Generation X is re-defining what it means to be middle-aged. With a mindset that’s decidedly younger than its chronological age, this generation may be still raising young families and plan to stay in the workforce longer than their predecessors. To do so, they’re taking out a little “health insurance” in the form of healthy eating, regular exercise, and routine medical screenings. Although they may approach life with a youthful vigor, many still struggle with some of the inevitable challenges that middle age brings such as weight gain, menopause, and hypertension.
The Middle 20 is the New Freshman 15
Although more than half of Gen X’ers say they follow healthy habits most of the time, almost a third say they struggle with weight, making it their number one health issue. It’s well established that as people age, a slower metabolism and muscle loss may make burning calories more difficult; this generation may still be in denial about those lifestage changes and prone to fall back into old habits of overindulgence. But the effects of excess weight can contribute to other health issues down the road, including hypertension and heart disease. Finding the balance between healthy behaviors and indulging is something nearly half of middle-aged adults identify with. Brands can help by offering health and wellness tips that emphasize and encourage healthy behaviors.
Let’s Talk About Menopause
Once a taboo subject, 77% of middle-aged women say they feel comfortable talking about menopause and view it as a rite of passage. During this transitional time, women may experience a number of unpleasant side effects, including hot flashes, night sweats, memory issues, hair thinning, and weight gain, yet only 22% of women say they are currently using any products to alleviate these symptoms which can last up to seven years. Other than herbal supplements, there are few products on the market that directly address these issues suggesting there’s room for innovation in this space. Because most women are comfortable discussing the topic, there’s an opportunity for marketers to start the conversation and offer interesting product innovations around menopause.
The Health Mindset Affects Spending
Gen X’ers are willing to spend now to stay well later. Sixty-nine percent of Gen X women and 60% of men express interest in products to improve their health. More than half of these consumers say they take a supplement to address a specific nutritional deficiency, 59% take supplements for general wellness, and 56% eat functional foods. Although few middle-aged consumers say they follow health trends, 28% of Gen X women say they buy natural health products. Interestingly, 66% of Gen X’ers say they participate in self-care to improve their wellbeing; this can include anything from finding more time to do the things they enjoy and feel passionate about to indulging in a bubble bath. Positioning health care as self-care may shift the mindset of these consumers and more actively engage them in the process.
Middle-age is often a wake-up call that results in the adoption of a healthier lifestyle. Marketers who help consumers adapt to the changes they’re experiencing and offer solutions for long-term wellbeing, can engage and inspire this consumer. Women’s Marketing offers a suite of marketing services aimed at reaching consumers when and where they are most open to your message. Contact us today to get started.
Source: Mintel Middle Adulthood and Health December 2017