Family caregivers are a vital and growing, but often overlooked marketplace. There are approximately 66 million caregivers performing a variety of tasks and making any number of purchasing decisions, ranging from buying food for special diets to shopping for medical equipment and supplies to arranging for outside care.
A recent survey revealed that caregivers spend on average anywhere from $5,000-$12,000 annually out of their own pockets caring for loved ones. Some participants in the survey were asked to keep detailed spending diaries, others simply estimated their expenses. Those who kept written diaries reported much higher levels of spending which may suggest that caregivers are underestimating the amount and the frequency of the purchases they make on behalf of their loved ones.
The largest categories of caregiver spending varied between paid home care assistance and medical expenses. The medical expense category included prescription and OTC drugs, co-pays and insurance premiums. Other categories tracked in the study were medical equipment and supplies, personal care products and home modifications. Caregivers also report purchasing cleaning and yard maintenance services and pet care products and services. Given the levels and frequency of caregiver spending, marketers offering these products should strongly consider adding caregivers to their target audience.
Not only are caregivers major buyers but they are also key influencers in healthcare purchase decisions. A study by The Caregiver’s Advisory Panel (TCAP) discovered that 96% of caregivers influence decisions regarding the purchase of caregiving health products, and 79% of caregivers purchase all or nearly all of those products. In our experience, caregivers are also very influential in the purchase of a host of financial products and services including long term care insurance, life insurance, Medicare supplement insurance and related products.
Caregiver marketing is rewarding yet challenging, in large part because caregivers are not easily identified. In a future edition of this blog we will discuss caregiver targeting in greater detail. Please join the discussion.