Genetics Test Users Demographics and Psychographics

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Genetics Test Users Demographics

The demographic profile of at-home genetic test users in the United States shows that the majority of consumers are white, live in cities, are over the age of 55, and are female.

Demographics of Home Genetic Testing Users

  • According to a 2017 research paper based on a study of 1,648 users of 23andMe and Pathway Genomics, the majority of participants were middle-aged with an average age of 47.8 years.
  • 30% of at-home genetic testing users were between the ages of 18 and 34, 34.7% were between the ages of 35 and 47, and 35.5% were of age 55 and over.
  • When it comes to gender, 51.4% were female.
  • The majority of survey participants were white (74.7%), 7.6% were Hispanic, 7.6% were Black, and 10.1% were of other origin (including Asian).
  • 73.4% of the survey participants had at least a college degree, while 24.2% had educational qualifications that were lower than a college degree.
  • According to a 2018 study that looked specifically into the location of at-home genetic testing users, 16.7% resided in rural areas, while the rest (83.3%) resided in cities.

Research methodology

After a thorough research of commercial sources, which mainly compromised on looking up studies published by leading at-home genetic test companies in the US, including 23andMe, Microbiome, Illumina, Family Tree DNA, DNA Tribes, and PGP, we were unable to find any studies published by those companies in the last 24 months that examined demographics of their at-home genetic test consumers. While some companies, such as 23andMe, published different research on the subject, the last available research done on a commercial scale was in 2011. Additionally, we looked into industry sources such as the U.S. Food & Drug Administration (FDA) and market reports. As our third research strategy, we examined scholarly articles. However, the academia has been focused on either the motivations behind consumers choosing to do at-home genetic testing or the data privacy aspect of genetic testing. The only study in the last 24 months that was conducted regarding demographics in the academic area was based in Korea. Therefore, we used a study based in the U.S. from July 2017, which is slightly out of scope when it comes to the standard Wonder frame of reference that dictates sources in the last 24 months can be used. Due to the slow process of publishing academic studies and articles, we deemed this study to be able to provide the relevant data for this research.

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Genetics Test Users Psychographics

Consumers of at-home genetic tests are likely to be members of Generation X; their self-reliance and distrust of authorities may be driving forces for the consumption of at-home tests, and there are many aspects where their views correlate to the motivation of the consumers. The following information outlines the findings about at-home genetic test users and Generation X.

At-Home Genetic Test Consumer

  • A study discovered that users of at-home genetic tests are likely to live a healthier lifestyle than the general population, exemplified by the lower rates of obesity (24.9% vs 27.6%) and smokers (8.6% vs 19.6%).
  • Many consumers take these tests to compare DNA with one another, while others do it for the entertainment value, clues to ancestry, and a chance of discovering family secrets.
  • For others, genetic tests represent a chance to be in charge of their health in the hope of getting clear information about their future risks and health.
  • A study surveyed over 1,600 consumers of at-home genetic tests to discover their level of interest across different types of personal genetic information; out of the five choices presented by the researchers, ancestry (73.7%) was the information people were most interested in, closely followed by traits (72.2%), disease risk (71.9%), drug response (52.1%) and carrier status (30.9%).
  • A sense of empowerment is one of the key drivers of DTC-GT uptake, in fact, 80% of the early adopters of the service reported a sense of empowerment from their results and claimed curiosity as a primary motivation. Customers want customized products and experiences and are prepared to pay to have their unique needs identified and addressed.
  • Sixty-five percent of prospects of DTC-GT services are mainly concerned with privacy, specifically, the possibility that their data will be shared with third-parties such as consumer health, pharmaceutical, and insurance companies. Almost all the individuals surveyed who are willing to use the service were worried about the fact that their DNA profile would be owned by a company.
  • Consumers also fear the results. Thirty-four percent of those surveyed who were willing to make use of the services were worried that they might learn something they would rather not know about their genetic profile.


  • Gen X believes advertisements aimed at them do not truly reflect their experience, and as a result, they feel disconnected from brands and products. This technologically-savvy group still responds to traditional marketing methods and are also likely to react to social media advertising, especially Facebook, given they make up the highest concentration of users, around 45 million.
  • They are prepared to search the internet for cost savings from coupon codes offered online or digital coupons and are fans of loyalty programs. According to a recent study about loyalty, over 88% of Gen Xers join loyalty programs mainly to save money closely followed by the rewards they receive (71%).
  • Gen Xers are conservative shoppers, compared to other generations, and are more distrustful of advertisements. This generation researches a product thoroughly before purchasing it to avoid regretting their expenditures. This is why they extensively use search engines, online reviews, and social media networks before purchasing an item.
  • Generation Xers regularly check their emails and "are more likely to respond well to personalized offers based on their previous purchases." Both baby boomers and Generation X also depend on quality customer service for brand loyalty because they regard store associates as individuals who can relate to them as consumers and advise them on the best options to purchase without an upsell.
  • Email remains a powerful channel with this cohort because they check their emails regularly and "are more likely to respond well to personalized offers based on their previous purchase."


