By Denise Herich
Co-founder and Managing Partner at The Benchmarking Company
Once thought of as an alternative or quaint approach to beauty and health, wellness has come a long way since the days when using aloe vera gel, fresh from the plant, on sunburns was the height of ‘wellness’. Today, wellness is a way of living and a category of beauty that stands on its own for consumers everywhere. Sixty-nine percent think an inside-out approach to overall wellness is healthier than taking prescription medicine and 53% agree that eating or drinking an ingestible product offers more powerful benefits than topicals alone. Whether it’s drinking a smoothie before work or using essential oils to heal everyday illness or eating fermented foods and taking probiotics, wellness is here to stay.
Most consumers are embracing wellness
In September 2017, The Benchmarking Company surveyed 5,780 U.S. female beauty buyers in an original study, querying them about their wellness habits, and not surprisingly, the first thing we found out is that most everyone embraces wellness: 82% of beauty consumers say they use wellness products such as essential oils, homeopathic remedies, and probiotics. The number one reasons people are using wellness products? They make me feel healthier and they make me stay healthier (68%) followed by they are better for me (53%) and they help me relax (51%). In other words, consumers believe that wellness products are not only safer for them, but they can help keep people healthier (i.e. ward off the common cold) while at the same time, promote overall better health and reduce stress. That’s an exciting shift from even just ten years ago, when words like probiotics were only just starting to mean something to consumers other than yogurt. Another interesting reason why consumers are using wellness products is that 45% believe they solve problems that conventional products do not solve without drugs (i.e. stomach issues, joint pain, etc.), and 85% expect wellness products to improve their overall health and increase their energy (63%), again keeping with a consumers main desire to both feel and stay healthy.
For 64% of people, a desire to use healthier products is what led them to first try wellness products, followed by 58% wanting to be a healthier person overall, and 46% wanting to start using safer products. Other reasons include a family member or friend recommended it/wellness products (39%), 32% had a specific health issue they were trying to address, such as high blood pressure, and 28% were trying to lose weight.
In the past six months, here are the wellness products people have been purchasing and using:
- Multi-vitamins 76.3%
- Aromatherapy oils 67.3%
- Probiotics 63.1%
- Shakes/smoothies 49.7%
- Inside out/ingestible beauty products (chews, powders, gummies, etc.) 44.4%
- Homeopathic remedies 37.9%
- Fish oils 34.7%
- Green drinks 32.2%
- Minerals 26.3%
- Cool mist humidifier 25.8%
- Fermented beverages (Kefir, KeVita, Kombucha, etc.) 22.9%
- Holistic remedies 21.4%
- Warm mist humidifier 13.3%
- Bone broth 8.8%
Unsurprisingly, many adults use wellness products on their face (53%), but the number one place, or way, wellness products are being used is internally—81% say they ingest wellness products, with another 64% using them on their face, and 42% in their hair. Only 20% are using wellness products on their children, and an even less amount on their child’s face, just 10%. Perhaps because wellness products are mostly ingested and applied to the body, at home (98%) seems to be where wellness products are most often used, followed by at the office (22%) and interestingly, in the car (21%).
What drives wellness product usage?
We already know consumers are choosing wellness products to keep themselves feeling and staying healthy, but we probed deeper to find out what, specifically, drives them to pick up and eat, apply, or use a wellness product. Turns out, they are already a part of her regular, skin/body care routine, and the number one reason she reaches for them. Other reasons support the desire to remain healthy overall, and include having a specific health issue, feeling stressed, or needing more sleep.
When do you use wellness products on yourself?
- As part of my regular daily skin/body care routine 77.5%
- When I have a specific health issue 43.8%
- Whenever I start to feel stressed 47.2%
- When I need to get more sleep 40.3%
- When I want more energy 40%
- Whenever I feel tired 35.9%
- When I have a specific skin issue 28.1%
- When I am working out 13.9%
- When I am going to a special event 9.5%
- Before I travel (preemptive) 13.4%
For consumers with children, usage drivers shift slightly, and focus more on warding off sickness, soothing or eliminating an upset stomach or skin burn, and helping heal a cut or bruise. When do you use wellness products on your children/family?
