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Study Reveals Trends of Wellness ‘Superusers’

NEW YORK — Just 26% of the population accounts for more than 61% of spending on health and wellness products, according to a study by AlixPartners here.

Such “superusers” spend four times per month more than the average consumer on health and wellness products but can be challenging to target as their willingness to pay more for product attributes tends to vary widely and they often shop in unexpected channels, Alix said.

The study found that superusers allocate more than four times as much of their monthly health and wellness-related expenditures on fresh fruits and vegetables ($81.93 vs. $19.12), more than three-and-a-half times as much on fresh meat and seafood ($56.01 vs. $15.58) and more than five times as much on dairy products ($31.15 vs. $5.65).


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However, it also finds that superusers on average spend almost seven times as much on prepackaged foods ($18.70 vs. just $2.70); over five times as much on frozen foods ($16.34 vs. $2.90); almost five times as much on non-alcoholic beverages ($12.99 vs. $2.75); almost five times as much on prepared/ready-to-eat foods ($10.50 vs. $2.11) and over five times as much on snack foods ($8.50 vs. $1.61).

The study found that superusers were willing to pay more for products with certain characteristics than others. For example, just 2% said they would pay greater than 10% more for gluten-free items, vs. 15% who said they would pay 10% more for locally sourced products.

Supermarkets are capturing no less than 43% of superusers’ health and wellness spending, the study added, noting that was a higher percentage than mass retailers (17%), club stores (12%) and large health-food stores like Whole Foods (16%). In dollar terms, that equates to superuser spending on health and wellness products of $101.94 per month at traditional grocers, $39.37 at mass retailers, $38.51 at large health food stores and $29.04 at club stores, Alix said.

However, supermarket channel health and wellness shoppers tend to skew older, with shoppers 48 to 66 years old spending 47% of their health and wellness budget in that channel. By comparison, shoppers aged 18-24 purchase only 31% of their health and wellness products from traditional grocers.

“These trends point to continued pressure on traditional grocers and highlight the channel diversification of health and wellness spending,” said Richard Vitaro, a director in AlixPartners’ consumer products practice. “At the same time, large health food stores are attracting more than their overall market share of superusers as well as Millennials.”

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