As women aged under 30 years have more time and money to spend on themselves as they delay motherhood and pursue careers, investing in preventative health has become a priority. Drawing on results from Euromonitor International’s Global Consumer Trends Survey, this new global report examines young women’s attitudes towards health and fitness, and the opportunities this brings in a range of markets, including weight management, dietary supplements, health and wellness, and sports clothing.
Although only a slow-rising demographic, young women are becoming more economically empowered, due to their increasing tendency to further their education, gain professional employment and delay marriage and starting a family – often until their 30s or 40s.
Euromonitor International’s Global Consumer Trends survey of 2013 found that, on the whole, under30s females perceive themselves to be in good health. 71% rated their health as 8-11 on a scale of 1-11, while just 6% rated their health as 1-4.
French and Brazilian women were most likely to consider themselves to be very healthy, with 41% of French and 40% of Brazilian women under 30 years giving their health a 10 or 11 on the scale.
The Global Consumer Trends survey revealed that taking health supplements is very common among under 30s females. As many as 71% of this group said they take health supplements or vitamins, although a below average 15% take them on a daily basis.
Consumption of health supplements seems to increase with age, as only 67% of females in the younger segment (aged 15-19 years) take them at all, and only 12% of this younger age group takes them daily.
The survey confirmed that young women who smoke are in the minority. As many as 71% of under30s females said they never smoke, compared to 66% of all respondents. The percentage of non-smokers was much higher among the teenage contingent (80%).
Vaping (or e-cigarettes) is becoming increasingly popular among young women all over the world, and is frequently used as a way to quit smoking. The global market for vapour devices is estimated at US$5 billion globally, led by the US and the UK.
Alcohol consumption is common among young women, as they increasingly delay marriage and children in order to live life to the full. In addition, many are joining professions traditionally dominated by men, such as finance, which have a strong drinking culture.
Women still lag some way behind men in terms of sports participation, a factor that has been blamed partly on the lack of women’s sports coverage in the media, and partly on the stigma attached to female sports participation in some societies.
Nevertheless, more women than ever are taking up fitness activities, inspired by social media posts, energetic celebrities, the proliferation of fitness devices and apps, and government and sports companies’ efforts to engage women.
Celebrity and the media are a driving influence on young women’s attitudes towards health and fitness. Health-conscious female role models, such as Kim Kardashian, regularly post so-called “fitspiration” images on social media websites showing themselves working out.
There is an enormous amount of pressure on young women to conform to media ideals of beauty. Bombarded with images of skinny models and celebrities from an early age, girls are conditioned to believe that “thin is beautiful”, and are on a constant mission to lose weight.
At the same time, overweight and obesity have become a major public health issue in many countries. This increases the risk of problems such as diabetes, heart disease, high blood pressure, arthritis, gallstones, certain cancers, sleep apnoea, infertility and depression.
Global sales of dietary supplements amounted to US$51.9 billion in 2014, having jumped by 21% in constant value terms since 2009. The vitamins sector grew at a lower rate of 12% over that period, to US$25.0 billion.
With increased market segmentation, there are a number of multivitamins brands formulated specifically for women – especially pregnancy and beauty supplements. In the UK, some 23% of multivitamins are targeted at women.
Probiotic supplements are also popular, as studies have shown they can help treat ailments such as vaginal yeast infections, UTIs and IBS. Overall, sales in the probiotics category rose by 61% in constant value terms between 2009 and 2014, to US$3.9 billion.
Spas and beauty parlours are benefiting from the growing focus on wellbeing, as they provide young women with a way to relax or spend time with friends. Global spa revenues grew by 7% in constant value terms over the 2009-2014 period, to reach US$59.7 billion.
Spas are going beyond relaxation, beauty and leisure services to offer products such as cosmeceuticals, functional ingredients that have an effect on the body (including anti-ageing ingredients), injectables and detox treatments.
Women’s increased interest in sports and fitness activities, combined with a fashion for wearing athletic gear on an everyday basis, has significantly boosted the market for women’s sportswear. The US women’s sports apparel market grew by 8% in 2014 alone to reach a value of US$19.4 billion.
Nike was a key driver in the US market in 2015, directing its marketing efforts specifically towards women with its “Better for It” initiative. Women now account for a fifth of Nike’s sales, and the company has opened female-specific stores in the US, China and the UK.
Sports nutrition is a fast-growing area, with global sales rising by 52% in constant value terms between 2009 and 2014. Nevertheless, very few sports nutrition products cater to women’s specific nutritional needs.
This is changing, as sports nutrition continues to push further into the mainstream and manufacturers are looking to increase their appeal among non-core users, such as wellness- and fitness-minded women.
Studies show that women who visit gyms are increasingly using supplements, such as protein shakes, to maximise the effectiveness of their workout. These are often endorsed by fitness-minded celebrities, such as the UK’s Active Woman brand, advertised by Melanie Sykes.
An increased interest in nutrition and food origin among younger women has driven the global market for health and wellness products. This trend is apparent mainly in developed markets but also among urban consumers in emerging markets, such as China and India.
With consumers thinking about food in the context of healthy eating rather, than just reducing calories, fortified and functional (FF) products and organic products have performed far better than BFY (better for you) products in recent years.
Other types of fresh food have benefited from the trend towards natural ingredients. The popular Paleo Diet requires followers to eat only naturally occurring food, such as grass produced meat, fish, and fresh fruits and vegetables.
Young women will continue to take a growing interest in their personal health over the forecast period, influenced partly by the increasing amount of health messages and nutritional information targeting them via the media and internet.
The rising number of women delaying motherhood and going into higher education and employment means they will have greater disposable incomes to spend on health and fitness, as well as a growing need to achieve a work-life balance.
Many women will adopt a more holistic view of healthy weight and body image as they realise the need for total nutrition and exercise regime change, rather than relying on “miracle cures”.
In line with the focus on healthiness and nutrition, young women will pay closer attention to food labels and eat more naturally healthy foods.
The future may see more vitamins and dietary supplements formulations developed to appeal to young women, such as those containing B vitamins, vitamin D, calcium, iron, probiotics or female-friendly plant extracts such as evening primrose oil or grapeseed oil.
If you purchase a report that is updated in the next 60 days, we will send you the new edition and data extract FREE! Home Page