How retailers can turn the healthy trend into healthier profits

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How retailers can turn the healthy trend into healthier profits


A new IRI report on the burgeoning $400 billion health and wellness industry details eight distinct consumer profiles that manufacturers and retailers can target. 

“Fueled by rising health care costs and economic uncertainty, Americans are taking health and wellness into their own hands,” said Robert J. Sanders, executive vice president and Health Care Practice leader for IRI. “IRI’s groundbreaking research shows self-care consumers view traditionally discrete categories, such as food, OTC drugs, vitamins, supplements and personal care, as more complementary in achieving their health goals. Blurred category lines and a larger competitive landscape present difficulties for marketers who don’t have a clear picture of the motivations, values and behaviors of their customers.”

Health and wellness, or as IRI calls it, "self-care," is a pervasive and growing consumer lifestyle, characterized by the increasingly holistic approach today’s shoppers take toward optimizing their health. IRI has found that self-care purchase behavior varies considerably based on an individual’s demographics, motivation for self-care, and attitude toward food, exercise, over-the-counter (OTC) medications, nutritional products, personal care/beauty products, home care products, doctor recommendations and technology — creating tremendous opportunities for retailers across multiple categories to cater to consumers’ distinct self-care perspectives. 

“Given the multiple facets of an individual’s health that shape their decisions about self-care, personalized consumer targeting is essential,” said Robert I. Tomei, president of Consumer & Shopper Marketing for IRI. “IRI’s new segmentation provides the only deeply personalized framework — combining attitudinal, behavioral and demographic information along with IRI’s extensive shopper data. Armed with this new understanding, IRI can help companies develop targeted activation plans to realize the greatest return on their marketing spend.”

IRI’s research revealed the following eight self-care consumer segments:

  • Proactive Naturalists: Take proactive measures to keep fit, manage stress and maintain a balanced lifestyle. They are young and affluent and look for products that offer natural or organic ingredients. (12 percent of consumers)
  • Active Health Managers: Focused on minimizing health care costs, they are quick to treat themselves and their families with OTC medications recommended by trusted websites when health issues arise to avoid costly trips to the doctor. (8 percent of consumers)
  • Awakened and Dedicated: Experienced health scares that drove them to focus diligently on their health. They are middle-aged and spend heavily on consumer health care products despite being in a lower-income bracket. (11 percent of consumers)
  • Unconcerned Realists: Take a “wait and see” approach to their health, preferring to treat minor, infrequent ailments with OTC medicines to minimize trips to the doctor. (9 percent of consumers)
  • Healthy Passives: Unmotivated to engage with self-care. They feel calm about their ability to care for their health and tend not to spend much on OTC medicines. (20 percent of consumers) 
  • Preventive Moderates: Proactive about staying fit as they age. They spend heavily on vitamins and supplements and take prescription drugs when needed, but take a relaxed approach to their eating and exercise habits. (13 percent of consumers)
  • Advice Seekers: Require the frequent reassurance of a doctor, finding it difficult to manage their health problems on their own. Now of retirement age, they feel prescription medicines are the most effective way to stay well. (15 percent of consumers) 
  • Doctor, Doctor!: Impacted by the negative effects of aging, they react to myriad health issues using vitamins, OTC medicines and prescription drugs, in frequent consultation with their doctors, and focus on managing their weight. (12 percent of consumers)


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