NEW YORK -- American women are recovering from the economic crisis by prioritizing their own physical and emotional wellness in choices about their spending and brand selection, according to results from a new national consumer survey conducted by Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness, a leading marketing firm specializing in consumer wellness, and Time Inc.'s Health brand. Saatchi Wellness and Health call this trend the "Me-Covery" based on research revealing women are entering a post-recessionary phase where they are focusing on how they feel, re-evaluating old choices, seeking the right kind of support and taking responsibility for creating their own happiness and well-being.
The online survey, which generated nearly 1,000 responses from adult women across the United States, found that although 92% still feel negatively impacted by the economy, 64% are committed to making a positive change and taking better care of themselves by eating right, staying physically fit, looking good to feel good, and having fun. The findings mark a dramatic shift for this consumer group, which reported in a 2009 survey that their primary wellness goals were "holding it together" and "surviving the day."
The survey points to the following trends in consumer behavior:
54% of respondents are buying more healthy food, with 47% choosing to buy organic foods more often, despite the extra expense and continued economic uncertainty.
74% of the people who were most affected by the economy reported they are buying less fast food than in 2009.
48% of respondents are committed to working out more on their own and are getting inspiration and motivation online with music, workout videos and interactive gaming systems.
86% of respondents are doing more online health research on their own (up 47 points from 2009) and 79% now see their doctor regularly (up 21 points).
64% are buying prescription medication (up 16 points from 2009) and 48% are buying more vitamins (up 27 points).
"The 'Me-Covery' indicates a new consumer era has begun and at its core is how people treat themselves," said Ned Russell, managing director of Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness. "Unlike one year ago, when in the grip of the Great Recession consumers defined their own wellness mostly in terms related to economic security, today they're defining wellness through lifestyle choices that have them feeling and looking better. We're seeing a pronounced lifestyle shift that we believe will have longevity."
Emotionally, women are also seeking a healthier balance:
Nearly half of those surveyed are buying more hair-care (47%), skin-care (45%) and oral-care products (51%) to enable them to look good despite life's pressures, and regard "value for money" and "product quality" as the key brand characteristics that influence their purchases.
With 52% of the respondents committed to having more fun, 35% are now considering a vacation and 24% are using products to enhance their sex lives (up 17 points since 2009).
"The 'Me-Covery' is about women taking matters into their own hands and becoming self-empowered to make real changes in the way they live. They're not only being healthier physically, but are living with a healthier, more positive attitude," said Johanna Skilling, Chief Strategy Officer at Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness. "Marketers, in turn, should re-examine the way they are talking to and engaging women during this important and exciting time for female consumers."
"We hear so much about the impact of the economy on consumer behavior and attitudes, and these survey findings are consistent with what we heard from Health readers in focus groups," said Dave Watt, Publisher of Health. "This partnership with Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness enabled us to uncover how the economy impacts the health priorities of women and we believe this groundbreaking research will provide key strategic insights to marketers as they strive to connect with women who are re-investing in their health and wellness."
Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness is a full-service integrated agency dedicated to growing its clients' businesses through wellness. The agency is a three-time winner of the DTC Advertising Agency of the Year Award and a two-time winner of Consumer Campaign of the Year in 2009 and 2010. In 2009, Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness was awarded the first ever Grand CLIO in healthcare for the Ambien CR "Silence Your Rooster" campaign. Saatchi & Saatchi Wellness is a unit of Publicis Healthcare Communications Group, the global leader in healthcare communications.