Global consumers ranked mental wellbeing as their top health concern in 2021.
In a recent Euromonitor International webinar, the firms’ analysts revealed the results of global consumer surveys looking into how the pandemic has impacted consumer perceptions and purchasing habits relating to health, nutrition, and supplements.
In its COVID-19 Voice of the Industry survey (April/July/Oct 2020), consumers were asked how they think shopping and spending habits will change because of the pandemic. The consensus was that interest in health and wellness related products (of which vitamins and supplements are amongst the most prominent) will have considerable staying power.
“I think this expectation is intuitive and I think OTC companies should take note,” commented Matt Oster, head of consumer health at Euromonitor.
“Among these tendencies are the shift towards prevention and immunity focused products and the larger focus remains on immunity in 2021, the more likely it is these will remain a permanent interest in the future.”
The global pandemic also impacted where people were able to get information from and, as such, Euromonitor surveys revealed a shift in the trust consumers will place in digital information sources.
In 2020 and 2021, the firm asked consumers to rank various health information sources in terms of their trustworthiness and found that while health experts remained in the top three spots across both years, ‘friends and family’ and ‘fitness trainer or coach’ dropped down the rankings, presumably because consumers were less likely to use these sources during lockdown.
In 2021, consumers became more comfortable with using the internet to learn about health. 42 percent of respondents said they were ‘very’ or ‘extremely’ comfortable to consult a therapist online or via an app.
Oster noted that consumer interest and engagement with digital health solutions is a big opportunity for health and nutrition companies and it will inevitably lead to more investments and acquisitions in this space.
What does ‘being health’ mean to consumers?
‘Mental wellbeing’ came out as the top concern when consumers were asked what being healthy meant to them with 64% of respondents choosing it. This was closely followed by ‘having a healthy immune system’ (63%), ‘feeling good’ (59%), and ‘getting enough sleep’ (also 59%).
‘Absence of disease’ was chosen by 57% of respondents followed by ‘emotional wellbeing’ and ‘maintaining a healthy weight’ (both 55%).
These results are in keeping with the reported increase in demand for holistic health. Stress is a factor that consumers across the globe have rated as a critical concern and Euromonitor’s survey revealed that 57% of global respondents suffered from at least moderate levels of stress.
Oster commented that this is being met with a rise in the number of respondents who are dissatisfied with products for stress reduction, suggesting an opportunity for innovation.
“A major by-product of the move towards prevention and supplementation is the increasingly strident demand for transparency and trust in ingredients most forcibly in the demand for natural products,” he said.