A survey finds that a growing number of consumers factor health – theirs and their community’s – into their buying decisions.
It’s called the Think Report and it was commissioned by Clarity Coverdale Fury, the Minneapolis advertising and marketing agency, to determine the attitudes of Americans on lifestyle decisions, including health and wellness issues.
Conducted by Mintel, the $30,000 study determined that Americans have reached “the tipping point” where health, wellness and associated concerns are shared by an ever growing number of people who now make lifestyle decisions while considering the impact on themselves, their families and the greater good of the community.
The survey found that more and more consumers participate in physical activities, maintain healthy diets and follow eco-friendly practices.
The study found that 79 percent of respondents are concerned about health care, 69 percent consider reliable food sources critical and 66 percent list water conservation as a concern.
And three of four surveyed said they purchase organic food while 53 percent said they want easy access to mass transportation and 24 percent perform yoga as a form of exercise.
Clarity Coverdale Fury’s Rob Rankin sat down with the Star Tribune last week to discuss the Think Report and its implications for marketing and consumption in the future.
Q: Why did you commission this study?
A: We were looking for an area to focus on, topics to cover, things we could tell that consumers are expecting. We wanted to get ahead of that. We interviewed 2,000 adults and asked them what they are concerned about today. We focused on health and wellness and where most would want to live. We found that people were concerned about health care and terrorism and global warming. From a community standpoint, we asked what kind of attributes they were looking for in their next move and found interest in walkability, access to a farmers market, access to public transportation, community-sponsored agriculture.
Q: Who is the conscious consumer?
A: We asked what motivates them from a social standpoint and from a health and wellness standpoint. The segments ranged from those who don’t care to groups in the middle who try to participate to the diehards who are practicing yoga and eating healthier. These are people who consider others when they purchase products and how that affects the community. It’s about buying Toms Shoes vs. another brand of shoes because they know Toms Shoes will donate a pair elsewhere in the world under a “buy one-give one” philosophy. Among the millennial set, this is very important.
Q: Is there a certain demographic that makes up the conscious consumer?
A: What’s significant is that there is no significance. We expected the Portland-San Francisco-Washington-Seattle-Austin, Texas, areas to score higher, but it didn’t skew that way. The Pacific Northwest, the Midwest and parts of Texas had a slightly higher index. We found that 24 percent of adults now participate in yoga. That’s 60 million people. That’s mainstream. Yoga is no longer a niche. Charity runs are no longer a niche. Whole Foods is no longer a niche — 66 percent said they shopped there. That’s a message to Target and Kroger and Stop & Shop. What is their strategy?
Q: With whom are you sharing this information?
A: The information is public. It’s available on our website. It’s intended to be used by everyone. It provides an informed perspective on the world. We leverage it in our blog posts consistently. It also allows us to influence our conversations with our current customers. Chopin Vodka is a client of ours, for example, whose target is the emerging male. The message is to encourage the emerging male to detach, call a timeout and, instead of staring at your phone, walk across the room and say hi to that girl. Big companies are taking a look and saying who’s got the model for the conscious consumer. Kashi [the health food] is now owned by Kellogg’s. Honest Tea was bought by Coca-Cola. Life Time Fitness offers yoga classes where people meet new people and get coaching. Brands that offer coaching are more likely to see repeat customers and ultimately affinity.
Q: When did the conscious consumer reach “the tipping point” in terms of being mainstream America?
A: In the last 18 months or so. When we started this a year-and-a-half ago, we thought we saw inertia here, but didn’t realize it would be that strong. We see it in research outside of our study. The notion of no GMOs is part of the conversation. The need for companies to be honest with consumers has increased significantly.
Q: Where do you go next with this information:
A: We’ll start a second study in March. Seventy or 80 percent of the responses will be identical, but we will be able to see what things have gone up and what things have gone down. The first study was a baseline. Now we can look at longitudinal changes. We’ll also invite guest bloggers who specialize in various issues like mass transit. We’ll speak at conferences. We’ll use the information in business development opportunities. It gives us a different perspective.
David Phelps • 612-673-7269