More than 60% of Internet Users in Germany Buy Medication Online - eMarketer

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More than 60% of Internet Users in Germany Buy Medication Online

And the majority are very satisfied with the experience

April 3, 2017

About 35 million people—61% of adult internet users in Germany—used an online pharmacy to buy medication sometime during the six months preceding a February 2017 poll by Creditreform Boniversum. That figure included those who had purchased either prescription or over-the-counter (OTC) drugs.

Internet Users in Germany Who Purchase Over-the-Counter (OTC) vs. Prescription Medication Digitally, Feb 2017 (% of respondents)

Those buying their medication online were largely happy with both the purchase itself and the service experience. Nearly all (99%) of those who bought OTC medicine digitally were either fully or somewhat satisfied. A similar percentage (97%) who bought prescription drugs online said the same, while just 3% of that sample were somewhat dissatisfied. None of the respondents reported being completely dissatisfied with the online purchase of either OTC or prescription medication.

Women in Germany are marginally more likely to buy medication digitally, according to the survey; 62% of female internet users had done so, compared with 59.2% of males. In addition, younger adults—ages 18 to 39—were more likely to buy medication online than their older counterparts.

Well-to-do consumers in Germany also showed an above-average rate of digital purchasing; 74.3% of respondents in the most affluent households had used online pharmacies, compared with just 42.3% of those in the lowest income bracket.

Arguably, lower-income consumers could be more likely to benefit from buying medication digitally. The EU currently allows international mail order and digital retailers to price prescription drugs as they wish, while physical pharmacies must adhere to prices fixed by the government. But that digital benefit may soon disappear.

As eMarketer recently reported, Germany’s Ministry of Health is taking the first steps to prohibit online sales of prescription medicine to drive buyers back to brick-and-mortar pharmacies. The poll found that 52% of adults were opposed to such a change. Not surprisingly, consumers in less-affluent households and retirees were among the cohorts most likely to say they’d object to any ban on online sales.

—Karin von Abrams

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