Rise of wellness products in the Pharmacy retail space


February 2, 2022 | By Zubina Ahmed

The pandemic has made the health industry experience a paradigm shift from curative to preventative care, with more consumers actively changing their approach to fitness and wellbeing. According to a recent industry report, healthcare expenditure across the GCC will touch $89 billion by 2022. Another global survey recently revealed changing consumer habits, with 62% of individuals saying that they have made significant lifestyle changes towards improving their health. 

As the industry undergoes an unprecedented transformation, UAE’s leading retail group GMG further expanded its health-related business. The conglomerate’s health vertical is expanding its retail footprint in the UAE by more than 40% by the end of 2022. The pandemic accelerated the convergence of several trends in the healthcare industry, particularly consumers prioritising convenience and access to care. To this effect, immunity-boosting drinks, foods, and vitamin products have become increasingly popular to maintain optimum health. “This increase in demand for better quality healthcare products and focus on wellness is now single-handedly driving the growth of the organised retail pharmacy sector”, said Shivam Kataria, Vice President of GMG Health. 

Due to a surge in consumer demand for quality health and wellbeing products and services, the company’s health portfolio currently includes prominent homegrown concepts like Supercare Pharmacy, Good Health, and Arabella Pharmacy. Supercare is a leading healthcare, lifestyle, and Pharma care brand with a legacy of over 40 years. Good Health is a more recent pioneer in herbal remedies and dietary supplements, while Arabella Pharmacy provides natural, organic health products. “We are a well-being company and GMG Health focusses a lot on inner and outer wellness since the last 40 years. More than clinical, we are now trying to focus a lot on premium nutrition and holistic solutions aiming for preventive care. Some top-of-the-line brands come directly from US, Canada. We make sure to understand our customer when they walk-in to our shopfloor.” added Shivam.

The adoption of digital technology helped to do this and it ensured the proper functioning of the systems and the timely delivery of goods to end-users. “We want to be where the customers are. Post pandemic there has been a major shift to e-commerce channels. So when we look at our e-commerce, there are 3 things – one is our own branded commerce website which we will launch very soon. Then we have a strong partnership with third party platforms like Instashop, Talabat, Now Now, Careem to deliver wellness products. We are working on our omnichannel strategy and on our own platform very soon to provide seamless solutions to our customers both online and offline in 2022, stated Shivam. 

We all have stressful and sedentary lifestyles that is exacerbated by the consumption of unhealthy food habits. This has led to increase of lifestyle-related ailments.  Consumers today are thus inclined towards products that can help improve their immunity, manage their sugar, blood pressure, and body weight. Hence, along with prescription-based drugs, retail pharmacies are increasingly offering consumers wellness products that help with their general wellbeing. “The idea of good health is migrating towards wellness and it is aspirational. A pharmacies aim is to not just be medicine providers but also become trusted wellness partners and advisors to their loyal customer base. So we we want to change as per the customer need. Arabella is one step in that direction only concentrating on vegan and organic products”, concluded Shivam.

GMG’s first foray into the health and health industry was in 1978 when it launched the Al Khayyam Pharmacy to improve access to medicine in Dubai, UAE. A decade later, Al Khayyam Pharmacy was rebranded to Supercare Pharmacy, and its reach gradually expanded across the UAE. The conglomerate introduced its homegrown concept Good Health in 1992, and relaunched Arabella Pharmacy in 2021. They recently participated in the Arab Health 2022 to showcase their range of wellness products. 

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