[Report] What Really Matters to Healthcare Consumers

With healthcare coverage going into effect earlier this month under the Affordable Care Act, government officials have released some details about how many Americans have signed up for health insurance and the general age breakdown. But much of the publicly available information on the changing healthcare industry and the Affordable Care Act covers the topics broadly without reaching individual healthcare consumers.

As a market research company, we tapped into the power of our respondent base and connected with real consumers directly to better understand their experiences with the healthcare marketplaces. With health insurance increasingly becoming a consumer’s choice, it’s more important than ever for insurance companies and healthcare marketers to better understand consumers’ preferences and behaviors.

To that end, we conducted our most recent Lab42 survey by reaching 500 healthcare consumers who used the federal or state exchanges to sign up for health insurance in order to gauge their experiences with the exchanges and also identify similarities in how decisions were made among those who chose similar plan packages (i.e. Bronze, Silver, Gold) and health insurance carriers.

Among the findings, we uncovered that Blue Cross Blue Shield experienced the strongest market share with 52% of respondents choosing it as a carrier. Other carriers experienced a larger market share in specific states. Below is a visual of insurance carriers broken down by plan type.

Carrier vs. Plan

When selecting a specific insurance carrier and plan type, the most important factor was “fits my monthly budget” (26%), and the second most cited reason was the level of coverage provided (17%).

The study also revealed that the Silver package was the most popular option selected, with 40 percent of the respondents choosing it as their plan package. Bronze, the least expensive option that is widely available, was chosen by 23 percent of respondents, while the more comprehensive options, Gold and Platinum, were selected by 24 percent and 10 percent, respectively.

Despite initial technical difficulties with healthcare.gov, 80% of healthcare consumers who signed up online would highly or somewhat recommend using the online signup method. This pattern was also seen in satisfaction with the online option with 71% being very or somewhat satisfied. While complicating the initial rollout, technical glitches haven’t deterred consumers from using the online signup method in the future. Nearly nine in ten (87%) said they are highly or somewhat likely to use the same method again.

The full report is available for download here.


The Lab42 survey was fielded among 500 adults in the United States, ages 18 and up, who used a federal or state health exchange to sign up for health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. The survey was conducted from December 16 – 28, 2013.

Is Pinterest the Key to a Happy Holiday? [Infographic]

It’s almost hard to believe, but December is here, Black Friday has come and gone, and the holiday season is in full swing!

At Lab42, we thought it was the perfect time of year to conduct our own study and infographic on how consumers are preparing for the holidays and decided to hone in on Pinterest to determine how (and why) Pinterest users engage with the prolific pin-board site during the winter holiday months. What we discovered is that nearly every Pinterest user surveyed (94 percent) said Pinterest has changed their preparation for the holidays in some way, and they find the holidays less stressful overall. Specifically, 92 percent said Pinterest makes the holidays less stressful, with 27 percent saying that Pinterest makes the holidays ‘much less stressful’.

The most popular way they’re using the site during the holidays is for new recipe ideas (83 percent), while 74 percent rely on Pinterest for gift ideas. Sixty-four percent find holiday décor ideas, and opt for the DIY route instead of buying them. It’s fitting that the top three categories browsed during this time of year are: 1) DIY & Crafts, 2) Holidays & Events, and 3) Food & Drink.

The study also revealed an increase in Pinterest usage during the holidays. Over half of Pinterest users spend more time on the site during the holiday months (54 percent) and 43 percent of Pinners have a board designated for the holidays. Sixty-six percent are very satisfied with Pinterest’s collection of winter holiday-themed ideas, but two-thirds of Pinterest users said that Pinterest could add subcategories within Holidays & Events to improve their experience.

If you’re pining for more, check out our Pinterest infographic below (click to enlarge).

Lab42 Infographic - Pinterest Holiday

This Lab42 survey was conducted among 500 Pinterest users in the United States, ages 18 and up, from November 13-14, 2013.


How to drive your PR strategy using data

2014 is right around the corner, and for many of you, now is the time to be brainstorming and thinking of fresh ways to get press in the new year. Even if you have a few PR strategies up your sleeve, there’s always room for new ideas.

To that end, I recently participated in a webinar with Mike Santoro from tech PR firm Walker Sands. Mike and I are both passionate about the power of PR, storytelling and data.

I admit that the idea of  generating and analyzing data can be intimidating, so in putting this webinar together, we wanted to provide tips for any B2B or B2C company on how to use data in order to get media coverage. We used many real examples and success stories to show that there isn’t just one right way.

We boiled it down and came up with eight simple steps to fuel your PR strategy–many of which you can take action on today. On a high level, you’ll learn how to:

To take notes along the way, download the webinar slides below.

