Health and Wellness Insider: trends and tips for advertisers

Our health & wellness has never been more important. The outbreak of COVID-19 has seen a rapid acceleration in emerging health & wellness trends, especially those associated with prevention and reducing the risk of poor outcomes including:

  • Rapidly increased interest in prevention and early detection for health conditions due to the risk of COVID-19 including issues such as hypertension, obesity, and diabetes
  • As a result of reduced access to in-person health and wellness services, people are increasingly accessing digital health and wellness services such as content, apps, classes, and consultations
  • Rising mental health concerns are driving adoption of ‘self-care’ practices

A new culture and mindset

The culture surrounding health & wellness is also shifting. Brands now need to support a culture and consumer mindset that places an emphasis on a kinder, more holistic health & wellness journey, rather than a goal and metrics driven end-state. How this manifests looks like the following:

  • Reframe self-care as resilience – unlocking self-confidence and inner strength
  • Set new metrics for success – it’s less about ‘better, faster, stronger’, and more about emotional intelligence, empathy and tenacity
  • Take a more functional approach to performance – it’s not as much about fitness and muscles, and more about movement and stress management
  • Perfection is not the standard – offer a more realistic version of life
  • See technology as the enabler of the journey – not the receptacle for a finite set of goals
  • Promote downtime – help people disconnect and switch off
  • Build a community to connect people – supporting each other on their journey

Health & wellness shopping

Online shopping has grown significantly since the outbreak of COVID-19, with many people making purchases online that they would previously have made on the high street, buying groceries online for the first time, or increasing their usage of Amazon. And it looks like these new habits will be maintained by many as we move forward.

Melody’s COVID-19 tracker study of more than 2000 adults, carried out three times across five months, reveals that UK shopping habits have transformed over the past five months of COVID-19. The big winner is Amazon – the number of people who say they purchase on Amazon more often jumping from 19% in April to 29% in August 2020.

These broader changes can also be seen in health & wellness. According to Kantar TGI data, 75% of UK vitamin and supplement users visited Amazon in the last 7 days, increasing to 88% in the last 4 weeks. Kantar also found the number of people who purchased health & beauty products online (last 6mths) increased from 11.5m to 13m between September’19 and June’20. This now equates to 1 in 4 adults (24.3%).

These new online shopping habits look set to stay. Melody found one in five shoppers (20%) now believe they will maintain new online shopping habits when the pandemic is over, up from the 12% who thought that way five months ago.

These changes in shopping behaviour aren’t limited to younger shoppers, who already had high rates of online shopping pre-COVID-19. According to Kantar the largest increase in people making health & beauty purchases online was seen amongst Baby Boomers: 19.8% (September’19) to 23.6% (June’20). Baby Boomers are also more likely than younger generations to be heavy vitamin and supplement consumers, with 31.6% taking vitamins/supplements at least once a day, compared to 19.9% of Millennials.

Melody’s research found a quarter (25%) of over-55s say they now shop more on Amazon and 18% think they’ll continue to do so when things get back to normal. Even more over-55s (28%) say they now buy items online that previously they’d have purchased on the high street and 22% plan to continue that habit post-pandemic. In fact, over 55s are now the most likely age group to say they will continue to shop online for products previously bought on the high street.

The dramatic shifts in shopper behaviour are being matched by rapid innovation across the digital commerce landscape, where purchase journeys have been shortened by blending digital marketing and ecommerce into one experience. For example, shoppable influencer content and in-app Instagram checkout compresses discovery to purchase to just a few clicks. Voice-based replenishment orders with Alexa and Amazon Prime can be made instantly, and groceries can be delivered in 30mins using Uber Eats for Asda.

Shifts in health & wellness trends and changes in shopping behaviour, that may have taken five years to happen, have been accelerated by COVID-19 and have been compressed into less than 12mths. This combined with innovation in the digital commerce landscape, mean we’re never going back to health & wellness shopping as we knew it.

We recommend health & wellness brands take stock and ask themselves five key questions when reviewing their digital commerce capabilities:

  1. Customer insight: Do you understand the shifts in your customers health & wellness mindsets? Have you mapped their purchase journey(s) this year? Is this being used to enable and help customers on their health & wellness journey?
  2. Review purchase channels: Are you investing in channels and retailers where growth is happening? For example, selling and marketing products aimed at 55+ consumers in the channels they are now shopping, including Amazon and grocery ecommerce.
  3. Emerging digital commerce channels: Are you creating commerce experiences that help customers on their personal health & wellness journey? Are these experiences enabling customers to trial new ways to purchase?
  4. Ecommerce media and content review: Are you using ecommerce media to efficiently acquire and convert customers through search, retailer media and paid social? Are your product pages, A+ content and brand stores assisting search and converting customers?
  5. Data & Analytics: Do you have access to the data analysis, tools and reporting needed to uncover insights that drive growth?

By answering these questions and taking the necessary action, brands will be well placed to grow and make the most of the digital commerce opportunities emerging in the heath & wellness sector.

This article was written by Chris Cooper, Planning Director at Melody agency.

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