Tuesday, 8 August 2017

AncestryDNA hits the five million milestone

Ancestry have announced on their US Facebook page that they now have an astonishing five million AncestryDNA customers. Ancestry passed the four million milestone at the end of April this year and the three million milestone in January. That means they've sold two million tests in the first seven months of 2017. If sales continue at the current rate they will have tested seven million people by the end of the year. Christmas is always the peak selling period so sales could ultimately be much higher than that. How long will it take for the database to grow to 10 million or 20 million?

AncestryDNA do not give breakdowns of sales by country. Their test has been available in the US since May 2012 but only launched in the UK in January 2015. It became available in Australia and New Zealand in May 2015, Canada in June 2015 and 29 other countries in February 2016. I would estimate that about 80% of AncestryDNA's sales are now in the US. It seems likely that a considerable amount of their growth in the last year or so has come from people testing in these new markets.

Sales seem to be particularly strong in the UK, Ireland, Australia and New Zealand. AncestryDNA have been marketing their test extensively in these countries. In the UK, for example, AncestryDNA now sponsor the long-running TV programme Long Lost Family, which regularly attracts around five million viewers. The seventh series is currently being aired on ITV, and AncestryDNA are linking their promotions to the programme. The banner below now appears when you log into your Ancestry account.

The marketing is helping to bring in a new demographic to DNA testing. People are taking a DNA test out of curiosity and not as an aid to genealogical research. However, some of these new people who are testing will start to explore their matches and become interested in family history. This can only be good news for everyone.

Although Ancestry's Facebook page shows that there is a sale on in the US until 15th August, the test does not appear to be on sale in any other country at present.

Further reading
Leah La Perle Larkin has published a blog post with updated figures on the size of the GEDmatch database and an updated graph showing the growth of the autosomal DNA databases. See her article Genealogical database sizes - August 2017 update.

The official AncestryDNA press release can be read here.

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