The Millennial and Baby Boomer divide is a narrow one when it comes to thinking about health, but the way these groups think about solutions is far different, according to number crunchers at inVentive Health’s agencies Allidura Consumer and GSW, and the Harris Poll. The result is that brands that want to convey health messages to this younger age group are going to have to find new ways to do it, and understanding their fears and navigation paths are essential to providing solutions.
The survey included responses from Millennial teens and adults (ages 13 through 32), Gen-Xers (ages 33 to 49) and Baby Boomers (ages 50 through 68).
Two things to note: Millennials want to be healthy, and they do not trust the traditional go-tos for solutions.
Among the health-seeking behaviors that mark the younger age group are a willingness to change behaviors, while at the same time they do not seem to be satisfied. Forty-nine percent of Millennials, for example, said they’d tried extreme fitness regimens including P90X, and double-digit percentages said they are willing to eat their way to better health, yet only 48% said they feel healthy. Doctors are not necessarily the answer, since Millennials tend to consider traditional healthcare, “sick care,” and are pursuing behaviors like all-natural diets to keep themselves from tipping into the not-healthy category.
This is despite valuing information from a perceived authority such as Dr. Oz, while also being dismissive of celebrity-touted health information. This may be a fine distinction for skeptics, but the interplay of consumer-friendly information sources and authority feed directly into the fusion of health and accessibility that Millennials look for in products.
Allidura and GSW say products that will succeed are ones that tap the social aspect Millennials crave and rely on, as exemplified by favorite brands including Google and YouTube, and accessible and clever, like the Sanofi glucose monitor that “snaps right into an iPhone or Nike’s Training club, packed with personalized workouts.”
Technology and information are solutions, but not in and of themselves, and the findings indicate that although Millennials are accustomed to seeking out health information, they need “brands that can help them understand what’s normal and create solutions that benefit them.” The reason is that Millennials tend to get thrown off course by the information they are gathering and comparing to a greater extent than Gen-Xers and Baby Boomers: 37% of Millennials reported diagnosing themselves incorrectly based on online information, compared to 26% of Xers and 24% of Boomers.
Allidura and GSW also say that as social as Millennials are—84% will take a friends’ or family member’s advice over a professionals—they want tools, and think more in terms of what can help them be healthy as opposed to who can offer healthful advice and information.