Globalization is a mega trend across many industries. The dental industry is not unaffected by this development either and has to adapt to the changes that come with it. Dental laboratories which not only adapt to it, but also get involved with it, have the opportunity to use the change as an opportunity for themselves.
Dental tourism is not a new phenomenon, but it is further encouraged by the increasing globalization in the dental market. Globalization simplifies the process of finding information not only for companies in the dental industry, but also for digital patients, who find it easier to decide on their personal best offer thanks to open borders, price transparency and the Internet as a source of information.
In German dental practices, dental tourism plays a rather subordinate role, since the patients maintain a close relationship of trust with their practitioners. One reason for this is certainly the skepticism of patients with regard to the equally good quality of treatment abroad.
In the case of dentures abroad, things are different here. According to estimates, about 30% of the dentures in Germany come from abroad. Foreign dentures are in competition with the local dental laboratories, but the production of dentures abroad is not to be regarded as bad per se from the point of view of German dental laboratories. Laboratories benefit from international cooperation, particularly in relation to the exchange of experience, the introduction of new technologies and materials, and the development of improved treatment options.
One of the biggest advantages that globalization brings with it is the great price transparency. Providers come together online on various platforms and present their offerings to buyers - including on the dental market. Comparing offers and prices is no longer as complex as it used to be. The competition is greater and as a result the prices are falling.
Since the price is no longer the sole basis for decisions due to the increasing transparency on the market, the providers are forced to deal more specifically with their target group and also to present themselves as solution providers. Innovations and a more differentiated product portfolio are necessary to stand out from the competition. Practices and dental laboratories as well as consumers are gaining bargaining power as a result of globalization, especially when they combine to form larger practice and laboratory structures in the course of market consolidation.
Generations Y and Z have already grown up in a globalized world. For them, national borders and a life without the Internet are hardly imaginable. Their entire purchasing behavior has changed accordingly. While Generations X and previous ones still do a lot of research in catalogs and pick up the phone when placing orders, Generations Y and Z primarily conduct their purchasing behavior online.
If the offer seems suitable, language barriers and physical distance hardly play a role anymore.
The trend is moving away from sales representatives, especially for products that require little explanation, towards platforms as sales intermediaries. Accordingly, the information phase – like the purchase – takes place online. Even if the customer journey primarily happens online, some platforms also offer (technical) customer support.
So it is not surprising that Amazon as a platform is firmly anchored in the minds of buyers not only in the B2C but also in the B2B area. In the United States, Amazon Business already has over one million customers in the dental industry. According to atlas dental, 34% of US doctors buy dental products through the platform. In Germany, Amazon has so far only been represented with a few products on the dental market. Two years ago, however, the dental supplies section did not exist yet on the German Amazon platform. So who knows how the e-commerce giant will position itself in the future.