A new survey by Harris Poll of 2,223 adults below 65 finds that 19 percent of Americans have gone to such a clinic in the past year, either seeking treatment for themselves or a family member.
A narrow majority of those who visited clinics did so to address low-level ailments, such as colds, allergies, headaches or ear infections.
In addition, many are going to clinics to receive basic preventative care. Over a third went to get a flu shot, while just under a third went to receive a health screening and just under a fifth went to get a physical.
Men are slightly more likely than women to visit a clinic; 22 percent men went to clinics last year, compared to 16 percent of women.
Young people are also far more likely to resort to retail health than their elders. Twenty-six percent of millennials went to a clinic last year, compared to 20 percent of those age 35-44 and 11 percent of those age 55-64.
Indeed, it appears that many trips to clinics are for children. Twenty-nine percent of those in households with children visited a clinic, compared to 13 percent who don’t live with kids. Married people are slightly more likely to go (21 percent) compared to the non-married (16 percent).
Retail health clinics are most popular in urban areas, with 26 percent of those in cities visiting, compared to 16 percent of suburbanites and 16 percent of those who live in rural areas.
Most patients purchase a product during the visit. Thirty-six percent of patients buy over-the-counter medication at the clinic, while 27 percent buy personal care products, 24 percent buy food and 18 percent buy house cleaning products.
Retail health clinics have seen enormous growth in the last few years. A report by Accenture at the end of 2015 showed that the number of clinics had grown from 351 in 2006 to 1,914 in 2014. The report projected the number of clinics growing to 2,805 by the end of 2017.