Health and Pharma: A roundup of global trends and insights for 2023 – Part 2
December 18th, 2023, Bhavika Bansal

Health and Pharma: A roundup of global trends and insights for 2023 – 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.

Growing demand for wellness tourism

The tumultuous events of the past few years have altered the priorities of consumers worldwide. Representing a unique convergence of self-care and experiential travel, 2023 saw a move among travelers towards meaningful holiday experiences that cater to their physical, mental and emotional needs, grow by almost 50%, especially among affluent travelers.

Consumers remain unsatisfied with digital healthcare 

From appointment booking systems to doctor consultation and reporting platforms, the past few years have witnessed the creation of a robust online healthcare and health services infrastructure. But there is still much left to be desired: just a fifth of our internationally polled consumers (20%) register their satisfaction with the digital experience provided by health services in 2023, compared to 23% who said the same in 2022.

Hearing the siren call of greater cost savings and increased efficiency of automating operations, 2023 was also the year brands across sectors started to make the move from human interaction to customer service chatbots. However, consumers globally remain unconvinced, with just 11% who believe in the usefulness of such chatbots when it comes to buying healthcare products. On the other hand, a substantially larger share of consumers appears to have embraced virtual doctor consultations after having to adapt to them during the pandemic.

Concerns about gene editing and AI in healthcare

In recent years, an unprecedented surge in the development of artificial intelligence (AI), machine learning (ML), and other health-tech and their potential downsides have been at the centre of public conversation. As per a YouGov poll of more than 19,000 consumers across 18 key international markets, nearly half of global adults are worried about the impact of gene editing – while 19% are ‘very worried’ and 27% are ‘somewhat worried’.

These concerns, however, do not seem to transfer to the application of AI in healthcare services. More than two out five internationally polled consumers believe AI will make the experience of diagnosing medical conditions better in the next five years. Notably, this application of AI tops the list among all the explored options such as online shopping, booking air travel, driving and maintaining personal finances among others.

Healthcare workers’ feelings and attitudes 

Insight into the global health and pharma industry would be incomplete without taking a look at healthcare workers. A survey of adults who work in the medical and health services industry further revealed that largescale application of AI software in healthcare still has a long way to go. And even in cases where deployment of such software is planned now, or in the future, more than a quarter of healthcare workers are confident that AI won´t be able to perform their tasks with the required characteristics.

Consumers choose to prioritize price over sustainability

Though consumers across the world strive to make conscious choices that minimise their impact on the planet, an ongoing debate lingers: do eco-products generally come with higher price tags? And 69% of consumers across 18 international markets agree. When probed further, consumers who agree that green products are more expensive are far more likely to prioritize price over sustainability than the global average (60% vs. 50%).

It is perhaps unsurprising then, that at least 40% of internationally polled consumers would drop eco-friendly beauty and healthcare items amid the added pressure of inflation and tight household budgets.

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

Brands across sectors continue to place 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. While the proportion of consumers who believe hospitals and healthcare services are not doing enough to be sustainable increased from 22% in 2021 to 25% in 2022, two-fifths of our internationally surveyed adults said the same in a YouGov poll in 2023.

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

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