Splitit Redefining Retail May 2024 Banner

Walmart Aims to Regain Healthcare Lead Over Amazon

Walmart, healthcare

With Amazon having just recently pulled ahead of Walmart in health and wellness, the latter is looking to regain its lead by expanding its presence in the space.

The retailer is adding 18 more Walmart Health centers in Texas this year alone, per a Wednesday (April 10) announcement, on top of the existing four locations in the state.

“We are excited to deepen Walmart Health’s presence in Texas beginning in April in Houston and Dallas-Fort Worth,” David Carmouche, senior vice president of healthcare delivery at Walmart, said in a statement. “With the population of Texas continuing to grow, these Walmart Health centers will help address the demand for easy to access care for all seniors and their families.”

The company operates these health centers, which offer a range of health services, in six states, with 50 existing locations.

In fact, healthcare is one area where Walmart comes closer to holding its ground against Amazon for consumers’ spending than other sectors, though Amazon’s market share continues to rise, according to the latest edition of PYMNTS Intelligence’s “Whole Paycheck Report: New Consumer Spend Data Finds Amazon Way Ahead of Walmart.”

The study estimates each of the two retailers’ market shares in various categories based on their earnings reports from Q1 2019 through Q4 2023, in conjunction with national data from the U.S. Census Bureau and Bureau of Economic Analysis. Findings showed that, as of Q4 2023, Amazon held a 4.4% share of total consumer spending, while Walmart held 3%.

Yet in healthcare, Amazon has only recently pulled ahead of Walmart, capturing 6.6% versus Walmart’s 5.7%. Amazon is growing its share quickly, while Walmart’s share remains roughly flat. Just a quarter earlier, Walmart had still been in the lead (5.9% versus 5.7%).

Indeed, even as Walmart grows its healthcare business, Amazon is doing the same, aiming to leverage this vertical to not only capture consumers’ health and wellness spending but also to drive synergies across other parts of its business such as grocery. Andy Jassy, the eCommerce giant’s CEO, spoke to these efforts in his 2023 Letter to Shareholders published on Thursday (Apr. 11). 

“We’ve now created several important building blocks to help transform the customer health experience: Acute Care (via Amazon Clinic), Primary Care (via One Medical), and a Pharmacy service to buy whatever medication a patient may need,” Jassy wrote. “Because of our growing success, Amazon customers are now asking us to help them with all kinds of wellness and nutrition opportunities — which can be partially unlocked with some of our existing grocery building blocks, including Whole Foods Market or Amazon Fresh.”

The healthcare opportunity is significant, especially in urban and suburban areas, according to the 2023 PYMNTS Intelligence study “ConnectedEconomy™ Monthly Report: The Urban-Rural Health Divide Edition” which drew from a survey of nearly 2,500 U.S. consumers. The results revealed that, as of a year ago, 62% of consumers living in urban areas participated in healthcare-related activities, as did one in three consumers in suburban locales, versus just 23% of those in rural areas.