.

1. Prevention: A long-term theme in the CHC industry which is now taking root. Nicholas Hall presented a slide of the fastest-growing OTC subcategories by CAGR (2014-18), comparing those focused on prevention with those centred around treatment, and this showed that seven of the Top 10 most dynamic subcategories had a preventative focus.

2. Probiotics: One of these Top 10 fastest-growing subcategories was probiotics, an area of the global consumer healthcare market that has moved from adjacency into the mainstream. In the 2014-18 period, probiotics delivered more value growth (in €mn terms) than established subcategories like systemic analgesics and sore throat remedies.

3. Food Intolerance: Changing diets across the globe are causing a huge increase in food intolerance issues. Nicholas Hall is planning to provide an estimate of the size of this emerging category in his New Paradigms report, but for now he emphasised to delegates the opportunities that OTC marketers have here, notably in terms of cross-branding.

4. Natural & Organic: Like prevention, this is not a new trend in consumer healthcare, but instead one that is increasingly on the radar of major multinationals. A recent example here is J&J’s acquisition of the Zarbee’s Naturals line of OTC products.

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5. Cannabis: Nicholas Hall outlined the huge investment already being seen in this fast-growing market, especially in key countries like Australia, and outlined how the future CBD market could be split into five categories, including Rx, OTC medical cannabis via Rx-to-OTC switch, VMS & topicals, beauty & food and lifestyle marijuana.

6. Sexual Health: Nicholas Hall said that, while Bayer has made it clear that erectile dysfunction treatment Levitra will not switch, we’ve already seen the Rx-to-OTC reclassification of Viagra Connect in the UK market and it’s possible that Sanofi’s Cialis could soon follow once the company has navigated the necessary regulatory hurdles.

7. E-commerce: This year DB6 has introduced an “all channels” version of the dataset, showing that total OTC sales through all channels were worth US$174bn in 2018, of which store-based sales account for 78%, with direct sales (MLM) generating 14%. Internet & mail order currently accounts for 9% of the “all channel” universe, with sales dominated heavily by VMS supplements in China and USA. However, this channel has seen a CAGR of 20% since 2014 and will continue to increase dramatically in importance.

8. Pharmacy: Nicholas Hall also emphasised the continuing importance of bricks & mortar retailers to consumer healthcare, with Pharmacy Point-of-Care still the driving force behind recommendations and purchases of key OTC brands.

9. Big Data: The Big 5 tech companies are now dominating healthcare information, and while there are concerns about privacy, Apple CEO Tim Cook has stated that his company’s “greatest contribution to mankind” will be within the sphere of healthcare.

10. Emerging Markets: Nicholas Hall said that Emerging Markets now account for a 55% share of global OTC sales (in the retail channel). Recent figures from the IMF’s World Economic Outlook forecast that developing economies will continue to outpace advanced economies.

Take a look at what the future holds for the CHC industry in our upcoming Signature report, Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself. The report will take a look at major issues including innovation, future competition, emerging categories and markets and M&A. You also have the option to upgrade your purchase to include a customised in-house presentation or webinar with Nicholas. To find out more or to place your order, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

RB 2.0: E-commerce a key focus

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With CEO Rakesh Kapoor retiring at the end of the year, and ambitious plans for RB 2.0 to be implemented within the next year, this is without doubt a transformational time for RB. Nicholas Hall believes RB 2.0 will lead to the “end-point of divesting the Hygiene Home business, and with the company quickly moving on to v3.0 and a major merger. I can think of at least four CHC companies that may want to be associated with RB v3.0, not all of whom could be considered equals, but who would be attracted by a cashless transaction and the benefits of scale.” 

RB released its full year results last week, with net revenue in 2018 up by 3% on a like-for-like basis, while Health grew by 2%. Within Health, the OTC segment rose by 5%, driven by innovations (Nurofen 24-hour patch, Strepsils flurbiprofen spray) and strong regional performances (Lemsip in UK, Luftal in Brazil, Moov in India and Tempra in Mexico). As part of its RB 2.0 mission, the company is planning to “supercharge” innovation even further, focusing on new categories (i.e. the launch of brain health supplement Neuriva later in H1 2019), new consumers and new channels (i.e. MegaRed and Move Free in e-commerce outlets in China).

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In its 2018 results presentation, RB emphasised its “best-in-class digital and e-commerce capability” as a key driver behind RB 2.0 growth, highlighting the specific case of China where the company’s online sales already outweigh “offline” sales thanks to strong partnerships with the likes of Alibaba and JD.com. Innovations such as MegaRed CoQ10, Move Free Ultra and Move Free Advanced have been specially developed for the e-commerce channel in China and the USA. 

In its results, the company also reported that 9% of RB Health sales are generated in the e-commerce channel, which it says ranks second among its consumer healthcare peers, while its operating margin of 28% is way ahead of the consumer healthcare average. RB attributes its success in e-commerce to its FMCG heritage and its strong margins to the relatively high proportion of its portfolio devoted to Consumer Health vs key OTC competitors.

Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, our upcoming new Signature Report written by Nicholas, includes a chapter dedicated to reviewing M&A within the CHC industry. Exploring recent transactions, multiples and the buyers and sellers — with predictions of likely future deals — Nicholas also asks whether M&A actually works and examines the role of private equity. An essential read for all players striving to compete in this rapidly-evolving marketplace, for the full table of contents or to pre-order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

 

E-commerce shake-up in India

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India has been one of the major drivers of global OTC growth, with sales up 8.8% in the MAT Q3 2018 period, but there is now uncertainty over the country’s e-commerce sector after the government moved ahead with new rules that took effect last Friday (1st February 2019). The rules prohibit online retailers from selling products via companies or distributors in which they have an equity stake, so e-commerce giants like Amazon and Flipkart (owned by Walmart) have been most affected.

Amazon has now pulled various products from its Indian website, including some of its Amazon Basics line, while Walmart said it was “disappointed” at the government’s haste in implementing the new rules, which will create “significant work” for the company in overhauling its supply chains and systems. Political commentators see Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s decision to stand firm as a move intended to appease smaller Indian retailers ahead of a general election expected in May.

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Amazon saw its shares dip 4% on the day the rules were implemented and it has lowered its sales guidance for India in Q1 2019. Walmart shares also fell, down 2.4%. In the short-term, there will be huge disruption to supply chains and increasing compliance costs, which will inevitably affect the availability and price of products online, while also giving a boost to bricks & mortar retailers. Long-term, however, Amazon and Flipkart have invested huge sums in India’s e-commerce market and will no doubt recover share.

In the meantime, more disruption to the e-commerce sector might be on its way. India issued draft regulations on the sale of medicines by e-pharmacies in September 2018, including a requirement to register for a licence with the country’s pharma regulator, CDSCO, which should be renewed every 3 years. However, the move has drawn protests and petitions from pharmacists, and opposing views in different regions of India, making the future implementation of these regulations highly uncertain.

The latest edition of our bestselling annual OTC Yearbook 2019 is available to pre-order! Scheduled for publication this April, this report will include reviews of major OTC categories, leading companies and brands, Medical Devices, Switch and much more. Pre-order your copy before 31 March to take advantage of our pre-publication rate! To find out more, or to reserve your copy, please contact Melissa.Lee@NicholasHall.com.