With the COVID-19 pandemic in full swing during the second and third quarters of 2020, the Saudi authorities took a very serious and strict approach to social distancing. Among the most important measures adopted to curb the spread of the virus were the various curfews and quarantines that were imposed upon the country’s population.
The exigencies of the COVID-19 pandemic and the official government response to it, specifically curfews and quarantines, necessitated a change in approach to the distribution of OTC consumer health products in Saudi Arabia during 2020. The Saudi Government, in collaboration with private health insurance companies and various hospitals and medical centres played a vital role in implementing many initiatives to widen access to consumer health products, including OTC eye care items, via drive-through pharmacies, while the period of time for medication refills for chronically ill patients was extended from six months to nine months.
2020 saw eye drops remain the most popular format in eye care, with sales of other formats such as eye washes, ointments and gels held back by the far more limited distribution of these types of products. Indeed, the vast majority of eye care products available in Saudi Arabia are available only in drops format.
While the COVID-19 pandemic is expected to have supported sales of eye care products due to the dramatic increase seen in the amount of screen time in the daily lives of many Saudi consumers, economic uncertainty and the lack of access to store-based retailing due to proteins and curfews during 2020 placed significant pressure on category sales during the year. A strong recovery is expected from 2022 onwards and this is expected to be based at least partially on the rising numbers of Saudi residents opting to have eye surgery, particularly eye correction procedures such as Trans PRK and Femtolasik.
2020 saw Allergan reaffirm its commitment to developing its operations in Saudi Arabia, with eye care likely to benefit from the international player’s enhanced presence in the Kingdom during the forecast period. Allergan is among the global leaders in biopharmaceuticals and the company recently participated in the 31st Annual Scientific Meeting of Saudi Ophthalmological Society (SOS), held in Al Riyadh, where new light was shed on developments surrounding prevalent eye diseases that include cataract, retina, prevention of blindness, paediatric ophthalmology and glaucoma, as well as discussions around the role of genetics in eye health.
The official response to the COVID-19 pandemic in Saudi Arabia resulted in many consumers being unable to access store-based retailing outlets due to the imposition of diffuse and quarantines at various points during the second and third quarters of the year. In response, many consumers turned to e-commerce in order to purchase a wide range of parks, including OTC consumer health.
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Understand the latest market trends and future growth opportunities for the Eye Care industry in Saudi Arabia with research from Euromonitor International's team of in-country analysts – experts by industry and geographic specialisation.
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This report originates from Passport, our Eye Care research and analysis database.
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