The Covid-19 pandemic had a very big impact on the Japanese economy. The number of patient visits to clinics and hospitals decreased sharply and fell to approximately 50% in July 2020 compared to the previous year.
The decline in visits to dental clinics, which are an important sales channel for BioGaia Japan, was even greater – falling in some months to 40% below the levels in corresponding periods of 2019. Conducting operations under such conditions was extremely difficult. These circumstances naturally also had an effect on our major customers since their businesses declined significantly.
By the end of the year, however, we had managed to turn sales around to levels comparable to the year before and BioGaia Japan posted a profit in 2020. This was made possible due to significant contributions from our sales network who work directly with dental clinics. In the past five years we have marketed our products under the BioGaia brand directly to dental clinics. Thanks to the products’ excellent clinical results, we have succeeded in building a strong brand in the Japanese market and this has greatly contributed to growth in this sales channel.
Starting in 2021 we will focus on further strengthening our direct sales network since this is more resistant against recessions and other difficult situations. We will also make even more efforts to be a model for sustainable growth and a profit-driven structure within the BioGaia Group.