The future of pharmacy: 40% of Brits are interested in getting their medications delivered
May 1st, 2024, Clifton Mark

The future of pharmacy: 40% of Brits are interested in getting their medications delivered

  • Demand for pharmacy delivery services outstrips current use.
  • Largest pharmacy delivery gaps are in Midlands, Scotland, Wales.
  • Aside from convenience, difficulty getting to a pharmacy is the top reason people would choose home delivery.
  • Same-day delivery and real-time tracking could be key to winning over sceptics.

Drugstore chain Superdrug recently partnered with delivery service Gophr to provide home pharmacy delivery. According to a recent YouGov poll, there’s opportunity for growth in this sector.

Roughly a fifth (18%) of British consumers have used a pharmacy delivery service in the past year, but more than twice that number (40%) say they’d use one in the next 12 months if one were available. This indicates that there is demand for this type of delivery service, but that the current supply or awareness of pharmacy delivery appears to be low.

Who’s already using pharmacy delivery, and who would if they could?

A little less than one in five Britons (18%) have used a pharmacy delivery service in the past year. This response is consistent between genders and age groups. However, there is a significant difference in regions. While most regions surveyed are near the national average, the Midlands lag quite far behind at 12%, as do Wales and Scotland which are collectively at 14%.

This is not for want of demand, which is much higher than current use. Two in five consumers (40%) say they would use a delivery service in the next twelve months if it were available. This means that more than twice the number of consumers would use such a service, if it were available, than those who currently do.

This difference is especially pronounced in the Midlands, Scotland, and Wales, where the potential demand more than triples actual use. One exception is the East, in which only 28% of consumers say they would have their delivered.

Convenience and transportation issues are the top reasons to use drug delivery

Why would people choose a delivery service over in-store pick-up? Convenience is the key. Of consumers who would consider using a pharmacy delivery service, 79% said that convenience was a reason to do so, by far the most popular answer. The second-most common reason is concerns with transport, including being too ill to get to the physical shop (33%) and the need for urgent delivery (16%).

While convenience is important to all demographic groups, there are some significant generational contrasts. Consumers ages 55 and over are much more concerned with difficulties getting to the pharmacy (42%) than those aged 34 and younger (24%). Younger consumers are more likely to prefer contactless medication delivery (17%) than the national average (11%).

Similarly, older consumers are more comfortable with talking about their medical concerns in public. Only 5% of Britons 55 or older say they would use a delivery service to avoid talking about sensitive medical issues in public compared to 10% of the general population.

Sceptical consumers want same-day delivery and real-time tracking

While a large proportion (40%) of British consumers say they would use a pharmacy delivery service if it were available, an equal proportion (39%) would not. What would make the service more appealing for these sceptical consumers? Same-day delivery is the top option, selected by 42% of these respondents, though nearly as many (39%) are not sure what could make these services better.

Younger consumers appear to have stronger opinions on how to improve delivery services. A wider selection of medications would appeal to a fifth (21%) of them help compared to 12% of the national population. Even more dramatically, 37% of the youngest cohort want to see real-time delivery tracking, compared to 24% of the general population. Nearly all consumers want their drugs today, but younger consumers also want to track them on their way.

Superdrug and Gophr are not the first to offer pharmacy delivery. Other pharmacies, large and small, have long offered some form of delivery service for some range of products. However, this new partnership brings a new large player into the field. YouGov data shows there is plenty of room for growth in this market, especially if brands are attentive to the preferences of delivery skeptics.

Explore our living data – for free

Make smarter business decisions with better intelligence. Understand exactly what your audience is thinking by leveraging our panel of 26 million+ members. Speak with us today.

Discover more health and pharma content here

Want to run your own research? Run a survey now

Methodology: YouGov polled 1000 British adults online on between April 24-25, 2024. The survey was carried out through YouGov Surveys: Self-serve. Data is weighted by age, gender, education level, region, and social grade. Learn more about YouGov Surveys: Self-serve.