  • Generation X grew up in transitional times with working mothers and rising divorce rates and are known as "latchkey kids". Much like the previously mentioned consumers who are looking for empowerment and being in charge of their futures, Generation X values freedom and independence and is a resourceful and self-sufficient generation.
  • This generation is pessimistic about the future, skeptical, and pragmatic. They value balance, fun and are prone to think globally. They are self-starters, are unimpressed by authority, and have a results-driven mentality.
  • This pessimistic streak could be one of the main reasons why the generation purchases DTC-GT. According to the Pew Research Center, they are more skeptical about having enough money for retirement than other generations (44%). Another reason to worry about their health is their role as caregivers for both their parents and children.
  • When Nielsen asked members of Gen X what they aspire for the future, staying fit and healthy was the top priority, followed by spending time with family, making money, and fulfilling career goals.
  • They are a discerning, well-educated generation that values quality and respect for their knowledge. "They are more on par with technology adoption and use with millennials, and are more likely to be politically loyal throughout their lives than either of the other generations."


  • As almost three-quarters of Gen Xers see themselves as the chief health decision-maker in the family, they search for information from diverse sources such as family members, coworkers, doctors, medical journals, television programs, news websites, and books. They also believe they are "extremely or very knowledgeable at keeping themselves and their loved ones healthy, more than any other generation."
  • As reported by Deloitte, Gen X's consumption of TV content on their smartphones is rapidly growing. The digitally-savvy behavior of Gen Xers is evident in other entertainment segments such as streaming and gaming, with 60% streaming movies and 50% reporting playing video games at least once a week.
  • According to a study conducted in 2017 by Nielsen, Generation X spend approximately seven hours a week on social media, while millennials spend just over six hours per week on social media.
  • They spend more than other generations in the areas of housing, clothing, eating out, and entertainment. "This generation is less prone to moving in the waves of trends and is more likely to buy a service or product that somehow benefits society or the environment."


  • Their overall distrust of authorities tends to extend to big pharmaceutical companies, large hospital chains, and health systems. They assume that insurance companies are uninterested in their desire for healthy living, wellness, and alternative medical services, which again could be one of the drivers for DTC-GT testing.
  • Forty-four percent of them eat out at least once a week, while 75% are willing to pay more for food with benefits. As for their spare time, watching something (38%), connecting with friends and family (30%), reading (24%), travel (22%) and listening to music (22%) are their favorite activities.
  • As for favorite brands, Google takes the number one spot, followed by Amazon, Netflix, UPS, Home Depot, Hershey, Cheerios, USPS, Android, and FedEx.
  • Currently, 33% of health club members are Generation Xers. They mostly attracted to equipment- and family-oriented activities that cost less time to do.

Research Strategy

To draw a complete psychographic profile of at-home genetic test users, we had to resort to a proxy strategy to find information that was not publicly available. We provided the details obtainable about the consumers and complemented the profile with information about Gen X, as it fits the demographic group for this product. In our research, we discovered many correlations between the Gen X way of thinking and the reported motivations of consumers of genetic tests. The strategies and methodology employed are explained below.

We commenced the research looking for surveys and studies about the proposed group, as the information required usually comes from these sources. We checked numerous sources, such as Scholar, Nielsen, white papers, and key players’ websites, but the information available was only related to their opinion about the tests, and even then there weren’t enough insights to complete the profile.

Next, we looked for qualitative data, instead of quantitative, hoping we could track enough statements, profiles, reviews, and other tools to determine who these consumers are, what they like, their values and attitudes, apart from taking the test. We scoured through several articles, customer reviews, and testimonials, but we still faced the same problem, the information was only related to the tests and results or were too superficial.

As a last resource, we used the previously informed demographic profile to estimate a proxy for the group. 90% are white, they usually have an average age of 47.8 years and have at least a college degree, this information matches the upper-class Gen X cohort or the Gen X professional profile. Since psychographic profiles are usually used to identify ways to reach a consumer and trends, we believe that the information from this group could be used to estimate what would appeal to consumers of at-home genetic tests, especially since they are becoming more popular and accessible, and, therefore, are moving away from niche consumers.