The online channel gains relevance for pharmacy buyers

Dec 11, 2018

The Farma Shopper 2018 study prepared by IQVIA and Shoppertec, deals in depth with the behavior of the consumer of Consumer Health products in the online channel, as a means and as a store. It’s evident that the online channel bursts hard to stay and continue to grow, so it is essential for laboratories to have data that shed light on this new reality that allows them to build a new model of relationship with the pharmacy and its buyer. The digital transformation has a huge potential, but we must bear in mind that in the online channel there are many differences between categories, and it’s necessary to know the behavior of the buyer in each of them, both in the online channel and in the physical store.

To carry out the study, 400 online surveys of the general population, 1,600 online surveys of Health Care buyers from the pharmacy and 11,402 face-to-face surveys were made to effective buyers after the purchase at the pharmacy. The following are the most relevant conclusions of the behavior of the Consumer Health buyer from the pharmacy before the online channel.


Physical stores, increasingly, will not be just a shopping channel, as we like to go shopping (physical) to make our purchases, but also to collect them or to discover or evaluate products that we want to buy online or offline.

The buyer wants to choose to buy when he wants (immediacy) and where he has a better value proposition (convenience, price, assortment). 63% of the population likes to be given the option to buy online and pick up their purchase at the store and 66% find it very interesting that their pharmacy gives them the option to buy online.

The population decides to buy online because it allows them to save time and they have the possibility to buy at any time. Convenience and price are key factors for buying online. Buyers worry about not being at home when the order arrives (logistics, reception and shipping are critical).


The search for online information is increasingly important, especially when you are buying for the first time (entry in the category, brand adoption or set of brands). Internet being the second / third source of information after the pharmacist (who in pharmacy has more power to prescribe), and the doctor (in some categories). This fact makes the pharmacist feel more and more pressure to be informed and trained before the questions of his clients. 


There is an opportunity for online development in the pharmacy sector. Although there are pharmacies with online presence (21%), the volume of sales is very low, where only a few pharmacies take advantage of the online channel. Facial care and nutrition / dietetics are the categories of pharmacy products most purchased by online shoppers. There are usually three reasons to buy products that are sold in pharmacies on the Internet: comfort, good prices and home delivery. Confidence, personal treatment or not seeing and touching the product are the reasons why the population does not buy some pharmacy products online.


In the online purchase of a product is not only bought by price, but the choice of the online store is made mainly by the good prices it offers (39%). Other reasons for choosing the online shopping channel are the great variety of products (27%) and the prior knowledge of the store (25%).

The youngest buyers are those who buy more frequently (25-35 years - 36% monthly purchase). But among the largest buyers is where we found more new customers in the last year (55-69 years - 29% vs 25% average). It seems that the growth in the last two years has skyrocketed, 25% say they have started buying in the last year, 54% in the last two years. In addition, 37% of buyers say they buy more than last year.


Users' evaluation of their experience in the web store they have purchased is positive. The fact that the product delivered was exactly the one you bought, the prices indicated are the ones you finally paid for and the one that clearly indicated the costs associated with the delivery are the aspects that are best valued by online pharmacy buyers. On the other hand, the aspects least valued by the buyers when entering an online store are: that they offer products directly that suit their needs, give them different delivery times or the fact that there were videos and demonstrations of the products. Regarding the price, the general opinion is that the products that the user has purchased online are cheaper than in the physical pharmacy.

Farma Shopper 2018 is the largest consumer and customer study of Consumer Health in the pharmacy ever made in Spain. The goal is to understand who buys, how, where and why; to help labs in their categories and increase the detailed knowledge of your buyer, and thus know where and how you should invest to influence the buying process.



Jesús López
Communications Manager
Tel: +34 662 319 705

Álvaro Redruello
Communications Manager
Tel: +34 601 733 951