The demand for wellness products is among the largest growing sectors in the global economy. This rise in demand was already on a sharp rise before 2020. But when the COVID-19 pandemic spread internationally in the spring of last year, billion of consumers began to seek more products that could protect their health.
According to Policy Advice, the global wellness industry is valued at $4 trillion annually. That represents a robust 6.4% increase from 2017.
China is no exception to the explosive expansion in demand for wellness products. In fact, according to a survey of 7,500 people conducted by McKinsey, China ranks No. 1 for the highest amount of spending online on wellness products. Japan was ranked No.2.
One of China’s largest e-commerce retailers, JD.Com, was perfectly positioned to capitalize on the surging wellness trend. The latest JD News reports that JD Health’s active user accounts reached 89.9 million in 2020. That’s a 33.7 million person increase over 2019.
As the healthcare arm of JD.COM, JD Health offers more than wellness products. It also provides services, including real-time online consulting with medical care professionals. In 2020, the number of daily average consultations topped 100,000 sessions per day. That’s more than five times the number of cases handled in 2019.
Again, the pandemic certainly played a major role in driving forward these kinds of transactions. But all indications are that more Chinese consumers were getting comfortable in conducting health-related activities with medical professionals remotely via digital platforms.
JD Health is now one of China’s largest pharmaceutical retailers. As such, it sells to both businesses and directly to consumers. The lightning-fast logistics of JD make it possible to deliver prescription drugs within 30 minutes. Furthermore, JD Health offers an array of telemedicine services. This includes consultations with mainstream medical practitioners and traditional Chinese medicine.
In other JD News on the wellness front, the McKinsey report revealed that more than 50% of Chinese survey respondents said they planned to spend more on service products via the JD Health platform through 2021. This is twice as many as indicated by people living in Western nations.
Eric He is an analyst with McKinsey. He said the accelerated growth in demand for wellness and health services in China is a trend that is likely to continue. He credited infrastructure and technology as a key driver for the acceptance of obtaining healthcare services using an e-commerce model.
As it becomes easier for Chinese consumers to get equivalent services of the same quality as they would from an in-office visit, they have every reason to adopt e-commerce venues as they take care of their healthcare needs.
Another interesting data point revealed by the McKinsey data shows that most people around the world are paying closer attention to their personal health. At the same time, the majority of people reported that they have failed to meet their personal wellness goals. Only two countries bucked that trend. One was China and the other Brazil.
One of the reasons offered for the positive trend in personal wellness self-assessment by Chinese citizens is that they feel more confident about the number and availability of market offerings for what they need. They are also buoyed by the convenience of being able to shop online and have products delivered with minutes our hours of placing an order.
It’s clear from the McKinsey report and the remarkable consumer numbers turned in by JD Health and JD.Com that the wellness industry is one that is not only here to stay but poised for continued expansion.