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Second annual survey solidifies understanding of consumer segments
In March, Deloitte’s Center for Health Solutions (Washington DC) released its second annual survey of consumer trends in healthcare. The project, which is intended to build a longterm longitudinal study of the healthcare market, refined the analysis that the Center has performed on consumer segments, updates some predictable trends given the current economic environment: consumers are more cost-conscious, and, to some degree, are becoming savvier purchasers of health products and services.
Overall, Deloitte found numerous opportunities for the biopharma industry to interact directly with consumers—at least some of them. Based on wide-ranging survey questions, and a rigorous statistical analysis of the results, Deloitte found that consumers subdivide into six categories:
ranging from mostly disengaged (“Casual & Cautious”) to actively involved in healthcare decisions (“Sick & Savvy”). “There were 173 variables subjected to the multivariable linear-regression analysis, so we’re pretty confident that these segments are distinct and comprehensive,” says Paul Keckley, PhD, executive director of the Center. “The second year of this analysis shows some shifting in categories, ‘Shop & Save’ adding almost a percentage point, and ‘Out & About’ dropping by about the same amount, but the categories have basically held up year over year.”
In the survey, 4,001 American adults, aged 18 or older, were polled during October 2008. The results were weighted to ensure proportional representation of the entire country, based on US Census data, for age, gender, income, race/ethnicity and geography. Deloitte says that the survey margin of error is +/-1.6% at the .95 confidence level.
Some specific findings:
According to Keckley, there is an interesting cross-connection to be made between consumers that want “natural” health products and the low awareness of biopharmaceuticals; conceivably, if these two facts were linked together, consumers would have a higher degree of confidence in biopharm. Overall, interest in genetics-based therapeutics is high, but the degree of awareness of them is low.
“At numerous points, we can see that there is a greater degree of willingness for consumers to switch—medications, providers, and plans,” says Terry Hisey, Deloitte vice chairman and leader of its Life Sciences Practice. “This sets the stage for a sizable impact of such evolving factors as comparative effectiveness, formulary decisionmaking and health communication channels,” he says.