Self diagnostics: Brits are doin' it for themselves
Government health warnings, an overstretched NHS and rising obesity levels have seen the British nation take their health into their own hands. As a result, sales of self diagnostics* such as blood pressure, blood glucose and body fat measuring kits, have increased by almost 30% in the last 5 years alone, to reach £99 million this year, according to a new report by MINTEL**.
"As a nation we are constantly bombarded with health warnings and are becoming ever more aware of the growing obesity problem. This, combined with the fact that people are finding it increasingly difficult to get a doctor's appointment, means many are choosing to go it alone when it comes to their health," comments Alexandra Richmond, senior consumer analyst at MINTEL.
"A multimedia society means that people are better educated on health issues than ever before. The Internet has revolutionised the way in which people manage their health, enabling them to self-diagnose as well as monitor their own well-being," she adds.
Looking to the future, MINTEL predicts a staggering 60% increase in this market to 2012, with sales expected to reach £158 million, as growing awareness of health issues fuel sales of self diagnostics.
The pressure's on
The biggest increase in sales has been in products that monitor obesity-related conditions, such as blood pressure and blood glucose levels associated type II diabetes. This sector has bulged by 55% in the past five years to reach £34 million, which is indicative of the state of the nations' well-being and our health worries.
"As the obesity problem continues to grow the number of diabetics will also rise, resulting in increased sales of diabetes-related and self-diagnostic tests. This will generate growth in demand for blood glucose monitors as diabetics look to track their blood sugar levels so that they can effectively manage their condition," explains Alexandra.
Health conscious step up the pace
But it is not all doom and gloom. While we have a rising number of people who are overweight and suffering real health problems, there is also a growing number of fitness fanatics. These more health-conscious consumers are driving sales of physical performance monitors, such as pedometers, body fat and heartbeat monitors. Indeed, sales here have grown 48% over the last five years to £15 million this year.
"Brits are becoming more health-aware and this is significantly benefiting sales of self-diagnostics that monitor physical performance. As people take a heightened interest in their weight, health and fitness, physical performance monitors are increasingly popular and are growing in line with the consumer demand for accurate ways to gauge the success of diets and exercise," she adds
The remainder of the market is made up of thermometer sales (£6 million), pregnancy tests (£36 million), ovulation tests (£6 million) and others (£2.6 million) such as sexually transmitted infections(STI)testers.
"The incidence of STIs is on the rise and many young adults may be too embarrassed to go to a clinic to get checked out. These young adults present a key target for at-home STI testing kits as they start to take a more responsible attitude to their health" comments Alexandra.
* any product, device or test that is used by the consumer, without medical or professional assistance, to identify or monitor a specific condition.
Contact: Jenny Catlin or Amanda Lintott
+44 (0) 20 7600 5703