Early research indicates GLP-1 households are pulling back on food and alcohol purchases more significantly than the average shopper. While these observed shifts provide important learnings for brands and retailers, businesses need more information to better anticipate where and whom these shifts will come from in the future.
Numerator’s latest syndicated research aims to provide a more in-depth understanding of past, current and future users to paint a more complete picture of the GLP-1 lifecycle and the stickiness of behavioral shifts.
GLP-1 Use Cases and Barriers to Entry
The primary use case for GLP-1 medications is shifting. Though its intended purpose is to moderate insulin levels in diabetics, new users are overwhelmingly adopting the drug for its notable weight loss side effects. The latest research from Numerator shows that 70% of individuals who anticipate using GLP-1 medications in the future say they’ll be doing so for weight loss and not for diabetes, up from 34% of current users. GLP-1 weight loss users tend to scale back their food and alcohol purchases more significantly than diabetic users, meaning the early consumer impacts observed in the past year may continue to amplify.
When it comes to choosing whether or not to use these medications, price is the paramount factor for weight loss users—59% say they’re likely to use the drugs if covered by insurance and 44% would be more likely to adopt at a lower price point. While “off-label” use of GLP-1 drugs for weight loss is not widely covered by insurance at this point, future developments in this area are likely to have a profound impact on adoption rates. Insurance coverage is also important to prospective diabetic GLP-1 users, but the key driver for these individuals is a recommendation by their doctor.
GLP-1 Longevity of Use
The timeline of GLP-1 usage is distinctly different based on the drug’s use case. Individuals using for diabetes management tend to stay on the drugs longer, with 51% of current users having used them for a year or more. Meanwhile, nearly two-thirds (63%) of individuals using the drugs for weight loss started within the past six months.
A look at lapsed users shows that three-fifths (61%) of individuals previously using GLP-1 drugs for weight loss discontinued within six months, with a third (33%) lapsing in three months or less.
For many users, GLP-1 drugs are not a long-term commitment but rather a step along the way in their weight loss or wellness journey. Brands looking to serve these individuals better should identify ways they can supplement their needs both pre- and post-GLP-1 usage, especially weight loss users whose time on the drug will likely be limited.
Reasons for Discontinuing GLP-1 Use
Lapsed weight loss users said price and insurance coverage were the top reasons for discontinuing use. Although price was also a significant factor for lapsed diabetes users, unpleasant side effects were the key contributor for this group, something weight loss users seemed more willing to tolerate. Evidence of such side effects was evident in our latest analysis of brands to watch in 2024, where both Ducolax and Miralax made the list of fastest-growing brands among GLP-1 users in 2023.
Should circumstances around insurance coverage or pricing change in the coming months or years, there may be an increase in GLP-1 weight loss users and longer periods of compliance. Brands with functional values that minimize or offset the drug’s side effects stand to benefit if this occurs.
Stay on Top of GLP-1 Trends with Numerator
Numerator is dedicated to helping our clients track the unfolding consumer impact of GLP-1 drugs through broad-scale, ongoing research. While current data shows that early adopters are maintaining their dietary changes, it’s crucial to track whether this trend holds for newer users. Continuous monitoring will provide deeper insights into the long-term impacts of GLP-1 on consumer health habits and lifestyle choices, enabling more informed decision-making.
The highlights shared in this article are only a small piece of our syndicated study. For more information on Numerator’s GLP-1 insights and offerings, head over to our GLP-1 Research Hub or get in touch with our team.