2016: The End of the Health & Wellness Generation Gap

“Much has been made of the massive generational impact of Millennials and Baby Boomers – mainly focusing on their differences – but when it comes to health they have more in common than meets the eye,” observes Susan Manber, EVP, Brand Planning & Strategy. “Never has there been a more health-focused generation than Millennials raised on a diet of organic vegetables and social transparency, while aging Baby Boomers are motivated to stay healthy and are getting smarter about it.”

At Digitas Health LifeBrands, we are tracking three trends that fuel this movement.

“Can’t fool ME!”  With access to more health and wellness information than ever before, all age groups are becoming more astute about sifting out the good from the bad, creating an imperative for a new level of transparency for brand marketers.

The costs of unhealthy habits are hitting home. Incentives for healthy choices are aligning with the cost of unhealthy choices, and consumer brands want to get on the right side of this conversation. The evening news is flooded with announcements of product introductions, formula changes and marketing initiatives from the likes of Nestle, Kraft, Kellogg and Dannon. Consumer brands in a wide variety of industries are undergoing changes with an eye on healthier families, offering consumers health and fitness choices, and taking center stage to contribute to the battle for consumer dollars and appetites.

Brands need to interact with consumers in innovative ways. Michael Leis, SVP, Social Strategy, has been analyzing the demographics of how consumers want to receive health and wellness information. “Gen X and younger expect to get all of the information and have it come to them in the place where they are, whether that’s mobile, apps, or even social media,” he says. “On the other hand, older consumers (55+) have told us they want just the opposite. They don’t want all the info brought to them; they prefer a curated collection of what’s valuable to them presented by an expert, accompanied by a link to in-depth info.”

We predict that health care marketing in 2016 will focus on generational diversity rather than generational divisions, as we seek to communicate in ways that motivate all ages to better health outcomes.