What we learnt in Q2: DIY DNA testing takes off

June 26, 2018

DNA home tests should partner with ancestry for mass appeal and medical professionals for authority

According to industry estimates, consumer DNA testing more than doubled in 2017. Ancestry.com, the biggest provider, announced that it has tested more than seven million people’s DNA details, 23andme, the second largest, more than three million.


We measure the largest volume of google searches for consumer DNA testing in the US.

Canada, Australia, New Zealand, South Africa and the UK also have high levels of searches. Interest in DNA testing is rising in China too, where instead of being motivated by the desire to understand ethnic ancestry as it often is in the West (90% of China’s population is Han Chinese) it is motivated more by discovering links to royalty or key historical figures.

As more consumers have access to their DNA data, we’ve see a subsequent rise in companies who offer to analyse it for them and either share insights or tailor their offer to an individual’s DNA. Offers range from diet plans determined by DNA to skincare tailored to your genome. In the US, this data has even been used to solve crime, with the notorious golden state serial killer tracked down by accessing records of consumer DNA data, raising multiple privacy questions. The promise of DNA-derived personalisation adds momentum to our trend The Me Me World.


DNA led decision making

But as well as fuelling personalisation, DNA data can also be predictive and can inform or even alter decision making. Armed with information on your personal likelihood of developing a certain diseases, consumers can use this to drive decisions and choose a diet to counter the risks, for example. The consumer DNA testing explosion boosts our trend Probability Gets Personal too.

The FCA has questioned how useful home genetic tests are becuase a number of variables cause disease. As a response, ancestry tests like Helix formed clinical partnerships such as the one below in April 2018. Partnerships between ancestry and health firms combines the mass appeal of ancestry testing with medical authority. Helix also requires requests for medical tests to be accompanied by a questionnaire that a physician reads. Companies must support consumers in making decisions with DNA driven insight.



Taken together, these two trends are fertile ground for innovations, particularly in the health sector. Our health trend Me Me Medicine captures the dawn of personalised medicine powered by DNA analysis and genomics. Meanwhile the insurance sector’s response is currently marked more by debate over genetic discrimination.


Foresight Factory published the what’s trending in Q2  in full on FFonline in May 2018. Sign up to our newsletter for further insight on what’s trending.


Written by Laura Dennehy

I am the Head of Content Solutions at Foresight Factory and am responsible for innovating how we use trends to answer client questions and improving the ways we understand consumers.

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