Consumer Preferences in Genetic Testing Insights
Updated on April 19, 2024
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Consumer Preferences in Genetic Testing Insights

Genetic testing is now more popular than ever. People want to know about their ancestry, health risks, and personal traits. As the market expands, understanding consumer preferences and decision-making factors becomes crucial for companies, healthcare providers, and policymakers alike.

This article examines consumer preferences in genetic testing. It discusses important trends, variations among different demographics, and changes in consumer attitudes over time.

Popular Genetic Tests and Demographic Variations

Most Popular Genetic Tests

Ancestry testing has emerged as the most sought-after type of genetic test among consumers.

  • According to the Health Information National Trend Survey (HINTS) 2020, among respondents who had any genetic test, an adjusted percentage of 51.4% had only ancestry testing
  • Genetic health-risk testing was the second most popular, with 9.7% of respondents having undergone this type of test exclusively
  • High-risk cancer testing was the third most common, with 10.2% of respondents having taken this test only
  • The survey also found that 24.2% of respondents had selected multiple genetic test types, indicating a growing interest in comprehensive genetic testing

Demographic Variations in Genetic Testing Preferences

Preferences for genetic testing vary significantly across age, gender, education, income, and racial or ethnic backgrounds.

  • Women are more likely to undergo genetic testing, particularly for conditions like breast cancer (BRCA1/2 testing)
  • Individuals with higher education and income levels are more likely to have undergone genetic testing, possibly due to better access to information and the ability to afford testing
  • Racial and ethnic minorities, including African Americans and Hispanics, have shown lower uptake rates for genetic testing, which could be attributed to factors such as lower awareness, access issues, and concerns about privacy and discrimination
  • Younger people may prefer genetic testing because they are more comfortable with technology and proactive about managing their health. On the other hand, older adults may prioritize tests that have immediate clinical benefits, but they might overestimate these benefits

Factors Influencing Consumer Decision-Making

Various factors influence consumer decision-making regarding genetic testing, including market trends, personal health awareness, privacy concerns, and the regulatory environment.

  • The rising prevalence of chronic and genetic diseases and the availability of personalized medicines are key drivers of market growth
  • The ease and convenience associated with self-testing kits are boosting consumer participation in self-testing
  • Marketing activities by online websites have played a significant role in spreading awareness and developing the market
  • Consumers consider factors such as convenience and types of information provided before purchasing genetic testing services
  • Concerns about privacy and the potential risks and limitations of testing may influence consumer decision-making

Evolution of Consumer Preferences Over Time

Consumer preferences in genetic testing have evolved significantly since the completion of the Human Genome Project in 2003.

YearMarket ValueNotable Events
2010$10 millionEarly stage of DTC genetic testing market
2017$600 million23andMe claims over 2 million consumers
201926 million consumers (projected)Significant growth in DTC genetic testing
2025$2.5 billion (projected)Estimated global market value
  • Initially, the focus of DTC genetic testing was largely on ancestry and trait information. However, as technology advanced and regulatory landscapes adapted, health-related genetic testing gained prominence.
  • The FDA’s approval of 23andMe’s risk test for ten diseases in 2017 and its subsequent authorization for BRCA tests in 2018 marked significant milestones in expanding the scope of DTC genetic testing to include health risk assessments.
  • A survey revealed that most respondents had heard of ancestry testing (87%) and genetic health risk testing (69%), indicating a high level of awareness. However, there were gaps in knowledge regarding the role of inherited genes in conditions like obesity (36%) and mental health (33%).
  • When it came to preferences for pharmacogenetic testing, a majority (74%) of respondents preferred pre-emptive testing over reactive testing, indicating a shift towards a more proactive approach to health management through genetic insights.
Updated on April 19, 2024

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5 sources cited
Updated on April 19, 2024
  1. Attitudes towards and sociodemographic determinants of genetic test usage in the USA; data from the Health Information National Trend Survey, 2020.” National Center for Biotechnology Information, 2023.
  2. Genetic Testing Market Size, Share, Growth, Trends, Forecast 2023-2032.” Precedence Research, 2023. 
  3. Direct-To-Consumer (DTC) Genetic Testing Market Size By Test Type, By Technology, By Distribution Channel.” GM Insights, 2023. 
  4. Bloss, Cinnamon.  “The History & Future of Consumer Genomics Utilization.” Roundtable on Genomics and Precision Health, Board on Health Sciences Policy The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering & Medicine, 2019.
  5. Fahim, Shahariar, et al. “A survey on awareness, knowledge and preferences toward genetic testing among the United States general public.” Future Medicine, 2024.
Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad
Content Contributor
Angela is a full-time digital content manager and editor for Know Your DNA. She also contributes freelance articles to several local and international websites when she has the time. She's always been a voracious believer in finding the truth and ensuring the science is sound.