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Who's who in ecommerce: The changing face of online shoppers

Consumer shopping habits changed significantly over the past couple of years – by necessity.

Many stores closed their doors to foot traffic, and the ones that remained open had to alter their usual ways of doing business. Instead of dropping by to purchase necessities and impulse items, customers adopted shopping methods that were less common up to that point: Order online for home delivery, or order online for pick up curbside.

Even after stores reopened or expanded their hours, many consumers kept shopping online when they realized the benefits that ecommerce could offer them.

And ecommerce isn't fading away. According to data from Statista, ecommerce accounted for almost 20% of all retail sales worldwide in 2021, and experts predict it will be up to 30% by 2025.1

If you market healthcare goods to online shoppers, you need to know who's buying – and why.

A generational view of online shoppers

To start your study of online shoppers and potential customers, an intuitive way to segment this audience is by age. You'll want to examine their spending power and habits, which can and do vary based on generation.

For example, consider which generational cohorts are spending the most money right now – and who's expected to spend more in the near future. According to a May 2022 report from CBRE, Gen X (born between 1965 and 1980) and millennials (born between 1981 and 1996)2 tend to have the highest average household expenditures. Gen X logged an average of $75,097, with millennials spending $61,298.3

But you can't leave out the baby boomers, a major consumer of healthcare products. The report also suggests that along with the millennials and Gen Xers, baby boomers are the third highest spenders among the generations at $59,300.

And it would be a mistake to count out the younger generations. The CBRE report stated that millennials exhibit the most potential growth in spending.3 And Generation Z is up and coming, with an estimated $44 billion in current buying power.

In addition to how much consumers are spending by generation, also consider their shopping location preferences. Though the CBRE report noted that many baby boomers still prefer to shop in-store, public health events have interrupted the ability to do so. As a result, many consumers began shopping – and spending – more online. And that's especially true for younger shoppers.

For example, a December 2020 report from Kibo found that "younger generations" like millennials and Generation Z are continuing to shift more of their shopping and spending online.4 So why the shift to online spending? Convenience is a big reason. The report found that 55% of the millennials surveyed cited convenience as the number one benefit of online shopping. The ability to compare prices was also a big draw for Generation Z, which also cited a desire to buy products from companies that share their values.

What's trending with digital shoppers

When considering your ecommerce audience for health and wellness products, it's important to ask what makes your customers and potential customers tick – that is, what do they respond to positively and what might turn them off?

A recent report from Amcor confirms that people are definitely shopping online for personal care products – about 34% of consumers are now "digital beauty shoppers" according to a 2020 survey.5 This underscores the need for brands to produce compelling content that will draw the potential buyer in and convince them to complete the purchase.

You might also consider what they're already buying:

  • Medications: Customers are buying medications online, and they'll probably buy even more in the future. A recent report from EY noted that "e-pharmacy was on the rise even prior to the pandemic," and it's projected to grow even more over the next few years.6 And price is a driving factor. According to a recent report titled "U.S. Online Pharmacy Market – Industry Outlook & Forecast 2021-2026," online stores often sell medications at a lower price than traditional retail outlets do7
  • Cosmetics: Makeup and skin care products are easily purchased online, and customers seem glad to have that option. A 2021 beauty and personal care report from Statista predicted that nearly half of beauty sales will be ecommerce sales by 2023.1 And younger customers are particularly interested in buying sustainable products as well as "clean" beauty products made without chemicals, so that segment of the market is also expected to grow substantially8

But it's not enough for companies to persuade a shopper to buy their product. They also have to deliver – quite literally – on their promise. The Amcor report emphasized the need to meet digital shoppers' expectations when the sale has been made.5 Those shoppers expect their goods to arrive quickly and in perfect condition – and they like sustainable packaging, too. The EY report also noted that customers now have increased service expectations from all retail businesses, including pharmacies. They want convenience, lower costs and a high level of service.6

And if customers don't get what they want, they'll turn to retailers who can deliver on that front. That's where McKesson Medical-Surgical comes in. Our retail ecommerce services include fast shipping to your customers' homes, which can help you build customer loyalty and trust. With our nationwide distribution network, we can provide next-day delivery to 95% of U.S. households and two-day delivery to 98%.

Room for growth

Ultimately, there is enormous potential with ecommerce. Experts are predicting continued growth over the next several years, and that translates to opportunities. The competition isn't resting on its proverbial laurels, content to sit back and enjoy its current success – it's looking to build upon it and take over an even greater share of the market.

But some research indicates that customers are willing to turn away from the biggest online retailers if they believe they can get what they need elsewhere. A 2022 ecommerce relevance survey found that 46% of respondents would choose to shop somewhere other Amazon for a variety of reasons.9 Retailers who can meet consumer expectations around delivery speed, convenience and greater product selection can potentially win those customers away.

Is your ecommerce strategy ready to grow with consumer demand? Learn how we can support your retail ecommerce business.


© 2022 McKesson Medical-Surgical Inc.