Alibaba and Walmart report strong Q2

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Our blog this week rounds up the latest retail news, including recent Q2 results from Walmart and Alibaba, and a focus on M&A activity in Asia-Pacific. China’s Alibaba trumped analysts’ expectations with a 42% year-on-year jump in quarterly revenues to Rmb114.92bn (US$16.3bn), contrasting with its rival Tencent which one day earlier disappointed the market by falling short with a more modest quarterly growth (though Tencent did report a 26% year-on-year increase in profit).

Alibaba’s CEO, Daniel Zhang, said the company “had a great quarter, expanding our user base to 674mn annual active consumers, and demonstrating our superior user experience. We will continue to expand our customer base, increase operating efficiency and deliver robust growth. With strong cashflow from our core e-commerce business, we will continue to invest in technology and bring digital transformation to millions of businesses globally.” 

Alibaba is also reportedly looking to acquire Kaola’s cross-border online shopping platform from rival NetEase, according to two people familiar with the matter, as China’s highly competitive US$2tn e-commerce market takes early steps towards consolidation.  

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Meanwhile, Walmart has raised its outlook for the USA and said US consumers were in “solid” financial health as it shrugged off the Trump administration’s trade war with Beijing and turmoil elsewhere in bricks-and-mortar retail. Walmart revenues rose by 1.8% in fiscal Q2 2020 to US$130bn (+2.9% on a constant currency basis). USA sales were US$85.2bn (+2.9%) and the retailer noted that it is gaining market share in key categories, including health & wellness; e-commerce sales grew by 37%. International sales fell by 1.1% to US$29.1bn (+3.3% excluding currency impacts). Strength in Mexican subsidiary Walmex and China were offset by softness in UK and Canada. 

In Brazil, No.1 drugstore chain RaiaDrogasil (RD) reported better than expected results, seeing its national share rise to 13% in Q2 2019 (up 1.6% vs Q2 2018). Another drugstore chain quickly gaining share in Brazil is Farmarcas, which looks set to become the No.4 ranked chain by end-2019 after reporting even stronger results than RD, putting pressure on established players Drogaria DPSP and Pague Menos.

As for M&A activity:

• In Japan, drugstore operator Cocokara Fine is pursuing a merger with rival Matsumotokiyoshi in a deal that could create a market leader with sales of around ¥1tn (US$9.4bn)

• Amazon, which is looking to boost its bricks & mortar presence in the fast-growing Indian market, is reportedly in advanced talks to acquire up to 10% of Future Retail, the country’s No.2 retailer

• AS Watson (an affiliate of CK Hutchison Holdings) is in talks with potential partners in UAE with a view to introducing its health & beauty stores there

Take a look at the evolution of Pharmacy and Pharmacy Point-of-Care in the Distribution chapter in our new report, Nicholas Hall’s New Paradigms for CHC 2019: Over the Horizon, written by Nicholas himself! Other chapters will include Healthcare Trends, Regulation, Digital engagement amongst many others. Nicholas will also unveil the 15 “Infinity Zones” he has identified as being crucial to the future growth of the industry. 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 pre-order your copy, please contact melissa.lee@NicholasHall.com.

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OTCs in Action Episode 62: Countries claiming climbing CAGRs!

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This week, OTCs are in Action all over the world as we post the top-performing markets in terms of compound annual growth rates. First, kudos to my colleagues on the DB6 OTC database team. Thanks to their amazing expertise and hard work, Nicholas Hall Companies has just published the DB6 global OTC database, which tracks sales at the brand level in 64 countries.

The leading OTC market in the world is the USA, with turnover of $31bn, while the smallest market is Slovenia, with OTC sales generating $61mn. Both are mature markets, with the US posting a CAGR of 3.3% from 2011-2015 — Slovenian OTCs were close behind, achieving growth of 3.2%.

Looking at the Emerging Markets, China’s performance was strong with CAGR of 7% and sales of $21.6bn last year. Russia’s CAGR was 12%, reaching $3.3bn in 2015. Brazil performed a point better with growth of 13% to achieve sales of $2.7bn, whilst India’s CAGR was significantly slower at 9% to generate sales of $2.6bn last year.

Turning to more mature markets, Japan’s OTC CAGR for the period was flat with sales of $7.1bn in 2015, while the $4.9bn Germany OTC cart sputtered forward with a CAGR of 2.3%. In France, CAGR was negative 1% to $3.9bn. The UK and Canada drifted equally with a 2.3% posted in both markets, with sales of $2.9bn and $2.1bn, respectively, in 2015.

Which markets were stimulated by Rx-to-OTC switches? Where in the Emerging Markets did Lifestyle OTCs outpace other categories? DB6 subscribers know the answers. Visit the DB6 OTC database 2016 website to learn more about this valuable service, used by leading OTC players around the world.

