Health-conscious shoppers a valuable market
Research by The Nielsen Company and the Natural Marketing Institute has shown that the health consciousness of consumers is directly reflected in their purchasing habits.
The research divided US shoppers into five categories, which Nielsen defines as follows:
- “WELL BEINGS”® (19%)—the most health-proactive group; market leaders and influencers whose actions are driven by values. They eat more organics, consume modest amounts of supplements and pursue many different health modalities.
- “FOOD ACTIVES”® (18%)—more mainstream in their health pursuits, this group strives for moderation in their lifestyle and prefers food that is inherently healthy vs. organics or supplements. Seeking a life balance includes balancing the budget for this price-sensitive segment.
- “MAGIC BULLETS“® (24%)—consumers who hope supplements, Rx and pills will help them reach health goals. More into health management than prevention. Least likely to cook at home or exercise.
- “FENCE SITTERS”® (17%)—stressed out, but seeking control. They dabble in the latest exercise kick and actively pursue weight loss goals. Receptive to eco-friendly appeals and reliant on social media.
- “EAT, DRINK & BE MERRYS”® (22%)—younger shoppers who crave taste and pinch pennies. No concerns here about prevention, making them the least health-active group.
The first three ‘health-oriented’ groups are generally more food-conscious, making more shopping trips and spending more on food. They are less likely to visit mass merchandisers and convenience stores than their counterparts, preferring glossy produce sections, extra customer service, samples and in-store health promotion activities. They make (and try to stick to) shopping lists and plan meals using cookbooks, TV and online sources for their recipes.
By contrast, the last two groups make more impulse purchases, avoid shopping lists, purchase more high-calorie low-nutrient foods and pre-prepared meals, and despite spending similar amounts per trip, make less shopping trips overall.
Health-oriented groups are described as generally educated, “thought leaders and trend setters” and “a high-value segment with big spending habits, particularly in better-for-you categories” whose attention can be captured using coupons and healthy or gourmet promotions.
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