Black Friday 2013: Holiday Retail Trends at a Glance

Thanksgiving is just around the corner! We recently conducted research on holiday shopping habits for 2013 in order to gauge any differences between the new findings and our Black Friday research from 2012.

Macy's Black Friday

This year, many holiday shoppers will begin their Black Friday shopping on Thanksgiving Day, with more and more retailers opening their doors on the day normally reserved for eating turkey, watching football, and oh yeah, giving thanks.  What else did we uncover?

  • 50% of holiday shoppers plan to shop online more during the 2013 holiday season compared to 2012. Half of holiday shoppers we surveyed plan to shop online more this holiday season compared to last year. Nearly the same amount (48%) said their online shopping habits will remain the same this year, while just two percent plan to shop online less.
  • Shoppers are most inclined to make an online purchase when they receive free shipping. Free shipping beats out all other incentives and discounts, including a percentage off and free returns.
  • Growing skepticism toward Black Friday bargains is a likely reason behind the rise in online holiday shopping. Among shoppers who do not plan to shop on Black Friday this year, half of them (50%) believe that the same deals will be available at a later date up from 42 percent in 2012. More specifically, 38 percent think the same deals are available online, up from 30 percent last year.
  • Forty-five percent of holiday shoppers plan to spend more this holiday season than in 2012. The good news for retailers is that holiday spending is on the rise, with 45 percent planning to spend more than last year. The number one reason cited by respondents is that their financial situation improved. Men and Millennials are most likely to spend more, indicating a potential correlation with an improving job market in 2013.  Just 12 percent plan to spend less than they did last year, and 43 percent plan to spend the same amount.
  • Fifty-two percent of Black Friday shoppers surveyed plan to shop before 3:00am. Shoppers looking for a bargain on Black Friday are more eager than ever to hit the stores.  Fifty-two percent of Black Friday shoppers plan to shop before 3:00am on Black Friday, with 26 percent shopping on Thanksgiving Day.
  • Nearly 7 in 10 believe stores should be closed on Thanksgiving Day, up from 60 percent in 2012. Even though 69 percent feel stores should be closed on Thanksgiving Day, 22 percent (in this same group) plan to still shop on Thanksgiving Day, indicating their strong desire for the best deals.
  • Social media tops email as the preferred way to receive Black Friday promotions. Black Friday shoppers also indicated that their preferred way to receive Black Friday promotions is through social media, beating out email, last year’s preferred method.

Will you be setting your alarm for an early morning on Black Friday or will you hold out for Cyber Monday? Tell us in the comments!

Note: the survey was conducted among 500 American adults, ages 18 and up, from November 8-11, 2013, in the United States.

Cracking the Code on Internet Privacy [Infographic]

With the NSA leaks making headlines, consumer awareness is at an all-time high when it comes to internet privacy and digital security. In our most recent Lab42 study and infographic, we found that although consumers are nearly split on the debate between internet privacy and security, a slight majority (54%) said they would rather have more online privacy at the risk of security. Still, over half (52%) feel privacy is a thing of the past, and as a result, consumers are taking steps to protect themselves digitally.

PayPal was the number one way consumers prefer to buy online, with nearly a third (32%) citing it as their most preferred payment option. In an effort to protect themselves further, 37 percent never save their credit card information on any website.

Generational differences were also apparent. For example, Millennials are more likely than any other generation to turn off location settings, and over half of Millennials (56%) have a password or pin to access their smartphone, compared to just 36 percent of those ages 35 and above. Consumers overall use a variety of passwords to protect themselves online—half of respondents use five or more passwords—but over half (54%) don’t keep track of their passwords anywhere except by memory.

We also explored consumers’ perceptions of targeted online advertising (i.e. advertisers showing ads more likely to suit viewers’ interests based on their previous online activity). Specifically, we asked “how do you feel about targeted advertising?” and the breakdown below highlights their opinions of targeted ads:

  • 47% – “The ads catch my eye, but I don’t pay attention”
  • 20% – “I’m uneasy about these types of ads”
  • 17% – “I don’t mind”
  • 16% – “It catches my eye, and I’m more likely to click on an ad”

Despite the fact that most aren’t bothered by targeted advertising, 61 percent have still used an ad blocking service, with AdBlock being the most popular choice.

One of the biggest takeaways from our recent study is that there’s room for improvement when it comes to consumers protecting their privacy online. Nearly one in three (29%) said they aren’t sure if third-party cookies are able to track them, and 29 percent rarely or never read terms and conditions on websites. Nearly one in five (19%) don’t do anything to mask their digital identity.

The survey was conducted among 500 American adults, ages 18 and up, from October 3-7, 2013, in the United States.

For more insights, check out our infographic below (click to expand).

Lab42 Infographic - Digital Privacy