Consumers in Europe are renowned for being extremely technologically advanced in terms of online activities and technology and device ownership. But due to the lack of direct-to-consumer advertising for pharmaceuticals, many pharmaceutical companies have assumed that consumers were somewhat passive participants in the patientphysician relationship. However, according to a recent study by Manhattan Research, European consumers are more likely to have researched health information online than they are to have participated in online dating, online gaming or even online bill pay.
Given the propensity of European consumers to use the Internet for health and pharmaceutical information, Manhattan Research has outlined three key trends in the market that every health and pharmaceutical market must be aware of and plan for today.
European Consumers Are Researching Health and Pharmaceutical Information to Make Decisions
Although consumers in Europe are less likely than consumers in the United States to research pharmaceutical information online, in part due to the lack of pharmaceutical advertising in Europe, fully one-third of online consumers in Europe research pharmaceuticals online today. Such information is clearly having an impact; nearly 80% of these consumers go on to take some sort of action as a result of their information searches - more on that in trend number three. The numbers illustrate a market that has embraced the Internet as not only a source of content and entertainment, but as a robust resource to evaluate health and wellness, symptoms, treatment options, and specifically what pharmaceuticals may or may not be available in the market today. The market has spoken and is saying loudly and clearly that the Internet now rivals "traditional" mass media as a health information resource.
Furthermore, in the absence of direct-to-consumer advertising, or local product.com destinations for European consumers, consumers are actually going to the corporate sites of pharmaceutical companies for health and pharmaceutical information. In fact, an estimated 21 million consumers report visiting corporate sites in the past 12 months across the 10 countries surveyed in the research. Pfizer, Bayer and GSK are the top three corporate sites visited by consumers for information, with such visitors reporting to access these sites for health and treatment information specifically. Companies would be wise to heed this trend, and provide patient-friendly disease education content in the local language on the local portal for the company - a feature that would be a benefit to patients and physicians alike. Perhaps of no surprise is that there is also a segment of consumers in Europe that have taken the initiative to "cross the pond" to the United Status content sites for pharmaceutical information - where branded websites provide detailed information about branded products. Of course, the only catch is that these are typically only available in English - suitable for the UK resident but a challenge for other markets.
Plus it is not just pharmaceutical information European consumers are after today. Consumers are also researching a wide range of diseases online. As evidenced by the chart below, in addition to conditions with high incidence rates (such as allergies), consumers are actively seeking information about depression and targeted topics such as cancer, which has a relatively low population of patients compared to the population seeking information online - speaking to the power of those beyond the patient to access information.
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About Manhattan Research
In addition to Cybercitizen® Health Europe, Manhattan Research conducts five annual research studies among consumers and physicians in the United States and in Europe. These studies include Cybercitizen® Health US, Taking the Pulse® Europe, Taking the Pulse® US, ePharma Physician®, and ePharma Consumer®. Each study serves a unique purpose and focuses on specific aspects of information technology adoption. Broad consumer and physician research is complemented by targeted analysis among more than 50 consumer therapeutic segments and 25 physician specialist segments. For further information, please visit www.manhattanresearch.com