Health and Pharma: A roundup of global trends and insights for 2022 – Part 2
February 1st, 2023, Bhavika Bansal

Health and Pharma: A roundup of global trends and insights for 2022 – Part 2

Continuing from our year in review for health and pharma research, here are some more key trends and insights driving consumer sentiment and brand affinity.

Read the first part of YouGov's health roundup series here.

Cost-of-living cutbacks

An unexpectedly sharp economic slowdown coupled with accelerating global inflation set the stage for an on-going cost-of-living crisis in 2022. Amidst tightening financial conditions, we asked consumers across 17 international markets, where they were likely to first make cutbacks to their household spending. With a little more than a tenth of consumers across all markets (13%) saying they would cut back on insurance and even fewer saying they would curb their healthcare spending, this remains one of the area's most resistant to cost-cutting in the face of inflation.

Perceptions of quality are still sustaining the market for branded drugs in many countries

One of the major factors driving demand for the less expensive versions of medications is the stark price disparity between branded and generic drugs. But despite their higher prices, many consumers still prefer branded drugs - barring a few notable exceptions including consumers in Japan (17%) and GB (20%) - as they are considered to be of higher quality.

Trends in shopping for medicines and healthcare products

While the price benefits and other conveniences of online shopping are many, the benefits of in-store shopping - immediacy and the ability to browse and compare products side-by-side - are undeniable too. This is perhaps why global consumers seem divided on whether they prefer to shop for over-the-counter medicines and health and beauty products in-person or online.

Consumer-generated reviews and endorsements by social media influencers are ubiquitous online. However, while more than four out of ten consumers globally (41%) are likely to notice influencer endorsements of healthcare products and food supplements to some extent, they are much less likely to rely on consumer reviews when choosing healthcare services.

Not just weight loss, consumers are also consciously taking note of what they’re eating

The pandemic highlighted the need for healthy living for many people. A survey of consumers in 43 markets within YouGov Global Profiles reveals that 52% of global consumers are “usually trying to lose weight”. But does this need for healthy living and losing weight translate into consciously taking notice of what they’re eating? According to data from a survey of 17 international markets, at least two in five consumers from each market say they are likely to check the nutrient contents while shopping. In a similar study of consumers in the US and UK, data reveals that more than a quarter (27%) of both US and UK consumers are thinking about sugar content in the grocery items they buy.

You can also read the full YouGov Profile Peek on weight loss here.

Surprisingly, however, more than two-fifths of global consumers (42%) disagree with the tendency to count the calories of what they’re consuming.

The growing awareness of vegetarianism and veganism across the globe coupled with changes in dietary habits spurred on by the pandemic shined a spotlight on meatless diets. Overall, nearly four in ten global consumers (39%) say that a meatless diet is healthier. It is important to note, however, that with meat being an important part of consumers’ diets in many countries, the jury on meatless diets being a healthier option is still out.

Consumers don't think hospitals/health services are making significant efforts to be sustainable

Brands across sectors are placing strong emphasis on being perceived as green and sustainable by consumers. When it comes to hospitals and health services, however, there isn't much good news. Not only is there a drop in the proportion of consumers who think hospitals and health services are doing 'enough' or 'a fair amount', there is also an increase in the proportion of consumers who believe healthcare services are not doing enough (22% in 2021 vs. 25% in 2022).

Discover even more about the health and pharma industry in part 1 of YouGov's health roundup 2022.

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