Consumers fall into three COVID-19 vaccine adoption segments

(Mckinsey) Much of the prevailing market research on COVID-19 vaccination frames sentiment as “likely,” “unlikely,” or “neutral.” McKinsey’s research is designed to uncover a more granular continuum of sentiments and to account for the fact that many consumers may take a “wait and see” approach to their decision about vaccination. Their research has found that consumers’ attitudes towards receiving a COVID-19 vaccine fall into three primary segments.

These three segments include (percentages indicate the percent of respondents within the given segment):

  • “Interested adopters”: Thirty-seven percent of respondents say they are willing to participate in a trial, receive a vaccine after an EUA (emergency use authorization), or after clinical trials are completed. These are consumers who have relatively firm personal conviction in their decision to get vaccinated and may well be “first in line” when a vaccine is available to them—assuming continued positive safety and efficacy evidence.
  • “Cautious adopters”: Forty-five percent of respondents want to wait until the vaccine has been on the market for between three and 12 months or until they feel confident in it. The largest of any other segment, this group is less defined by their demographics (for example, 45 percent of those aged over 65) and more defined by their attitudes. In particular, they are much more focused on the health implications of the vaccine (for example, side effects, ingredients, speed of the vaccine development process)—they want to know it is safe and they want to see that others are safe after receiving the vaccine. Importantly, they want to receive information from trusted sources, namely physicians.
  • “Unlikely adopters”: Eighteen percent of respondents say they are unlikely to receive the vaccine, regardless of timing. This segment could comprise people who are both disinterested in vaccination because they do not think they need it (for example, healthy young adults who may perceive low personal risks) or because they have developed negative sentiments about vaccination (for example, general distrust, beliefs about harmful effects).

Although physicians are the most trusted information source, local news and social media are more frequent sources of vaccine information. Further, it appears that these information sources are more likely to result in respondents being less likely to consider a vaccine after receiving this information.

When asked “whose advice is most important to you in the decision to get vaccinated?” 44 percent of survey respondents said that they would rely on physician advice (the number-one response), while 6 percent would turn to social media.

However, when asked where they are getting their information on COVID-19 vaccines today, respondents cited the local news (45 percent) and social media (27 percent), while only 16 percent cited physicians.9 Importantly, experience receiving information across these sources appears to connect with consumer perception of COVID-19 vaccines. For example, interested adopters were more likely to have received information from their physician (25 percent) compared with cautious (11 percent) and unlikely (8 percent) adopters, whereas the unlikely adopters were much more likely to have received information from social media (34 percent).