The world around us is constantly evolving, which means consumer expectations are too. As we close out the year, we wouldn’t do it justice without acknowledging the disruption COVID-19 has brought upon millions of lives all around the globe. As people adopted new ways of working and living and brands accelerated digital transformation, the behavior of consumers changed in ways few of us could have expected.
As a result, there’s a new bar when it comes to connecting with your stakeholders and target audiences. To stay ahead of what’s to come in the next year, we examined several trends reports to curate a selection of the consumer trends that will be most impactful to healthcare brands:
A BIG CHANGE IN BRAND LOYALTY
Everybody has a favorite brand. It’s the one you turn to regardless of what other options are out there. But what nobody expected during the pandemic was continued supply chain issues which meant limited access to their go-to products. So, what did consumers do? They turned to other brands that offered something of similar value and convenience. And in most cases, trying something new meant ditching the loyalty they once had for their top pick. A recent report actually noted that 62% of those consumers are likely to make their switch to a new brand permanent.
While existing patients may not always be able to easily change their medication, those that can most likely will if there’s an alternative out there. But for those recently diagnosed, the availability and convenience of accessing a particular medication will play a large role in their decision-making process. Adding in supplemental services like an add-on nurse or coaching support program, creating a delivery dashboard that makes it clear and easy to track the shipment of medication and ensuring top-notch, 24/7 customer service are some of the ways healthcare brands will be able to bring in a new group of consumers and retain the business of the ones they still have.
MAKING THE SHIFT FROM REACTIVE TO PROACTIVE
Nobody likes finding out that they have a health issue, or even the potential for one. Yet, most of us tend to not take the preventative measures needed to protect ourselves. At least that was the case prior to the pandemic. Rather than being reactive to health concerns, COVID-19 has caused many consumers to want to take a more proactive approach to managing their health. One study found that nearly two thirds of people say that they’re now more health conscious about looking after their physical and mental health than they were before the pandemic.
Given the greater focus on trying to stay healthy and prevent the chance of a serious illness, patients are likely to be far more involved in efforts for protecting their wellbeing than ever before. Brands can get involved by giving them the tools they need to take charge of their health. Incorporating wearables that provide real-time access to certain health metrics and care teams or allowing for at-home services that don’t require a trip to the doctor’s office can make for a great start to giving patients more control.
TAKING CARE OF THE BODY AND MIND
People have always placed great importance on the need to care for our bodies. The rise of DIY fitness apps and programs made that clear over recent years. But as many of us retreated into isolation during the pandemic, the need to protect our emotional wellbeing became just as important – if not more important in some cases. With an uptick in stress and mental health challenges, healthcare providers and patients turned to a variety of different support solutions for help. This gave rise to certain mindfulness exercises like meditation.
And if there’s one thing that’s now clear, it’s just how much people are ready to remove the stigma around seeking help for mental health care and include certain solutions into their daily routines. For healthcare brands, especially those involved in chronic conditions, patients will be on the lookout for those that are willing to help them take care of both their mind and body, creating a new standard of care. Partnering with popular apps like Happify or Headspace and sharing data or patient testimonials around the emotional side of the treatment journey will be key in making the right connection with consumers.