CivicScience | Black, Hispanic Americans Show Strong Interest in DNA Health Testing Kits

General, Healthcare

Black, Hispanic Americans Show Strong Interest in DNA Health Testing Kits

Image Credit: Burst

At-home DNA tests to reveal one’s genetic background have become commonplace at this point, with 17% of U.S. adults having already used them and another 13% in the market as of Q3 2019. 

Less common — but still prevalent — are DNA testing kits that also try to give users a sense of what health conditions they may be genetically predisposed to. The biggest players are AncestryHealth, 23andMe Health+Ancestry, and Orig3n. 

In a CivicScience survey of more than 1,800 U.S. adults in September, 11% of respondents said they’d used an at-home DNA kit for health screening purposes. Another 13% say they plan to do so.

According to CivicScience data, about 55% of those who have used a DNA ancestry kit also opted for the health analysis. Another 10% of DNA test users are interested in the idea.

Gen Z is Very Interested — But Also Less Likely to be Happy with the Test Results

While Millennials make up the biggest portion of those who have used DNA health tests, interest and usage are spread fairly evenly across other generations.

One notable finding as concerns age: Gen Z was second only to Millennials in terms of usage, but they were by far the generation least happy with their test results. In fact, unhappy Gen Z respondents outnumbered happy ones by nearly 2-to-1. Maybe it’s harder to hear about scary genetic predispositions when you’re feeling relatively young and healthy. Nonetheless, Gen Z expressed the highest level of interest in the tests at 16%.

Another interesting finding in the study? Although black and Hispanic respondents were slightly less likely than white respondents to have tried DNA health tests to this point, both of those populations were much more likely than white respondents to say they intend to use the tests in the future. 

While the jury’s still out about the specific impact of race in certain genetic predispositions, it’s possible that this notion comes into play among minority consumers looking into these tests.

Men and women were almost evenly split in their adoption rates thus far, but women were 50% more likely to be interested than men. 

Adoption rates also increased steadily alongside income.

Liberals were about twice as likely as conservatives to have already tried DNA health tests, but only slightly more likely to be interested in taking them in the future.

They’re Popular Among the Health-Conscious — But Not Necessarily the Exercise-Crazed

It stands to reason that someone who’s concerned about genetic predispositions to health problems would also be interested in keeping track of their health in other ways. That idea definitely holds water when it comes to Fitbit ownership. In fact, Fitbit owners are 164% more likely than non-owners to have used a DNA health test, and they’re 78% more likely to be interested as well. 

In the same vein, those who’ve used DNA health tests were the group most likely to have seen a doctor / health professional at least once over the past year. 

Interestingly, though, a person’s exercise frequency was not an indicator of how likely they would be to use a DNA health test.

Marketers for DNA health tests would be wise to target those who often use their smartphones for shopping. Intent to use clocks in at a whopping 25% among frequent smartphone shoppers. 

Finally, DNA health testing companies may also want to play up the fact that many of the kits are available on Amazon. Amazon Prime members (and, to a lesser extent, non-Prime Amazon customers) over-index as being interested in purchasing these kits. 

DNA health tests seem to inspire interest across generations and genders, with particular interest among black and Hispanic respondents. The market for these products is health-conscious — though not necessarily exercise-focused — and savvy about using their smartphones to shop online. 

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