The most prominent category in this chart is health consumers’ increasingly relying on home remedies and OTC drugs instead of going to see a doctor. While Spectrum’s survey found that OTC purchases have declined in the early second quarter of 2009, people are looking to self-care as a substitute for care in the traditional health system.
The wild card question the Spectrum survey begs to be answered is: will health consumers’ changed behaviors in this recession be sustained in the future as the macroeconomy improves, along with a reformed US health economy? We observe that American consumers in general have shifted purchases away from higher-end retail at Abercrombie, Neiman-Marcus and Macys toward Walmart and Big Box discounters.
What is the equivalent of this demand shift in health care? Bet on growth in self-care products and services to continue as more people learn how to more effectively use the Internet as health information source, web 2.0 tools in health, and the adoption of mHealth through mobile phones. This DIY health era has begun, and the 2008-10 recession is a mother-nurturer of this innovation.