DB6 Global OTC Database

OTCs in Action Episode 54: Japan’s First Food for Cognitive Function

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This week OTCs are in Action in Japan, where Otsuka has introduced Nature Made Ginkgo Biloba, Japan’s first Food with Function Claim for cognitive function. Research has shown that flavonoid glycosides and terpene lactones extracted from ginkgo biloba can improve perception and recall of perceived objects.

According to Otsuka: “Traditionally prized in Europe for its health benefits, ginkgo biloba has also been recognized as a health food in Japan for many years. A systematic review of research results for flavonoid glycosides and terpene lactones extracted from ginkgo biloba leaves led to notification and acceptance of this supplement as Japan’s first Food with Function Claim for cognitive function.” Nature Made Gingko Biloba is delivered in tablet form.

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The Food with Function regulatory classification was introduced in April 2015 and allows food supplements to be supported by nutrient claims, as long as scientific evidence has been provided to the Consumer Affairs Agency, reports the December issue of Nicholas Hall’s OTC INSIGHT Asia-Pacific. Unlike Foods for Specified Health Use, these products are not subject to case-by-case review by the agency.

Another recent innovation from Otsuka offers heart health benefits to Japanese consumers. In November, the company expanded claims for Nature Made Super Fish Oil in Japan with the specific health benefit of “inhibition of triglyceride levels in the blood”.

OTCs in Action Episode 52: Japanese tax tweak to raise OTC spending

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This week, OTCs are in Action in Japan, where the government plans to reward self-medicating consumers with a tax deduction. Under current tax codes, Japanese consumers can deduct medical expenses over US$800 or so per year from taxable income, but OTC expenses are often not high enough to meet this threshold. A recently proposed tax incentive will require a minimum OTC expenditure of only about us$80 to qualify for the deduction – a benefit the government is hoping will nudge consumers with minor ailments away from expensive hospitals, and toward drugstores.

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According to Nikkei Asian Review: “The health ministry expects more than 10mn households to qualify for the deduction. If the break changes patient behaviour, the resulting drop in government medical spending could outweigh the expected tens of billions of yen in lost tax revenue. Reining in social insurance expenditures is also crucial to achieving the government’s goal of a primary surplus by fiscal 2020.”

Nichols Hall’s DB6 database shows that the US$7bn Japanese OTC market has been ailing with sales declines for the past several years – encouraging people to put OTCs in Action for financial rewards will be therapeutic for consumers, manufacturers and government.

 

 

OTCs in Action Episode 48: Will increased Chinese OTC demand boost sales in Japan?

OTCinActionheaderThis week, OTCs are in Action in China, where the termination of the one-child limit will slightly increase demand for children’s OTCs. However, this will not only impact the Chinese OTC market, but neighbouring countries as well. Many younger, affluent Chinese consumers prefer fast-acting Western medicines to locally-manufactured OTCs and Traditional Chinese Medicine, but the lengthy, complex and expensive registration process deters many companies from entering the market.

Because of this, many Chinese tourists are buying OTCs in Japan, Hong Kong and other countries, according to the October issue of Nicholas Hall’s OTC INSIGHT Asia-Pacific. Neighbouring countries are welcoming these consumers with a variety of incentives:

Japan’s National Tourism Organisation reported that relaxed regulations for travel, depreciation of the yen and the MERS outbreak in South Korea were among the factors increasing the number of Chinese visitors to the country by 134% in the year to May 2015.

This increase in travel, coupled with last October’s consumption tax exemption for foreign visitors buying OTC medicines, has led several drugstore chains to adapt their stores in tourist hotspot areas to attract overseas consumers. In particular, leading chain Matsumotokiyoshi announced in late 2014 that it was planning to open 20 duty-free drugstores aimed at foreign shoppers, with all expected to be operational by March 2016.

Additionally, industry sources estimate that purchases by consumers from China account for 50-70% of OTC sales in Hong Kong. Planograms in chain drugstores appeal to them — large SKUs of infant milk powder and other products are shelved in high profile areas.

To see samples from OTC INSIGHT Asia-Pacific, click here.

With nearly 1.4bn residents, China is the world’s most populous country, albeit with a scarcity of children. To learn more about this emerging market, join us in Shanghai as Lynn Xu – Senior VP, Greater China Practice Leader at Nielsen, Jeff Crowther, Executive Director at US-China Health Products Association, and the Nicholas Hall team host the OTC Action Workshop. Click the link for more details: OTC Action Workshop Shanghai

Hello and best wishes for 2014 from INSIGHT Asia-Pacific

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The start of a new year is the ideal time to reflect on events of the previous 12 months and consider what might happen in the year ahead. INSIGHT Asia-Pacific has done just that in the just-published January edition by asking industry experts to share their views on the major trends & developments and their likely impacts in core regional OTC markets.

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