Brand Insights in 3 sentences: Diabetes affects nearly 1-in-10 people worldwide, and for the millions affected the internet is a valuable resource for spreading awareness and normalizing their condition. Among the products and treatments available to diabetic patients, there has been growth in search volume for the weight-loss potential of Wegovy/Ozempic in addition to a newfound interest in mobile apps for recording and managing blood glucose levels. Diabetes patients are also looking for more stylish alternatives to their medical accessories, including shoes, insulin pumps, and blood glucose monitors.
Of the nearly 1-in-10 people that have Diabetes worldwide, thousands use the internet everyday to search for medications, alternative treatments, and to engage in dialogue about their condition. In honor of World Diabetes Day and American Diabetes Month this November, we at Quilt decided to highlight internet trends in the diabetic community using our AI platform, Sphere.
With data from Google and Twitter, we’ve uncovered some insights about treatments, cultural trends, and experiences among Diabetes patients.
Here are our results:
In the Diabetes medication market, many of the best sellers are insulin products. But the leading medication for search volume is actually Ozempic — an antidiabetic medication that improves blood sugar control for Type II Diabetes patients.
Ozempic’s generic, Semaglutide, is also sold under the brand name Wegovy, which has generated immense buzz as an weight-loss treatment this year:
Wegovy’s efficacy as an anti-obesity treatment has created a lot of interest and enthusiasm online. Type II Diabetes patients are being joined by those interested in weight loss in posting about both Ozempic and Wegovy on social media — especially in regards to insurance coverage and payment. In the past three months, this search interest has been especially strong in states like Kentucky, Tennessee, and West Virginia.
Diabetes patients often face problems in their feet. Nerve damage and increased risk of infection are among the reasons it’s important for those living with Diabetes to keep close tabs on their feet and take steps to protect them.
Custom and specially designed shoes are an essential part of this process, and have seen a steady and substantial search interest all year long:
One shoe getting buzz among diabetic patients is the Foot Defender, a high-top style therapeutic shoe co-created by a former Nike designer. The shoe addresses foot care issues specific to Diabetes — primarily diabetic foot ulcers — while maintaining an athletic and trendy style.
Foot Defender has also been trending in searches over the past year, revealing an interest in Diabetes management through fashionable footwear.
Technology is catching up to Diabetes treatments. Nowhere is this clearer than in the many mobile apps for Diabetes management, care, and connection. There are dozens of apps available for every purpose — from monitoring blood glucose content, to finding a community of patients, all the way to building a healthy diet.
Search interest has been strong all year in this respect — though there’s also been a recent uptick in volume:
Among the many services available to Diabetes patients, the Contour app has made particular strides this year. Back in May, they announced that patients using the app experienced fewer out-of-target blood glucose readings than those using the blood glucose meter without it.
This announcement coincided with a 119% increase in search interest, from March to May 2022:
These results show that the Diabetes patient community is responding to the potential benefits of cloud-based blood glucose monitoring, and to many other potential uses of technology in Diabetes treatment and management.
World Diabetes Day occurs annually on November 14 as an awareness campaign run by the International Diabetes Federation (IDF). Every two years, the IDF takes on a different theme, and 2021–2023’s theme is Access to Diabetes Care, with a specific focus on access to education for diabetic communities all around the world.
One place the IDF decided to educate last year was on the invention and proliferation of Insulin. 2021 coincided with the 100th anniversary of Insulin’s invention by Frederick Banting and Charles Best, and the IDF has made sure the world takes notice of this milestone by posting to their social media profiles and to their Youtube page:
Alongside the IDF’s efforts, thousands of Twitter users tweeted their support of the milestone with the hashtag #WorldDiabetesDay in 2021. These Tweets often focused on advocating for increased access to care (in line with the year’s theme) and affecting change:
One thing many users felt needed to change was insulin pricing and access:
Regardless of their goals, the efforts of the IDF and Diabetes advocates on Twitter clearly paid off last year. Search interest peaked for “Diabetes” on World Diabetes Day in 2021:
As the Diabetes patient community continues to celebrate Insulin’s centennial anniversary this year, expect a similar buzz on Twitter — especially when it comes to increasing access to vital drugs.
In addition to awareness building efforts on World Diabetes Day, Diabetes patients also work towards cultural acceptance and visibility through social media.
Many change the discourse around the disease by embracing their illness as fashion. There’s the aforementioned Foot Defenders, but also carefully styled Insulin pumps and blood glucose monitors:
Other Diabetes patients are signaling their identity through customized sneakers, tattoos and other accessories:
Even celebrity plays a role in Diabetes visibility and acceptance. Lila Moss — daughter of supermodel Kate Moss — has recently made waves in the modeling community, appearing on the cover of British Vogue in May:
Her rising popularity coincided with an equally large increase in search interest. She received a 300% boost in searches in the wake of her cover this year.
Lila Moss is also a type I Diabetes patient. She recently wore her blood glucose monitor during a Versace-Fendi campaign, and walked the runway with her insulin pump.
Public figures like Moss normalize and even celebrate their Diabetes for the masses. Efforts like hers and from other Diabetes patients make the internet more accepting and more aware of the illness and its importance all across the globe.
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