Bulk Medical Supplies: What They Are and Who Buys Them

Nick Mirev
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    The sales of bulk medical supplies like masks and syringes increase yearly. There are multiple reasons for that. The main one is the aging population in developed countries that requires more medical care and healthcare services. Businesses like hospitals and nursing homes benefit from wholesale prices when they order high-demand products like consumables and other medical supplies. Furthermore, pharmacies and other retailers buy them in bulk for resale. In the past decade, revenue of eCommerce pharmacies and online stores in the sector have increased as well. In this article, we’ll shed some light on the different types of medical supplies sold in bulk as well as the businesses that purchase them.

    Main Categories of Bulk Medical Supplies

    Medical supplies can be divided into hundreds of categories. Below we’ve shared details about some of the main ones.

    • Instruments. From tongue depressors to clamps, professionals in the healthcare sector use hundreds of different instruments to better perform their job. That’s why it’s no wonder that it is among the most common categories of medical supplies. Some of the instruments are single-use consumables while others can be disinfected and used multiple times.
    • Apparel and personal protective equipment. This is one of the most diverse categories. It includes products used both by patients and physicians. The most common products are masks and shoe covers. Other than them, healthcare institutions order gowns, aprons, and other protective equipment.
    • Wound care. Products in this category include both common goods like bandages and specialized goods like suture needles and wound closure accessories.
    • Infusion and injection products. The most used consumable medical supplies from this category include needles and syringes in various sizes. IV administration products are also part of this large category.
    • Incontinence. These medical supplies are used not only in hospitals but also in other institutions like nursing homes. 
    • Laboratory equipment. Suppliers offer a variety of reagents and specimen containers that are used by medical labs on a daily basis. Labs also purchase utensils, wholesale sanitizer, and other bulk medical supplies.
    Key takeaway: From hospitals to dental centers, various businesses purchase bulk medical supplies. Distributors of these products aim to offer the convenience of supplying a wide range of products needed by businesses and retail customers.
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    Where to Buy and Sell Bulk Medical Supplies

    Traditionally, sales in the healthcare industry are done via sales representatives. Both pharmaceutical companies and distributors of medical supplies work with people in sales. However, in recent years, technological advancements have allowed many businesses to reduce their sales staff and rely on other sales channels as a way to decrease the cost of goods sold. Let’s see some of the main marketing channels to buy and sell bulk medical supplies.

    Ecommerce Store

    Businesses develop their own online stores in order to offer convenience to business and retail customers. Owning a website helps companies increase their revenue and collect data that can later be used for ads or other marketing channels. Some online stores for medical supplies use the dropshipping method for some of their categories. The benefit of this approach is that order fulfillment is done by a third party. That requires fewer investments in inventory and storage.

    Third-Party Marketplaces

    Wholesalers rely on various marketplaces and platforms that help them generate leads and automate certain tasks. D2C sales are often done via such marketplaces or retailers.

    Online Marketing Channels

    Some of the most common medical supplies can be sold via Facebook ads or on Google Shopping. It’s important to keep in mind that these platforms are not likely to result in B2B sales. Therefore, the products that are most suitable for advertising on these platforms are consumables and personal protective equipment.

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    Businesses Buying Bulk Medical Supplies

    The majority of revenue in the field of wholesale medical supplies is generated by B2B sales. Here are some of the main businesses that buy these products in bulk.

    • Healthcare institutions. Hospitals and medical centers need a wide variety of supplies. They often partner with one or multiple distributors of pharmaceutical and medical supplies.
    • Retailers. Pharmacies are the best example of a business that purchases bulk medical supplies and sells them to retail customers. After COVID-19, convenience stores and other retailers also offer the most popular medical supplies like gloves and masks.
    • Dental centers. Dentists need protective equipment and other medical supplies on a daily basis. Some distributors also offer a full array of equipment and products needed by dental centers.
    • Veterinary clinics. Bandages, syringes, and paper products are among the most commonly purchased bulk medical supplies by vets. In addition to them, these businesses also need surgical instruments and other equipment in order to provide proper care for pets and farm animals.
    • Educational institutions. Medical schools require a wide range of supplies as well. Furthermore, during the flu season, a large number of schools and other institutions stock sanitizers and other personal protective equipment and hygiene supplies.
    • Long-term care facilities. That category includes not only nursing homes but also assisted living facilities. They purchase consumables like incontinence products as well as other bulk medical supplies.
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    Frequently Asked Questions about Bulk Medical Supplies

    All spheres of our lives are changing at an unprecedentedly fast pace. That’s why, even though common medical supplies and consumable products are part of our daily lives, they might raise various questions. Below we’ve answered some of the frequently asked questions regarding bulk medical supplies.

    What Is the State of the Medical Supplies Market?

    The global healthcare supplies industry is driven mostly by developed countries in the West. Asian countries with large populations like China and Japan also contribute a significant amount to the overall market size of the bulk medical supplies industry. Currently, the size of the global market is between 130 and 150 billion dollars. The main purchasers of bulk medical supplies are unsurprisingly hospitals. After the COVID pandemic, D2C sales have increased substantially. The main products bought by businesses and retail customers are consumables and personal protective equipment.

    What Are the Future Trends in the Medical Supplies Market?

    As most developed countries are experiencing a population decline, the size of the market for healthcare services and medical supplies is expected to rise. Furthermore, emerging markets such as Africa or Southeast Asia will become more important in the global bulk medical supplies industry.

    Solutions in the field of eCommerce medical supplies trade will become increasingly important. For example, wholesalers use platforms like BlueCart in order to easily display their catalogs to current and potential customers. Buyers of bulk medical supplies and other wholesale items expect businesses to benefit from technological advancements. This will make the process of purchasing products and materials much easier.

    When it comes to medical services and products, the focus in the next decade will be on partnering with small businesses. Enterprises like nursing homes and dental centers are likely to be the main driving factors of bulk medical supplies purchases.

    What Other Products Are Sold by Distributors of Bulk Medical Supplies?

    One of the reasons why various business owners choose to start dropshipping medical supplies is the fact that the niche is close to other industries as well. For example, distributors of wholesale medical supplies might also sell wholesale janitorial supplies or bulk paper goods. Large suppliers also act as middlemen between pharmaceutical companies and hospitals or pharmacies. By offering both bulk medical supplies and pharmaceutical products, wholesalers guarantee the convenience of their clients.

    Lab equipment, medical devices, and other pieces of healthcare technology are also sold by distributors of bulk medical supplies.

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