Reliance to open dedicated pharmacy stores

As per the newspaper reports, Reliance Retail is planning to aggressively expand into offline pharmacy stores under it’s subsidiary brand Netmeds.

  • Reliance had acquired a majority stake in online pharmacy start-up Nedmeds in August 2020.
  • Along with online, Reliance is currently running offline pharmacies under shop in shop format within it’s retail store network; Reliance Smart Bazaar and Smart Point stores
    • Estimated 1,000 stores currently
  • Reliance now plans to open 2,000 standalone stores across the country in next one year, with the 1st being recently opened in Chennai

Some key related points to consider –

  • Online pharmacy was projected to be a game changer in Indian context and given the significant underlying margins was supposed to significantly eat away business from the offline pharmacies
  • The fact remains – out of an estimated Rs 2 lakh crore of total Indian pharmacy market size, online pharmacy is still estimated to be only at around 3%.¬†Over 8 lakh pharmacy stores across the country contribute the balance
    • According to a Frost & Sullivan report, e-pharmacies market in India was expected to reach $3.6 billion (Rs 25,000 crore) by 2022, growing at a CAGR of 63% from 2018. In reality, we have not even reached 1/4th of that.
  • E-pharmacies looking for quick growth and market share grab therefore are toying up with an omni-channel play, i.e., both online and offline.
    • Other than Netmeds, Tata 1mg and Pharmeasy are also speculated to be setting up the physical stores.
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