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Viewpoint: Capitalizing on the online wellness trend

Meeting the evolving needs of different generations is not an easy task for manufacturers and retailers alike. Younger generations, such as Millennials and Generation Z, tend to be more health conscious than their older counterparts, and increasingly discerning in the products they buy.

Nielsen’s Global Health and Wellness Report shows that 31% of Generation Z and 29% of Millennials are willing to pay a premium for sustainably sourced ingredients, while the Organic Trade Association reveals that U.S. consumers spent $43 billion on organic products last year. It’s no surprise that 75% of categories you find on supermarket shelves have products targeting the wellness segment — and the digital shelf is no exception.

Organic, gluten-free top grocery attributes

Profitero analyzed the importance of wellness products on Amazon.com’s top 100 best-selling lists in September 2016 across key categories such as beauty, baby, candy & chocolate, grocery, dog food, and health & personal care. Our analysis reveals that more than one-third of the best-selling groceries on Amazon.com (35%) are wellness-related products — up from 25% in September 2015 — with “organic” and “gluten-free” the top product attributes.

The dog food category has the highest percentage of healthy products among Amazon’s best-sellers, with 46% of the products in this category claiming to be natural, grain-free and healthy — up from 33% of products in the best-sellers ranking in September 2015.

This fast-growing trend is also prevalent in other categories such as beauty and health and personal care, where the wellness segment accounts for 15% and 10% of products, respectively.

While this trend continues to grow, emerging brands have maximized their advantage online, successfully competing with big brand names that typically rule in brick-and-mortar stores. Brands like Kind and Quest Nutrition have positioned themselves as the best-selling brands in the grocery category on Amazon.com, while ArtNaturals ranks highest among Amazon’s best-selling beauty products. 

How are emerging brands maximizing sales on the digital shelf?

Product content (a product’s images, title and product descriptions) are incredibly important for discoverability — how potential customers actually find a product — and essential for both branded and private label products.

Emerging grocery brands like KIND and Viva Labs are optimizing their product content to drive sales online by focusing on search performance — ensuring their product appears on page one of a retailer’s search results. Key to this is understanding which keywords shoppers are using when searching for products (e.g. organic or gluten-free) and incorporating these keywords into product titles and descriptions. Equally important is customer advocacy: shoppers increasingly trust their peers for guidance on what to buy, and ratings and reviews on ecommerce retailers’ product pages are a source of growing influence.

A new generation of shoppers has ended the paradigm of demanding well-established brands and instead are more focused on the product attributes that align with their lifestyle. Understanding and being able to meet these consumer needs will be a key factor for online retailers and brands to capitalize on the wellness trend and win on the digital shelf.

Jorge Castrejon is a consumer insights specialist at ecommerce analytics provider Profitero where he analyzes the data the company collects from some of the largest eCommerce markets globally. Prior to joining Profitero, Jorge worked for Nielsen in Mexico in its retailer services division.

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