How Do Consumers Decide to Take Omega-3s?

20 Aug 2013

Omega-3 supplements have continued to gain in popularity, and in most of the world, awareness that omega-3s are good for you is almost universal (see the figure on the left). Yet while consumers may be familiar with omega-3s, they do not necessarily understand why omega-3s are good for them, and they cannot say how much […]

How Do Consumers Decide to Take Omega-3s?

Omega-3 supplements have continued to gain in popularity, and in most of the world, awareness that omega-3s are good for you is almost universal (see the figure on the left).

Yet while consumers may be familiar with omega-3s, they do not necessarily understand why omega-3s are good for them, and they cannot say how much omega-3s they should be taking. Likewise, when you look at where various consumers go to get information on omega-3s, there are wide variations.

In all the countries GOED has surveyed, the doctor or pharmacist is the first or second source of health information. In Germany, for example, 47% of consumers look to a health practitioner for advice, while in the U.K. the number is 62%.

France tops the charts with almost 70% of consumers reporting that a doctor or pharmacist is their number one source of information.

The interesting comparison comes when you look at the second choice. In most countries, it’s friends and family. This holds true in France and the U.K., but in Germany, a higher percentage (28%) go to the Internet for health information, while 20% talk to friends and family. Even in the U.K., friends and family only edges out the Internet by a very slim margin (19% compared to 16%).

As a point of comparison, both the U.S. and China rank the Internet higher than friends and family, although in both countries, doctors and pharmacists still came in first.

When you look at the factors that actually influence a purchasing decision, not surprisingly, doctor recommendations continue to lead the way. In France, almost 75% say this is their main influencer when making a purchasing decision. Quality is the second highest factor at more than 65%.

In the U.K., similarly, doctors rank first, with 58% of consumers saying they are influenced by health practitioner advice, followed by quality at 54%.  Here, too, Germany is a bit different, with quality as an influencer having the higher percentage at 59%, followed by doctors at 51% and price a strong third with 42%. For comparison’s sake, in the U.S. and China, doctor recommendations were about even with quality as the primary influencer of purchase decisions.

Across all countries — Germany, France, U.K., U.S. and China — the lowest ranking factors were taste and sustainability concerns. The latter is interesting given all the talk in the media about sustainability and how much consumers are concerned about the issue.

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