As part of Core’s COVID-19 series, Core Strategy and Research are focusing on key areas of our lives that have been impacted by COVID-19. Core’s study titled Accelerating Change is exploring potential consumer behaviour change – asking will COVID-19 impact our behaviour into the future, or will things return “to a new normal.” In this extract, Strategic Planner, Hilary O’Leary, outlines one of the themes – Food & Fitness.
Every January, my colleagues in Core Research interview people about their health intentions for the year ahead. For the past five years, it has proven to provide a positive story about the health of the nation. Naomi Staff, Managing Director of Core Research describes how they segment the adult population.
“We focus on three areas of health – food, fitness and well-being. From this, we can segment the country into five groups. The most active and engaged groups account for the majority of the population. 55% of people tell us they monitor their diets and also exercise at least once a week. In fact, nearly one in five of us (17%) say they exercise daily.”
According to the 2020 research, this group is also more likely to manage their mental health and report a positive well-being. Demographically, this Active Foodies group is not significantly skewed to any one profile, but instead represents an approach to health which a modern Ireland has adopted – a holistic view of regular exercise, a healthy balanced diet and a consideration for their mental health.
This holistic, practical approach has in many ways prepared us for the necessary response to controlling the outbreak of COVID-19 and managing ourselves during these challenging times. With this strong level of engagement with personal health, at Core, we are observing what impact, if any, COVID-19 will have on the personal health management.
69% are doing the same amount or more exercise.
As the country began to stay at home, Core Research asked 1,000 people about their behaviours and whether they were doing more, less or the same amount of various activities. In terms of food and diet, 50% of people are cooking and baking more, particularly families. This is also reflective in online searches and content people are reading on websites.
In terms of fitness, there were initial concerns that a ‘lockdown’ would have a significant impact on our ability to exercise, based on how other countries such as Italy and Spain had to introduce measures. However, public health experts and the Government have always advised people under 70 to remain active at home, and for everyone else to get daily exercise within 2km of their home.
The public have taken on the advice with 35% of adults saying they are doing the same amount of exercise as they did before COVID-19, while 33% are saying they are doing more exercise. Just over a quarter of adults (26%) say they are doing less, and this is skewed towards people living in Dublin. Young Families and Young Adults (under 40s) living on the Leinster commuter belt, and in Munster and along the west coast are saying they are doing more exercise than they usually do. With no daily commutes, there is now time to get active.
Personal Health Management beyond COVID-19
During this period of increased concern about the health of our own family and of our communities, people are continuing to proactively manage their health. This is not a sudden change because of the COVID-19 outbreak, but when we return to some of the findings in the Core Research Health 2020 report, there might be some indications of how we manage our health in the future.
The research asked people about how interested would people be in using technology to manage their personal health. 66% of people are interested in fitness trackers – highlighting the growth in usage across all age groups and 64% would be interested in tech which analysed their health and predicted illness. While in recent weeks there has been an increase in online yoga, meditation and fitness videos such as Joe Wicks, only 32% said they would be interested in a subscription to a fitness instructor via video link.
As part of this on-going series, collaborating with Core Research, we will be observing and tracking any potential changes in how people research, practice and monitor their personal health. Most importantly we will want to understand the impact COVID-19 will have on peoples attitude to their holistic well-being. We will observe if attitudes in exercising at home via tech has changed. How have people adapted their physical health habits? After living with anxiety and uncertainty for many months and coping with social distancing, will people place more value on their mental health? Will people have a new level of resilience and determination to look after themselves and their family?
This understanding will inform how we develop future plans for brands that want to connect with the majority of the population who are engaged with a healthy lifestyle and maintaining their well-being.
Understanding the health and well-being habits of the population will be important to many brands who have a role in this space.
If you would like to find out more on the health habits of the nation to help inform the next steps in your marketing strategy and planning, please get in touch.
For more information about Core’s COVID-19 series, see www.onecore.ie/covid