Walmart (NYSE: WMT) and Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZ) are in a pitched battle for market dominance in a lot of ways as the lines between online and brick-and-mortar continue to blur. The healthcare business is a good example, and it's happening on multiple fronts.
For instance, Walmart has just bought MeMD, a multi-specialty telehealth provider founded in 2010 that will allow Walmart to provide access to 24/7 healthcare across the nation, including urgent, behavioral, and primary care, the company said. Walmart already is a major drug dealer of the legal variety and is bolstering that business with a growing number of in-store medical clinics, too.
Amazon, meanwhile, has Amazon Care, which includes telecare with at-home follow-up and, of course, pharmaceuticals delivered to the customer. And now the company is reportedly considering expanding into brick-and-mortar pharmacies, joining the massive firm's brick-and-mortar ventures that perhaps most notably includes Whole Foods.
So big they can grow their own healthcare business internally
Interestingly, both these companies are so huge that they're adding significant scale to their healthcare business simply by offering services to their millions of employees along with customers, as this Wall Street Journal article describes.
A recent PYMNTS.com article, meanwhile, focuses on the arms race between Walmart and Amazon themselves. The site says its analysis shows that the two titans currently have about 9% domestic market share in retail revenue.
But Amazon’s share is growing much faster, including by about a third in just the past year while Walmart posted its first year-over-year increase in that metric since 2015. In another piece, PYMNTS.com estimates that Amazon will grow sales three times faster than its rival and lead by 40% by 2025.
Make no mistake, both are growing fast -- it's just that Amazon is growing faster. They also aren't alone. Walgreens and CVS also expanded their telehealth business during the pandemic, and both are including direct medical services in the form of clinics inside their stores.
The Millionacres bottom line
Everybody wants to rule the world, as the old song goes, and Walmart and Amazon are no exceptions. But at least real estate investors can get involved in a lot of ways.
For instance, buying Amazon stock gives you exposure to its growing physical presence. Walmart stock, of course, does so even more, from the retail real estate perspective. In fact, it can be considered a major real estate company all on its own.
Then there are private and publicly traded real estate investment trusts (REITs) that own property both those giants occupy. Amazon is a major consumer of industrial warehouse and distribution space, while Walmart stores serve as an ideal anchor tenant in thousands of shopping centers across the land.
These behemoths muscling their way into that most essential of services -- healthcare -- would seem to only add to their attractiveness to individual investors who buy into their epically successful and expanding business models.