At a glance
Over the last year at Avily, our insights team has observed prospective patients use Google to search for many things related to dentistry. However, as 2022 comes to a close, people are looking forward to celebrating the holidays, leading to reduced demand for dental services.
While many prospective patients seeking private dental services have cash to spend, given the current economic climate within South Africa, they continue to use platforms like Google to make more informed decisions about the things they’re looking to buy. From a dental services perspective, this includes choosing a dental practice that is easily found when searched for and offers an excellent patient experience at a reasonable price.
Patient Decision Making
The last month, in particular, has shown us that prospective patients are more mindful when looking for a dentist. They’re looking for the best value for money and have converged towards prioritising essential dental services more than cosmetic services.
In addition, patients have also increasingly appended medical aids to their searches when looking for a new dentist. As a result, dental practices that only offer private rates would see a slight slowdown in patient demand, while practices that accept medical aids would have seen a slight increase in patient demand over the last month.
In higher-value treatment dentistry, amidst inflation, patients still admiringly value a “dream smile”; however, they have shown a more substantial likelihood of converting when a “dream smile” is justified by the functional value.
With summer in full swing locally, the last month has seen an increase in the number of people aspirationally researching smile makeovers. This typically happens over the summer season towards the end of the year, with interest spiking drastically in January. December is thus the best time to ensure your practice is visible while patients research high-value dentistry.
What prospective patients are looking for
1. In-person patient experiences are still king
The need for Virtual Dentistry has fallen drastically over the last year, with demand only marginally higher than before the pandemic.
2. Dentists remain in high demand
2022 saw interest in general dental treatments grow compared to 2021. However, it’s important to note that 2021 saw the highest demand levels we have seen in over 10 years due to pent-up demand from 2020. It’s impressive that the demand continued to rise.
3. Fewer new gorgeous smiles
Cosmetic Dentistry services saw an overall decrease in 2022 compared to 2021. It is, however, showing signs of a resurgence as we enter the end of the year.
4. After-hours missed calls
This year, Emergency Dentistry had the highest demand we have ever seen over the last 10 years. As a result, more patients are increasingly seeking emergency or 24-hour dentists near them.
5. How to replace missing teeth
One of the top dental phrases searched for by prospective patients across the country was “How to replace missing teeth”. Interest in dental implants and dentures saw the highest spike in demand, with a hefty 25% increase year on year in interest.
6. Cost is key
Price affordability was the most significant change in dental sentiment that we saw for 2022. Patients appended the word “cheap” and “affordable” a whopping 70% more compared to 2021, again showing strong demand for affordable dentistry.
Would you like to attract the right patients to your dental practice?
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