High street stores are set to be overtaken by doc shops as phenomena known as “medtail’ becomes the new retail norm.
That’s according to the 2021 Retail Healthcare Outlook released by retail consultants, Tether Advisors, which predicts an acceleration of the trend in high street medical retail as a result of the COVID pandemic.
“COVID-19 has sped up the inevitability that preventative wellness is no longer a choice,” said Willie Hoag, principal at Tether Advisors.
“The retail space is overbuilt, mediocre and redundant. The innovation we’ve seen directed at that space is just the beginning. It’s exciting that a new group of players is filling former retail spots while providing access and convenience to consumers. Most importantly, the convergence could make us a healthier society.”
Tether’s study found that nearly 80 percent of private equity, commercial real estate and retail healthcare respondents believe medtail investment will increase in the coming year and that COVID-19 bolstered the sector’s outlook.
That’s driven by investors who are looking for safe bets amid a pandemic-induced recession as well as consumers increasing emphasis on preventative care as they work to stay ahead of the coronavirus and other ailments.
The report found that 76 percent of private equity, commercial real estate and retail healthcare respondents believe COVID-19 has positively impacted retail healthcare as an investment target. Commercial real estate was the most bullish at 85percent.
Convenience is a key driver when it comes to medtail’s growth, but the different stakeholders surveyed don’t agree on how to define it in this context. Thirty-nine percent of consumers pointed to shorter wait times, a choice that was far less popular among other groups.
Some consumer education about medtail appears necessary. While nearly two-thirds could define preventative care, just 27 percent could define value-based care. But a strong majority of consumers said both concepts were important.
The 36-50 age group was seen as the age group most effectively served by a plurality of all stakeholder groups surveyed and by 43 percent overall. Respondents probably figure that medtail’s convenience will be important for busy working parents, or they might be falling back on wishful thinking about an attractive market segment.
“The overall bullishness about medtail is encouraging, and it might actually understate the opportunities we’re seeing,” said Katie Killeen, vice president of Tether Advisors.
“Some obstacles remain – the staffing hurdles most medical retailers face are larger than ever, which is significant as reliable personnel are the backbone of every concept. But the larger trends driving medtail that have been turbocharged by COVID-19 clearly have staying power.”