Where Consumers Shop for Consumer Health

June 2024

Global consumer health sales grew by 2% in constant terms in 2023, with e-commerce cutting into the dominance of offline channels. To defend their market position, offline retailers are seeking growth through diversified business models and geographic expansion. Meanwhile, e-commerce retailers show no signs of slowing their expansion in the health sector. Future consumer behaviour will be reshaped by the broader adoption of health data-driven services, including generative AI.

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This report comes in PPT.

Key Findings

The pandemic has had a profound impact on consumer health behaviour

Excluding the impact of inflation, global consumer health sales grew by 2% in 2023. In the post-pandemic era, consumers have abandoned the COVID-19 behaviours of stockpiling medicines and immune-boosting vitamins. Some impacts of COVID-19 persist, however, such as heightened health consciousness, increased reliance on e-commerce, and cautious spending due to the global economic downturn, influencing consumer health purchases.

Retail e-commerce is cutting into the dominance of offline channels

The share of consumer health sales through retail offline channels continues to drop, reaching 79% in 2023, as retail e-commerce continues to gain popularity. E-commerce will further expand its market position, driven by offline retailers moving online, the growth of digital-native health brands, and the increasing influence of social media in the consumer health market.

Offline retailers seek growth through diversified business models and geographic expansion

Pharmacies have maintained their leading position in offline retail. Besides adopting digitalisation strategies, offline pharmacies are diversifying their business models and enhancing the value of their private label products. Meanwhile, the market share of direct sellers continues to decline amid various challenges, prompting leading players to seek change by enhancing consumer education and developing new products.

E-commerce retailers show no signs of slowing down their expansion in consumer health

E-commerce saw robust growth in 2023, with a 14% increase in sales. The wide variety of products available and the channel’s convenience have made consumers increasingly dependent on e-commerce. The broader adoption of health data tracking and online consultations, along with growing trust in generative AI information, will further shift the consumer journey for purchasing health products.


Key findings
The profound effects of the pandemic are reshaping global consumer behaviour
OTC growth slowed in 2023, while VDS and sports nutrition saw faster growth
North America and Asia Pacific drive growth in consumer health
Growth of retail e-commerce challenges the dominance of offline channels
Offline retail channels continue to lose share to e-commerce across most categories
Asia Pacific experienced the most significant growth in e-commerce expansion
Pharmacies maintained the leading position in offline retail
Convenience stores see high growth amid surging demand for convenient health products
Pharmacies create seamless shopping experience to sustain growth amid challenges
Pharmacies seek growth through diversified business models and geographic expansions
Pharmacy chains offer more services and convenience to enhance customer loyalty
Direct selling continues to lose its position in the global consumer health marketplace
Amway and Herbalife maintained their top positions through ongoing transformation efforts
As the pandemic recedes, the overall momentum of private label products has slowed down
North America leads the private label market in consumer health
More than price, private label products upgrade their value proposition
E-commerce experienced another strong year post-COVID-19 pandemic
Vitamins and dietary supplements and sports nutrition drive e-commerce sales growth
Consumers’ evolving habits and a greater push from retailers drive growth in e-commerce
ByteDance expands as a leading e-commerce platform for health products
Different types of e-commerce platforms vigorously compete for market share
Variety of product choices and convenience make consumers reliant on e-commerce
E-commerce sales are expected to lead the global consumer health market
The consumer journey for health products will move more predominantly online
Key findings

Consumer Health

It is the aggregation of OTC, Vitamins and Dietary Supplements (VDS), Sports Nutrition, and Weight Management and Wellbeing

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