China O2O Retail Pharmacy Market Analysis: Sales, Popular Platforms, Best-selling Products, and More

by Grace Wang Jan 03, 2023

Online-to-offline (O2O) retail pharmacy business mode refers to that an offline pharmacy sells medical products at an online platform. The products can be taken to the customers by a delivery person, or taken away by customers themselves who have completed payment online. 

On the online platform, pharmacies can display medical products and offer medication advice to customers, who can later make comments on the pharmacies’ services.

The platform belongs to a third party or is fully owned by the pharmacy. The delivery service can be carried out by the pharmacy or the third-party platform.

Mechanism of O2O Retail PharmacyMechanism of O2O Retail Pharmacy

The earliest try of O2O pharmacy in China was made by Golden Elephant Pharmacy in 2012. The pharmacy sold medicines on its own online platform, and had the medicines delivered by its partner Kuaishubao, a book retailer that delivered books within 1 hour after customers completed the payment. Unfortunately, the partnership between the two companies terminated in 2013. 

From 2013 to 2014, some pharmacies withdrew from the O2O business due to multiple challenges:

   - Insufficient capital to offer delivery service;

   - Low average order value;

   - Customers not being used to consulting pharmacists for medication advice online, etc.

Since 2014, more companies engaged in O2O medical business with stronger financial support. For example, Beijing Kuaifang Technology’s Kuaifang Songyao enrolled 200 million1 yuan from Tiantu Capital. Ali Health was financially backed by its parent company Alibaba.

At this stage, more pharmacy chains joined in O2O mode to expand their businesses from offline to online, from a relatively small nearby community to a larger area covered by the delivery service. Under such trends, on the one hand, O2O pharmacies spread to more cities; on the other hand, customers grew more accustomed to purchasing medicines online.

During the COVID-19 pandemic, O2O pharmacies experienced a boost due to the surging needs of O2O drug delivery services. Some customers choose ordering medicines from O2O pharmacies in an urgent need for medicines when they were not able or willing to go to a hospital or clinic.

Besides, internet companies facilitated the exposure of O2O pharmacies. For instance, Meituan, a retail company with an online shopping app, cooperates with pharmacies and pharma companies to offer 24-hour medicine delivery service.

By the end of 2021, China had a total of 589,648 retail pharmacies, of which 57.2% are chains and 42.8% are single stores. About 200,000 retail pharmacies, i.e., 1/3 of all in China, have joined O2O business.2  

Sales of O2O Retail Pharmacies

In 2021, O2O retail pharmacies in China realized a total revenue of 20.2 billion yuan (circa 2.89 billion USD), accounting for 3.5% of the Chinese pharmacy market.

According to Menet’s estimation, O2O pharmacies’ revenue will grow to 144.4 billion yuan by 2030, which will be 19.2% of the revenue of all retail pharmacies.

If O2O platforms join China’s national social medical insurance system, which means the online payment can be reimbursed by the insurance, the revenue and market share of O2O pharmacies are expected to grow faster to 240.7 billion yuan, which accounts for 32.1% of China's retail pharmacy market.

Estimations on O2O Retail Pharmacies in China by 2030

Whether the social medical insurance system connects to e-commerce platforms

Market Share of O2O Retail Pharmacies Among All Retail Pharmacies

Market size of O2O Pharmacies



144.4 billion yuan



240.7 billion yuan

Data source:

The Most Used O2O Platforms

O2O platforms are divided into two types:

1) third-party platforms;

2) offline pharmacies’ self-built platforms. 

Third-party platforms include Meituan,, and Pharmacies establish online stores on the third-party platforms and share part of the revenue with the platforms. 

As for self-built platforms, they are generally built by pharmacy chains with rich capital, human resources, and/or strong sense of online economy. Such platforms include:


Dingdang Kuaiyao Technology’s Dingdang Kuaiyao


Yixintang’s Yixin Daojia


Haiwang Xingchen’s Xingchen Yaojisong


Dashenlin’s Yaosuda


Jianzhijia’s Jiajisong


Yikang’s Yikang Daojia

According to Menet’s recent survey on most used O2O e-commerce platforms, the top 2—Meituan and—are both third-party platforms. They were chosen by 43.1% and 15.7% customers respectively. About 12% customers chose, also a third-party platform. The rest of 29.2% used Dingdang Kuaiyao, Xingchen Yaojisong, and other self-built platforms.

O2O Platforms Used by Chinese Customers for Buying MedicinesO2O Platforms Used by Chinese Customers for Buying Medicines. Data source: Menet’s Survey on Customers Purchasing Products from O2O Pharmacies

The Most Popular Products on O2O Pharmacies

The top products bought by 51.1% customers are for gastrointestinal disorders. The top 2 and top 3 are cold & fever drugs and anti-inflammatory medicines, bought by 50.3% and 42.7% customers respectively.

Top 4 to 15 most-sold categories of products are:

   - Heat-relieving drugs;

   - Disinfectants;

   - Products for skin;

   - Tonics and health supplements;

   - Medical devices;

   - Products for personal care (including cosmetics);

   - Food;

   - Chronic (mainly cardiovascular and cerebrovascular) disease drugs;

   - Pediatric drugs;

   - Rheumatism drugs;

   - Gynecological drugs;

   - Contraceptives.

Top 15 Product Categories on Chinese O2O PharmaciesTop 15 Product Categories on Chinese O2O Pharmacies. Data source: Menet’s Survey on Customers Purchasing Products from O2O PharmaciesAs China’s e-commerce and logistics continue developing, O2O retail pharmacies indicates remarkable market potential. Contact BaiPharm if you have any questions related to medicines in China.

Grace Wang
ChemLinked Regulatory Analyst & Editor
Copyright: unless otherwise stated all contents of this website are ©2024 - REACH24H Consulting Group - All Rights Reserved - For permission to use any content on this site, please contact
You May Also Like
Most Popular