Future Outlook for eCommerce in Healthcare Industry and Growth Potential in Next 5 Years

By: Manu Grover, Founder, Healthgenie.in

ecommerce

Recent years have seen a remarkable transformation in the way Indian consumers shop. eCommerce has taken the world of retail by storm and fascinated the minds of an entire generation of entrepreneurs. With e-commerce booming like never before, entrepreneurs are not just innovating but are also experimenting with the business models and the sectors they can play in. The explosive growth in the last few years has already hurled the biggest firms among these ventures past the billion-dollar territory. Indian e-commerce is projected to explode from $10 billion to $43 billion in the next five years.

Online retailing today represents one of the fastest and the most dynamically growing segments. It is also the most challenging in accomplishing its fundamental proposition of going beyond geographical boundaries to deliver the entire gamut of products and services to the customer’s doorstep. Logistics and infrastructure in an e-retailing business are the very backbone of the fulfilment network and the basis of winning a customers’ loyalty. Over the last couple of decades, rising internet and mobile phone penetration has changed the way we communicate and do business. E-commerce is relatively an original concept. It is, at present, heavily leaning on the internet and mobile phone revolution to fundamentally alter the way businesses reach their customers.

There is a huge turmoil within the e-commerce space for a strife of leadership where everybody wants to be a leader and VC’s are warming up to make the business plan self-sustainable , which means, lesser freebies and higher prices. On the other hand offline is getting leaner, corrections are happening and with the increasing online prices, the online and offline, will not only coexist, but thrive on each other. From my point of view, Healthcare is the next big thing in the online retailing space as the sector offers an immense potential to the players. A significant increase in life expectancy combined with increasing demand for quality healthcare products, has led to a huge online demand of healthcare products in India. As healthcare facilities are still developing in Tier II and III cities, there is a tremendous demand from these cities as the maximum traffic comes from there. Also, with the recent rise in GDP and the yearning for basic healthcare amenities among the population, has helped and allowed the e-tailing players in healthcare to dive in for the opportunities present for them in the sector.

With healthcare industry slated to grow by USD 280 Million in another 5 years in India, the healthcare ecommerce is exploding. With the 55-year-old lineage and knowledge of manufacturing and selling health and wellness products, Healthgenie.in has resolved to translate this wealth of knowledge and propel the brand and sales to greater heights in the industry which is poised to grow in coming years.

India is world’s second-largest growing online population in the world after Brazil. With 7 out of 10 expected to shop online and in spite of the promise of a very large market opportunity for online and an expectation that this would touch even USD 90 billion by 2020, there is skepticism amongst investors that this may not last long and that this bubble will burst very soon. Though, there is a strong belief among e-tailers that healthcare will be the next big thing in the online retail space.

As the online/ internet business is maturing in India, there is an increasing drive towards developments. Many machine learning technologies are being tested and developed in healthcare settings. This has enabled solving many problems and has assisted the clinicians deliver personalized care to the consumer online.

Some of the major drivers for online healthcare business in India are:

Time & Cost: The retail and other verticals have gone online, the time and money to access healthcare in large cities is increasingly an issue. Online business enables this in the privacy of their homes at their own time and convenience without having to travel long distances for consultation.

Consumer Demand: A massive shift in popular mindset about healthcare is underway that will generate the consumer driven demand for healthcare products ad services. Consumers, now in India have started demanding services that can cater to them in a personalized manner.

Technology: Technology innovation is creating the tool that delivers what the consumers want. It offers us ways to measure outcomes, improve quality, make diagnosis less expensive and personalize therapeutic approaches to increase the likelihood of success. With the increase of smart phones and with 4G services to be rolled out soon, we will be experiencing the concept of “iDiagnostics”

The current healthcare record keeping procedure in India is very scattered too. We are still using the paper based records which is disorganized and which is often illegible and very poorly linked with general demographics. The future of healthcare in India is very promising as we are seeing a paradigm shift in the way things are done. The records are now being maintained online which does not have a shelf life and can be accessed throughout, from anywhere.

It has seen huge transition over the period of time and moved beyond patient records to “Health Biographies” and in the coming years we might see a change of cyber physicians who will look after people’s health and detect changes through sensors. This will prompt swift preventive measures of treatments.

The online healthcare space is very large and it is only increasing day by day and with the growth in technology and mobile internet/apps. Features like Video Conferencing, Telemedicine, Online Consultancy, Elderly Care Givers, Palliative Care givers are some of

the new Opportunities / innovations in the healthcare sector which is changing the entire scenario of healthcare in India.

Future of e – commerce in healthcare is the brightest. Healthcare e – commerce today is like the time, when in telephone landlines era, the mobiles service was just about ready to hit India. (We could not possibly even image today, then & it’s the same with Healthcare).

After taking a holistic view of the industry trends, healthcare e-commerce is poised for an exciting period of exploding growth in a period of three to five years. This is expected to lead to substantial investments in supporting infrastructure and innovative and game changing business models.

And finally for us, the point is not to predict the future but to prepare for it and be one of the few fortunate one to be able to shape it.