Medical students in the UK are an increasingly influential audience. Currently, around 400,000 medical students study in the country, and the future of medicine in the UK looks extremely promising. According to the last publicly available HSC (Higher School Certificate) registration data, 66% of medical students in the UK are now female, and this is likely to continue as the graduation rate from university is increasing.
The Impact of Social Media
The availability of information online has undoubtedly had an impact on how we engage with consumers. Previously, most market research was carried out through face-to-face conversations and experiments which could only be performed on a small scale. But with the development of big data, the potential to learn more about a particular audience and their preferences has never been greater.
The rise of social media has had a huge impact on how medical students in the UK interact with brands. With over 144 million monthly active users as at March 2019, Facebook is the most popular social media platform in the UK. The most followed medical student account on Twitter has over 60.7 thousand followers, and the most popular Instagrammed medical student account has over 47.8 thousand followers. Students are utilizing these platforms to connect with, and engage with, their audience – providing valuable insights into how best to reach this audience.
Why Are Medical Students in the UK Looking for New Brands?
The UK is a nation of shopaholics, and over the past year we have witnessed many familiar brands expanding into the healthcare space. Whether it’s skincare, beauty or nutrition products, most major UK cities have at least one store devoted to selling health supplements and alternative medicines. But despite the existence of these stores, one brand stands out above all others – and it’s not a household name. This article examines the growing trend of people looking to alternative medicines and supplements for better health outcomes, and how marketers can respond to this demand by learning more about the UK medical student audience.
The Growing Trend of Medical Students in the UK Seeking Better Health Outcomes
The generation of internet-using millennials now in charge of healthcare purchasing decisions is more digitally savvy and tech-savvy than any other before them. They are comfortable with using online research to inform their choices, and are open to new treatments and approaches which they could find online. Even before the pandemic, young people were less likely to visit their GP for routine health checks, preferring to seek medical advice and treatment online. This is likely to continue during the pandemic as health checks have now been postponed to a later date – and many young people are likely to continue avoiding their GPs until they need to.
But while the prevalence of internet searching for health-related information is common to all age groups, the most frequent online searchers between the ages of 25 and 34 are now looking for ways to improve their health. Since the start of this year, searches for ‘health supplements’ are up by 20% and ‘detox teas’ are up by 12%, and searches for ‘fast natural weight loss’ are up by 25%. This is likely to be due to the fact that the older generation are now in full-time retirement, and the younger generation are saddled with student debt. Additionally, those in the middle-income group are also feeling increasingly anxious about their finances as rates of inflation and rising costs of living bite hard – especially given the upcoming deadline of the UK’s 2022 National Health Service (NHS) Health Check. This is the government-mandated physical health check that all British adults must take part in – with many campaigners advocating for it to be a routine part of public life, along the lines of the UK’s national insurance card. But for now, the medical students using this platform are looking for the quick and easy solutions that a health supplement can offer, rather than seeking help from their GP.
The desire to maintain a healthy weight is common among all age groups. But young people are now being encouraged to adopt healthy lifestyles in a world of excess. The UK government has launched a ‘Healthy Lives, Healthy Future’ campaign to raise awareness about the relationship between diet, activity, and health. Currently, only 30% of adults between the ages of 18 and 24 meet the government’s recommended activity levels, compared to 55% of adults aged 25-34 and 61% of adults aged 35+. The government aims to increase levels of activity among the younger generation, as well as raise awareness about the health issues faced by those who are less active. This campaign is also placing a greater emphasis on mental health, with over a third of young people in the UK reporting that they’ve suffered from symptoms of depression. This is why many are turning to natural remedies and wellness activities which they believe could help them to reduce their lows. But if you’re looking to target medical students with your next marketing campaign, this should be top of your list – especially as many are now at risk of lacking important nutrients due to the pandemic.
The UK is a nation of shopaholics, and most major cities have at least one store devoted to selling health supplements and alternative medicines. While these stores provide valuable information about the consumer habits of UK buyers, marketers should not underestimate the importance of researching the digital audiences of these consumers.
In 2022, 66% of UK medical students are expected to be female. This is largely due to the fact that more and more students are seeing a role in healthcare for women, while also encouraging others to go into science and technology-related careers. This generation are now in charge of purchasing decisions, and marketers should learn more about the digital habits of UK medical students.