- I suspect they are getting sick 50%
- When they have an upset tummy 30.6%
- To help them fall asleep 27%
- When they get sunburned 26.3%
- When they get a cut, bruise, etc. 26.2%
- When the seasons change 25%
- When they are tired 20.7%
- One of their siblings is starting to get sick 20.2%
- Before we travel (preemptive) 11%
Not surprisingly, adults tend to use wellness products on a daily basis on themselves far more frequently than they use wellness products on their children or family members. Sixty-four percent of adults say they use wellness products daily, and 26% a few times a week vs. 26% saying they use wellness products daily on their children, and only 17% a few times a week.
What skin and health concerns is she addressing with wellness products?
Consumers see wellness products as a valuable means of helping them take care of their skin on a regular, day-to-day basis. In addition to using wellness products as part of their regular skincare routine for their face (cleanser, moisturizer, etc.), alleviating common skin irritations such as dryness, itching, and sunburn are the leading reasons consumers stock their bathroom cabinets with wellness products. Another big skin problem consumers look to wellness products to address is acne, with 36% of consumers hoping a wellness product will rid them of their acne skin woes.
- Dryness 56.5%
- Regular skin care (face wash, moisturizer, etc.) 55.9%
- Itching 38.8%
- Acne 35.8%
- Sunburn 32.9%
- Cuts 26.2%
- Skin burns (from touching hot pan, curling iron, etc.) 25.9%
- Eczema 21.3%
- Bruises 19.4%
- Rash 19.3%
- Redness 19.2%
- Oiliness 16.9%
- Cellulite 16.2%
- Skin peeling 12.7%
- Diaper rash 11.4%
- Psoriasis 7.7%
- Keratosis Pilaris (chicken skin) 6.5%
And for common health concerns or issues, such as a cold, earache, or upset stomach, again consumers include wellness products as part of their daily routine, with 64% getting their wellness from a daily vitamin/mineral. Other issues being addressed with wellness products include:
- Headache 58.8%
- Digestion 56.3%
- Upset stomach 50.5%
- Common cold 49.1%
- To help me fall asleep 44.3%
- Gut health 44.2%
- Seasonal allergies 42%
- Sore muscles 39.6%
- Nausea 38.5%
- To help me lose weight 29.6%
- Toothache 24.8%
- PMS 23.7%
- To help me control my appetite 21.1%
- Earache 18.8%
- Yeast/Thrush 11.6%
- To help me stay awake 15.1%
In addition to finding out why consumers do use wellness products, we also wanted to find out why they do not, and here’s what we found out. Unsurprisingly, cost is the number one reason: 43% do not use wellness products because they are too expensive, with another 28% saying wellness products are too confusing to use, or they don’t understand the benefit of using wellness products. Twenty-five percent say they don’t know how to use these kinds of products, and another 21% simply don’t think they provide any benefit to themselves, or their families and thus, are not worth the effort. There is also some concern over safety—16% don’t use wellness products because they are not FDA approved, and 4% feel one of the biggest barriers to use at all is trusting that they are safe.
Were non-users to start using wellness products on their skin, 54% would use wellness products as their regular skincare; 47% to treat dryness; and 39% to treat acne. And to treat or address general health concerns, 64% would use wellness products for a headache; 51% to help with weight loss; 45% for an upset stomach, and 42% for the common cold, and to alleviate allergies.
Looking to the future, consumers are interested in technologically savvy and integrated wellness products that again, can help them stay healthy and feel healthy. In particular, devices or apps that make discerning common skin issues easier at home seem to be what consumers want.
- 61% a device/app that could tell me what skin condition I have (i.e. rash, bug bite, etc.)
- 39% a device/app that could tell me if my skin needs more moisture
- 24% A product or app that signals when I have applied enough sunscreen or need additional sunscreen
About the Author:
Based in sun-seared San Diego, Denise Herich is co-founder and managing partner at The Benchmarking Company. The Benchmarking Company provides marketing and strategy professionals in the beauty and personal care industries with need-to-know information about its customers and prospects through custom consumer research studies, focus groups, its annual PinkReport™, and consumer beauty product testing for marketing claims. www.benchmarkingcompany.com.