Jennifer White Boehm is the Associate Director of Financial Services. She focuses on financial services reports after previously working on Mintel Comperemedia’s Research Consultancy team.
Women have been stretched especially thin amid the pandemic, saddled with the responsibility of caring for family and work obligations, while also looking out for their own personal wellness. Two years into the global health crisis, Mintel’s 36-market global consumer survey finds women more likely than men to carry health-related worries.
Brands have an opportunity within the wellness space to target those female consumers, especially in changing times. A growing number of women and girls are working to bring attention to issues of inequality and help to close the gaps that still exist. For marketers, this translates to a huge opportunity to support these efforts. Moreover, there’s plenty of demand for products, services, and even corporate policies that help level the playing field. Consumers are also doing their own research, meaning that brands that can keep their offerings front and center in online searches and social sharing will have a strong chance of catching attention, and being included in the consideration set. Given this self-sleuthing, arming consumers will have the tools to understand how their products work will be key to standing apart.
Women’s wellness brands that can step in to ease many of these worries by providing clear, convenient solutions to health issues will be welcomed. Beyond that, granting women permission to consider their own personal needs, and put themselves first in order to take better care of the needs of others will resonate.
Here are three things brands can do to reach those female consumers:
1. There’s a large opportunity for brands to target diverse audiences
There is opportunity for brands to target diverse audiences, including Black women and LGBTQ+ consumers.
Shoppers who identify as LGBTQ+ are a core consumer group in the wellness space, being more likely than average to report a host of health issues. While representation is important to this group, brands must be aware not to pander. While half of US adults who identify as LGBTQ+ think it’s important that the brands they use support LGBTQ+ communities, 55% think brands are simply trying to pander to them. A truly authentic form of support can come from simply meeting needs.
Brands focused on meeting the needs of those on the maternal journey have a significant opportunity audience in consumers who identify as LGBTQ+. In addition to being more likely than average to be trying to conceive a child, they are three times as likely to be pregnant, and twice as likely to have had a child within the past year. Brands that can expand the view of maternity to include and welcome LGBTQ+ parents and parents-to-be will meet a currently unmet need.
With a mission to “advance legal and lived equality for LGBTQ families, and for those who wish to form them, through building community, changing hearts and minds, and driving policy change,” New York-based non-profit Family Equality provides resources, from educating those starting the family formation journey to offering grants to help offset the costs of reproductive technology and adoption. Brands that can support the efforts of organizations such as this will fill a need, expand exposure, and spur goodwill among this underserved audience.
To appeal to Black consumers, brands will need to create personalized recommendations. A third of Black respondents choose wellness products aimed at their individual health needs, making it the third leading factor of importance among this group. Brands aiming at Black users must align the product and its messaging efforts to appear to speak directly to this user.
Black interior designer Nicole Crowder launched a furniture collection in collaboration with World Market, encouraging Black women to rest and prioritize their wellbeing. Each piece of the collection, which includes a loveseat, chaise, chair, bench, storage ottoman, and dining chairs, is named after women from whom Crowder finds inspiration and support.
2. Convenience outranks professional recommendations
Women are savvy shoppers, able to do the research, and multi-taskers. They are often taking care of the demands of work, home, and family, on top of their own personal concerns. As such, they are most in need of brands that make things easy for them, including being easy to use, easy to acquire, and easy to understand. Professional recommendations can also appear as a shortcut, to round out the top tier of purchase influencers.
While convenience is a must-have, brands have a means of differentiating themselves through a second tier of purchase influencers, which includes qualities that indicate understanding women and their personal interests and needs, including natural and recognizable materials/ingredients, peer recommendations, and personalized products.
Brands must continue to note the ever-waning relevance of a one-size-fits-all approach. The Individuality Pillar of Mintel Trend Driver Identity emphasizes that consumers are comfortable expressing themselves and expect brands to meet and express their unique demands. An array of concerns women have with healthcare were unique to the individual and revolved around the specific and personal situation of each respondent, from medication allergies to diabetes to low sex drive to challenges with staying fit, no two responses mirrored each other. And while personalized health is not accessible by many mainstream brands or healthcare providers, getting as close to that as possible, through targeted messaging and product lines that cater to the needs of the individual, will find appeal.
Hair growth supplement brand Nutrafol puts customization front and center, offering users a quiz to determine which products will be best suited for their individual hair situation. This sort of guided classification of consumers allows a brand to have a wide brand range, to garner wide appeal, as well as a built-in mechanism to help consumers navigate which of the wide range to choose.
3. Expanded education can help broaden awareness, acceptance, and care
There are varied comfort levels discussing women’ health, with comfort levels generally increasing with age. Women are generally less comfortable discussing topics with men. Any level of discomfort with these topic areas could impact women’s willingness to seek assistance when issues arise, suggesting that breaking down taboos can contribute to breaking down barriers to support.
Reproductive healthcare non-profit Planned Parenthood provides resources for individuals to advocate for sex education at home, in their community, or at the state and federal level. Women’s wellness brands may garner goodwill by supporting and sponsoring existing education efforts such as these.
What we think
Convenience is key in women’s wellness
Women are savvy shoppers, plugged in to trends and able to do the research. They are multi-taskers, often taking care of the demands of work, home, and family, on top of their own personal concerns. As such, they are most in need of brands that make things easy, including being easy to use, easy to acquire, and easy to understand. While convenience is a must-have, brands can differentiate themselves through a second tier of purchase influencers: understanding women and their personal interests and needs, including natural and recognizable materials/ingredients, peer recommendations, and personalized products.
There is opportunity to target diverse female audiences
Brands that can expand their views of maternity and wellness to include underserved consumers have a chance to address needs that are currently unmet. Both LGBTQ+ parents-to-be and black women have traditionally been neglected in the wellness space and on their maternity journeys; brands have an opportunity to ease consumer frustrations and tap into expanding markets where demand is real.
There’s a need for stronger women’s health education
Brands that can serve as guides and educators on topics related to women’s health will resonate. Beyond selling their own wares, brands can consider taking a holistic approach to health and health education, given that half of respondents indicate the role lifestyle habits play in managing health. Brands can explain how their products complement, supplement, and augment lifestyle habits to help in achieving end goals. Such an approach can help brands appear as helpers and not just sellers, which will be especially important to a savvy female audience that is hyper-aware of being sold to.