Consumer interest in preventive health is increasing. Research shows 44% of consumers are looking for products to help them live healthier. Moreover, the industry is set to grow to $5.5bn by 2027. One of the emergent trends we have identified is the use of CGMs. Previously, people used CGMs (continuous glucose monitoring) devices to manage diabetes. Yet, things are changing. As a marketing agency for health brands, we analyse extensive amounts of online data. Through this CGM market report, we analyse search engine data. We investigate what is causing the growth in interest in CGMs and why.
Before we begin – What is a CGM?
Before deep diving into the report, let’s cover the basics. A CGM is a health device that tracks glucose levels in real time. CGMs are often used by people with diabetes to monitor and manage their blood sugar levels. The device typically consists of a small sensor placed under the skin. As a result, you can continuously measure glucose levels. This is because it transmits the data to a display device or smartphone for the user to monitor. Consequently, users get valuable information for making informed decisions. This includes insulin dosages, diet, and overall diabetes management. However, our data indicates this is not the only reason the CGM market is growing.
How are continuous glucose monitors attached?
A CGM is a subtle gadget placed on the upper arm to monitor real-time blood sugar levels. It employs a small needle beneath the skin. As a result, it ensures continuous monitoring and recording of blood sugar levels. Despite initial concerns, inserting a CGM is generally not painful.
So, CGM’s are only for diabetics?
No, and that is one cause of the growth in CGM-related searches. Increasingly CGMs are being used by health enthusiasts as a way to optimise their health. High blood sugar can damage blood vessels and nerves, which can lead to many health problems. CGM devices can help people to identify and manage spikes and dips in blood sugar. Consequently, it can help to prevent these health problems from occurring.
200% spike in interest in the UK reflective of wider CGM market growth
One of the fastest-growing CGM markets is the UK. By July 2023 interest in CGM’s had increased 200% over two years.
In comparison, the US had had a slower growth. However, this is natural given the total volume of searches is significantly higher in the US. As a result, the US CGM market saw a 78% growth in online searches over the same period.
Moreover, globally the CGM market also saw more searches occurring. Globally there was approximately a 31% increase in searches.
Therefore, over two years, interest in the CGM market has increased dramatically. This could suggest increased consumer awareness. Yet, this surge in interest is likely due to a variety of reasons. At this point, it’s important to inject context. Diabetes rates have been rising globally. Therefore, this is likely to influence the overall growth.
However, many of the searches also pertain to buying a device or obtaining reviews. In the US one could assume this is normal online behaviour. After all, the nation has privatised healthcare. However, that does not explain such searches in the UK. Moreover, whilst the UK CGM market has been growing fastest, the US CGM market is perhaps more mature. Interest in the US has been growing over a longer period. As with many health trends like the growth in the NMN supplement industry, the US appears to be influencing others. Currently, the UK appears to be tracking about 3 years behind the US.
Significant search volumes reflect growth
In the US people search for CGMs over 100,000 times per month. By way of comparison, the UK has approximately 14,500 searches per month. In short, the US has over 7 times the search volume. The difference in search volume is likely due to several factors. This includes population size, CGM market maturity and the US’s privatised healthcare.
Moreover, this does not indicate a lack of overall interest in the UK. Whilst the UK only has 14,500 searches per month, it compares favourably to other health gadgets. For example, “heart rate monitors” and “Apple smartwatch” are popular health devices. Yet, CGM’s have either more or similar amounts of searches.
However, a key question remains. Is the growth in the CGM market and related searches solely down to the increase in diabetes?
Social Media propelling interest in the CGM market
One factor in the growth is social media. On Instagram health influencers have been driving the agenda. For example, US CGM company Levels has a board of directors with a large online following. Collectively, they have over 4.8 million followers on Instagram. In addition, Levels has over 163,000 followers of its own. Many of these influencers have spoken about CGM’s on their social media feeds.
Interestingly, the data indicates the majority of people searching for CGM are under 44. This is younger than the average age of onset for diabetes. Consequently, it suggests many people are looking to use CGMs as a health prevention tool. This is perhaps best illustrated by the under-25 market. In the UK 29.3% of people searching for CGM’s on search engines are 18-24. This is perhaps reflective of its growing popularity on social media. Over the other side of the Atlantic, this youthful age group is responsible for 19% of all searches. This further enforces the idea that there is a growing interest among people looking to use CGM’s as a health prevention tool.
The future of the CGM market
This trend doesn’t appear to be going anywhere. In February 2023, Level’s announced on Instagram they would be expanding into the UK. To help with their launch, they hired popular British TV doctor, Rangan Chatterjee. He alone has 718,000 Instagram followers. And that’s before considering his wider reach across his podcast, and other social channels.
However, the growing accessibility of CGMs raises an important question. Will the growth in the CGM market promote health equality or health disparity? Apps provided by companies like Levels provide real-time data insights. These can be valuable for improving public health. Yet, that can only happen if they are affordable and accessible to everyone. Moreover, people need to understand how to interpret the data. Otherwise, these devices could widen the gap between those who can afford them and those who cannot.