Mary Rose Walker
Step into the future of healthcare as we delve into the dynamic world of consumer macro trends. From the ever-expanding convenience culture to the transformative power of AI, MDRG unravels the profound shifts shaping the healthcare landscape over the next several decades. Read on to discover how consumer trends such as personalized wellness, digital lifestyles, and the imperative to address racial health disparities are redefining industry strategies and paving the way for a new era of accessible and responsive healthcare.
Consumer Macro Trends:
A consumer macro trend refers to a significant and lasting shift in the way people think, feel, and act as consumers within a society. These trends are driven by various factors such as technological advancements, cultural shifts, economic changes, and evolving social norms. Macro trends impact the preferences, purchasing habits, and lifestyle choices of a large segment of the population, often influencing industries, markets, and business strategies. Identifying and understanding macro trends is crucial for businesses and marketers to adapt their products, services, and messaging to meet the evolving demands and expectations of consumers.
The healthcare industry is not immune to these trends. MDRG explored how the major guiding forces will manifest in healthcare1.
- Convenience Culture
By 2040, automation will be imbued in many aspects of our lives. Patients will seek easier and more accessible solutions for common problems.
Wearable health tech, smart kitchen appliances, and integrated apps will be able to collect data and turn it into suggestions that trigger beneficial behaviors and personalized health solutions.
- Wraparound Wellness
Wellness is shifting to an everyday consumer mindset that affects all industries and making health at the forefront of consumer decisions, as well as spurring businesses that meet health-specific needs—especially mental health.
- Digital Lifestyles
As remote work and digital lifestyles increase, so does the need for access to healthcare from anywhere at any time. Health systems need accessible digital platforms to maintain their customer base.
Evolution of the Health Space
Consumers are seeking health solutions2 in physical and digital locations outside of their primary care provider’s office, opening the door for healthcare offerings in nontraditional settings.
- “Biohack labs” are gaining popularity as add-ons to gyms or wellness centers. These businesses provide personalized care based on metrics such as body composition, metabolic rate, etc.
- Adjacent businesses that excel in retail or wellness are moving into healthcare. Market research indicates retail clinics are poised for significant growth3, with the U.S. retail clinics market projected to reach $4.22 billion by 2029, reflecting a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.8% from 2022.
- Walmart, Amazon Health, Walgreens, CVS, Best Buy, and Dollar General are the major players driving this disruption. They employ different strategies, from providing nearly instant access to prescriptions to leveraging technology for chronic disease management, ultimately offering transparency, convenience, and access to consumers.
- Telehealth and virtual care are tackling healthcare areas that have gaps in traditional medicine: LGBTQ+ specific services, mental health, and sexual wellness.
Racial Health Disparity
The COVID-19 pandemic shone a light on racial disparities in the healthcare system, prompting many businesses to prioritize culturally competent care and create campaigns to address the issues both internally and externally4.
- 56% of Black Americans have experienced at least one race-related negative experience when accessing medical services, 40% have had to speak up to get proper care, and 35% felt health providers did not take their pain seriously.
- Black entrepreneurs in the US are creating solutions to improve medical outcomes, mostly in the digital space, in a movement known as “techquity.”
AI Augmentation in Healthcare
AI adds value, insight, and automation to internal processes so that physicians can spend more time with patients. These tools can be used to triage and assess health problems in a way that can eliminate bias while ensuring a thorough history is collected, including a full family history and social determinants of health.
AI tools can analyze patient data, including genetic info, medical history, and lifestyle factors to develop effective and personalized treatment plans and identify ways to reduce the risk of side effects.
These tools can also be applied to the patient experience – appointment time reminders, carrying out a portion of appointments at home to shorten wait times and free up physician availability5.
How Should You Change Your Business Strategy
These trends predict where markets are headed- but consumers will forge the way.
Where will your market go? How can your healthcare business be there to meet them?
The best way to find out is to ask your customers! Contact us to help you better understand the people you serve now and prepare to meet their needs in the future.
1 Stylus, The Consumer of 2040
2 Stylus, The Consumer of 2040: Wellness
4 Source: Stylus, The Black Health Imperative