These tests attract millions of people into sending a vial of their spit for analysis in an attempt to learn more about themselves. It’s certainly a fascinating proposition and ideal if you want to look in-depth into your ancestry.
But why are home DNA testing kits so popular, and what can the rest of the market learn from them? There are many lessons as to why this is the perfect moneymaker, and how it has managed to reach so many millions of people.
People love science
There’s a strange misconception among science-loving people. That misconception is that they’re in the minority. Most people, the refrain goes, care more about superstition than actual science. Otherwise they’d be more interested in climate change than horoscopes.
However, time and time again we see that this is just not the case. People love science. The very religious may object to it, but even moderate religions coexist with it these days. When NASA releases news of space exploration or the first photo of a black hole, or when scientific analysis reveals something we didn’t know about ancient humans, the news goes viral. Series like Planet Earth and, more recently, Our Planet bring in tons of viewers.
Ancestry DNA kits are evidence of this. These companies have benefited from the intersection of a love of science and scientific advancement. They have used the latest advancements to make something once seen as impossible a reality that can be achieved in a couple of weeks for a low price.
It is true that most of us are woefully apathetic about things like climate change, but that is mostly due to self-interest and, often, a fear that there’s nothing we can do. It does not negate the fact that we love hearing about discoveries that were unthought of in the past.
So, while tech startups are mostly focusing on improving our day-to-day technological interactions, they could learn from ancestry testing that a lot of money lies in accessible, fascinating, science.
It’s all about you
Of course, that science needs to be presented and made available in an easily accessible way. And, more significantly, it should be personal. People love ancestry tests because it reveals not only human truths, but truths about their own history.
We see similar interest when it comes to technology that goes deep into the very makeup of a human being. Smart watches, for example, at first seemed like a gratuitous miniature form of a smartphone. However, they have proved increasingly popular due to the information they provide to the user. We can now know everything about ourselves, from our current heart rate, to our average heart rate, to calories burned, to steps walked, to sleep health, and so much more.
Humans are, for better or worse, purveyors of the self. Our self-awareness is what makes us human. Any technology that helps us know ourselves better is going to boom. Everyone can learn from this, and it explains why DNA testing kits are one of today’s biggest moneymakers.