How can nutrition and supplement brands effectively reach millennials?
There’s a popular Millennial meme that goes like this: on the left is a picture of a happy couple (your parents) looking at a house. They’re saying, “Let’s buy our first house and start a family.” On the right is a sad-looking Millennial. A doctor says, “Let’s go up on the antidepressants.”
Millennials are a generation struggling with stress. And stress, as everyone knows, negatively affects one’s health. Of the Millennials surveyed in the American Psychological Association’s “2011 Stress in America: Stress and Generations” survey, 76% of Millennials surveyed said they believe that stress has a strong or very strong impact on health.1 Millennials were most stressed about money, work, and housing costs.
But this generation is also knowledgeable about the importance of health and health practices. It’s more likely that a Millennial will listen to music, practice yoga, or meditate to deal with stress than a Boomer or Gen Xer. As Millennials navigate the world following the pandemic, they’re being proactive about their health. Healthy aging is one area where Millennials are focusing.
Millennials and Specific Health Concerns
When it comes to specific health concerns, Millennials are still quite outwardly focused. For instance, beauty is typically the first age-related issue that younger consumers deal with, says Sarah Marion, PhD, director of syndicated research at Murphy Research (California). Brands and manufacturers that focus on appearance-related issues due to aging are likely to get a toehold into Millennials’ consciousness, she states.
Perimenopause is on the horizon for older Millennial women. Marion explains that there’s a more frank and open discussion happening about this change than ever before.
“Similarly, libido, sexual health, and sexual function are more widely discussed and acknowledged,” says Marion, “especially given evidence that more Millennial marriages are characterized as ‘sexless’ and reaching that stage much faster than in previous generations.” This trend, she notes, is likely due to stress, mental health issues, more-intensive parenting expectations, and difficulty balancing work and home life.
Lastly, says Marion, joint health, which often goes along with bone health, is beginning to be a concern as Millennials age.
Which Trends Are Health-Minded Millennials Embracing?
As previously noted, Millennials are more likely to seek out healthy outlets to deal with stress than other generations. Exercise is important to most Millennials. Brands would be wise to tie in benefits specific to this generation’s needs, Marion advises.
“Bone health products, for instance, are an easy fit with maintaining fitness, building muscle, and recovery, all important Millennial needs for both women and men,” she notes. Individuals in the 35-to-44-year age range are most likely to purchase protein powder or fitness supplements, as maintaining muscle mass and bone density will help them with remaining active.
“Similarly, older Millennials are beginning to suffer the effects of age-related vision issues, but eye health products need to speak to Millennials’ specific experiences around this early-stage issue,” Marion notes.
Personalized health products like vitamin services and packs continue to be popular. “Because Millennials take a more tactical approach to supplements than older consumers, taking specific products for specific reasons, vitamin packs are very appealing,” she says. Last year, 26% of Millennial supplement consumers reported taking vitamin packs compared to only 5% of Boomers, she adds.
How Can Manufacturers and Brands Effectively Reach Millennials?
Millennials, like Gen Z, are much more focused on holistic health approaches. “In terms of marketing, this means that Millennials are entering a life stage when they are primed to start thinking about long-term, age-related issues and how to prevent them,” Marion says.
Brands need to have answers for why it’s best to be proactive about issues before they crop up rather than waiting until issues become more serious or problematic. “Saving for retirement or compound interest are good metaphors that resonate with this age group,” she points out. “You can’t control the market, but you do have some control over your health. But, as always for this group, brands also need to back up claims with quality cues and clean ingredient panels.”
While Millennials may be the most stressed generation, they’re also very mindful. Helping them build good coping mechanisms, make healthy choices, and be proactive with their health now will likely set them up for healthier aging later.