Ancestry made a savvy business decision when the company began offering simple and affordable DNA test kits. Thanks to good timing with popular TV shows featuring celebrities who discover their hidden pasts, DNA test kits are offering to help the rest of us redefine our identity.
Many of us have been told about our family’s history, but that goes back only a few generations. People have migrated for centuries, so the fact that your grandfather came from Italy doesn’t mean your ancestors were Italian. People who’d always been a little curious about their family’s genetic history are now able to glean information that wasn’t possible a generation ago.
According to Forbes Magazine, Ancestry.com sold a record-setting 560,000 DNA kits between Black Friday and Cyber Monday last year. And more than 1.4 million AncestryDNA kits were sold during the fourth quarter of 2016.
Ancestry claims that it now has more than three million members in its DNA database, and that grew by a third in only six months (from two million members in August of 2016). The company’s revenue grew to $850 million, up 25% from a year earlier, including subscriptions sales for customers to access the company’s research documents. The company has more than 2.5 million subscribers, who pay an average of $20 a month for access to Ancestry's research data and tools.
So why the sudden craze in knowing your genetic history? Part of it is due to the accessibility and cost. It’s easy to order your own at-home kit. And the tests cost between $60-$99, depending on the company and kind of test you order.
A recent article in website Gizmodo suggested that many people pay for genetic testing to help with health issues. If you aren’t losing weight or your health is in decline, it helps to know what types of foods your body needs based on your heritage, as well as what diseases you are susceptible toward so you can make healthy decisions. So people are ordering DNA testing kits to see where potential problems lie, and what they can do to improve their diet and health now.
There are even DNA Lifestyle Coaches who can interpret the results of your DNA testing and offer a new health regimen, including what Vitamins to take, what foods to eat, and how much and what kind of exercise is optimal for your body.
Regardless, the demand for DNA testing continues to grow and shows no sign of slowing down.
"We think we'll have 10 million people connected within two years," Ancestry CEO Tim Sullivan told Forbes. "Our goal is to win."