Trends consumer product research Prevention Healthcare Wellbeing

Prevention and Wellbeing will become the largest source of U.S. healthcare spending by 2040

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Lauren McCabe

 

I’m Lauren, the Brand Strategy Manager at MDRG. One of the trends that I have been tracking is the rise of consumerism in healthcare, and its far-reaching impact on industries, from hospitals systems to consumer packed goods. 

 

My mother, a zestful baby boomer, has experienced a health issue – fatigue.    

After undergoing a full workup, her labs revealed a healthy female with no treatable conditions. Her provider sent a cheery message on her patient portal –"all is well!" -- and sent her on her way.  

Unconvinced, she began experimenting with solutions spanning categories: supplements, a wearable health monitoring device, online visits with a functional health provider. 

I soon realized she was part of a movement: the shift in consumer attention from lifespan, the volume of years lived, to health span, the quality of years lived.  

According to Deloitte, by 2040, the majority (60%) of U.S. healthcare spending will be dedicated to prevention and wellbeing, a dramatic shift from 2019 when treatments accounted for 80% of America’s healthcare spend.  

What’s more, as consumers become more engaged with their health, they are seeking incremental improvements to wellbeing, and they’re searching for solutions across categories. 

Organizations seeking a competitive advantage will look for ways to position their brands around wellness, even if they haven't in the past. 

Here are a few questions to begin asking yourself as you prepare your brand for this shift in consumer spending. 

1. How can your brand’s products enhance consumers' wellbeing?  

A simple way that brands have started to seize the wellness trend is by elevating product benefits that improve health in small, actionable ways. 

A good example of this can be found in smart home technology. What started as a category focused on convenience is now positioning itself as a tool for wellness. 

For example, in-home devices not only adjust lighting automatically (how convenient), but they also adjust lighting to match the consumers' personal circadian rhythms (leading to better sleep and health). 

Key Takeaway: As wellness continues to influence consumer spending, even small shifts in product messaging can impact purchase decisions. Spotlight product benefits that impact consumers wellbeing in small, actionable ways.  

2. How can your brand enter the wellness conversation in fresh, creative ways? 

Not every brand has an obvious connection to wellness. 

Yet, as consumers broaden their definition of what wellbeing means – it now includes both physical and emotional health -  brands are finding unique ways to position themselves in the conversation. 

One of the most striking examples of non-traditional players in this space can be found in the alcohol category. 

Dry Farms Wines positions their low-alcohol blends as a mindful ritual that won't thwart your healthy activities the next morning. 

While they tout their wines as organic and pure, their brand focuses on emotional wellbeing, with an emphasis on the joy that comes with enjoying wine with friends. 

While they don’t go as far as to purport wine is good for your physical health, they paint a fuller picture of what it means to find balance, both physically and emotionally. 

Key Takeaway: Consumers have broadened their definition of wellness to include both emotional and physical health. Now, more than ever, brands have space to creatively contribute to this conversation. How can your brand acknowledge this emotional wellness? Where can it add value?

 

3. How can your brand empower consumers to make healthier choices? 

The pursuit of wellbeing is reaching pastime status, with consumers across ages increasingly investing time and resources in researching healthy solutions. How can your brand help them in this process? 

As consumerism becomes a driving force in healthcare, hospitals are positioning their brands as resources for prevention and wellness finding ways to engage patients before they become sick. 

Take, for example, Ochsner Health (a client of MDRG’s), which now offers seven weekly newsletters themed to match consumers’ interests in wellbeing. One weekly digest, Skin Deep, features topics that range from beauty products to sun safety, vetted by healthcare providers. 

These educational resources position both the healthcare system and their providers as experts in wellbeing, both factors that drive consumer choice when they do need care. 

Key Takeaway: The pursuit of wellbeing is becoming a pastime for consumers of all ages. How can your brand offer educational content that empowers them to be a co-pilot in their health? How can your brand showcase expertise in this area? 

While change in consumer healthcare spending is still in its early phase, the shift in consumer attention to health span is well underway. 

Organizations seeking a competitive advantage will look for ways to empower incremental health improvements and creatively engage consumers in the pursuit of wellbeing. 

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