| Mar 25, 2021

Health and Wellness in the Time of COVID

Staying healthy has become a priority for consumers over the last year, and not just because masking up and social distancing are the new normal. Though the pandemic forced consumers to change their daily behavior for safety’s sake, it also brought about an overall shift in attitude toward greater self-care.

With 74% of the shoppers from our consumer insights panel Numerator surveyed saying they plan to embrace wellness as a lifestyle in 2021, where are health-conscious consumers directing their attention and their dietary dollars? And how can brands and retailers stay in shape while also helping consumers meet their nutrition and fitness goals?

Consumers count on diet and exercise for long-term health benefits

Eating right and working out are still driving factors in how consumers maintain their health. We found 71% of shoppers are currently dieting with 57% doing so in order to manage their well-being and weight. Half of these dieters are also committed to exercising regularly, choosing activities like walking or yoga that can be either done on their own or safely in small groups.

Though millennials continue to make up the majority of dieters, we’re seeing an increase among lower-income, older, and ethnically diverse households over the last year. Additionally, Keto and Intermittent Fasting diets now top gluten-free and vegetarian plans in popularity. This means brands and retailers have an opportunity to engage with new consumers in this category while promoting items that match today’s diet trends.


Dieters boost grocery spend both in-store and online

Although consumers in general are spending more on groceries because of COVID-19, an even greater share of wallet is being captured from dieting households. Food, Mass, and Club channels remain the retailers of choice for consumers seeking out a wide variety of healthy eating options. Kroger is one retailer that has capitalized on this trend by promoting their private label brands more frequently.

However, there’s also been significant growth in online grocery purchases. Consumers as a whole have appreciated the convenience of online shopping during a difficult year and a larger number of households are using this option. There is potential to build even more loyalty in this channel among consumers focused on dieting and staying healthy.


Health and wellness sales surge across the board during COVID

Overall, 42% of consumers have sought out ways to improve their health since the pandemic began. Consumers are spending more on fruits and vegetables in addition to increasing their intake of vitamins. Smart watch manufacturers are taking advantage of the increased focus on health by promoting their activity trackers, which are also experiencing a boost in sales.

For vitamins and supplements specifically, consumers have overwhelmingly turned to online outlets to stock up. In fact, the online marketplace has outpaced every other channel in this category with dieters spending significantly more year over year than all other buyers. Developing a strong omnichannel strategy will be key for brands and retailers going forward in order to capture more health category spend. 


Tapping into the wellness mindset

For consumers, staying healthy has taken on new meaning due to COVID-19. Consumers are much more invested in taking care of themselves long-term and want options to help them meet that objective. 

To better support consumers and gain a greater share of spend across all health categories, retailers need to attract category buyers to their online stores and ensure they have an effortless experience. They’ll also want to consider strategic ways of incorporating health-related items into their advertising. Meanwhile, brands will want to stay up-to-date on wellness trends as well as offer products that appeal to both dieters and non-dieters. 

To learn more about how your brand, category, or store is impacted by changes in consumer behavior due to COVID-19, please contact your Numerator Customer Success Representative or get in touch with us. We’re here to help!