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Generations key factor in OTC buying behaviors


Earlier this year, WebMD surveyed 30,000 WebMD users to ascertain the OTC buying behaviors and preferences of three critical consumer segments — seniors, today’s moms (Gen X) and millennials.

(To read the entire WebMD Special Report, click here.)

Today, there are two primary ways in which all consumers seek answers to their questions on health: they either conduct a Google search or they consult their healthcare professionals.

“[There is] a sizeable difference between how millennials are using technology to inform that purchase and how the baby boomers are doing it,” Jennifer Willey, VP consumer strategy and partnerships at WebMD, told Drug Store News. “Baby boomers are significantly more likely to have a discussion with a pharmacist prior to a purchase, whereas millennials are far less likely.”

While 3-of-every-4 consumers use a web search engine to look for relevant health terms, only 2-of-every-3 baby boomers consult their health professionals. And that number drops in direct correspondence to age — the younger a consumer is, the less likely he or she is consulting a health professional with their questions.

That’s not to say there will be a decline in recommendation requests from health professionals moving forward — after all, younger consumers don’t typically have nearly as many chronic health conditions to research in the first place. But more and more, the first point of influence for an OTC marketer will be during that initial online search.

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