Consumer Healthy Habits: Vitamins


Health and wellness are ever-present, but they’re under an even brighter spotlight thanks to the pandemic. This four-part series examines the top ways consumers manage their health. It connects broad research findings to search trend analysis to better understand the consumer mindset and intent in our digital-first world.

Explore other topics in the series: OTC  |  EXERCISE  |  DIET & NUTRITION

A walk down the aisle at a pharmacy may leave you thinking there are hundreds of types of vitamins. The truth? There are only 13 vitamins. The rest are different types of minerals and supplements. So, who is taking vitamins? Does it vary by age? And where are there even more opportunities in this segment? Let’s take a look.

Usage varies by generation

Vitamins constitute one of the key ways that people are taking control of their health today. The percentage of adults who say they regularly take vitamins steadily increases with age. About one-third of Gen Zers take vitamins regularly, compared to 68% of boomers, and more women (57%) than men (51%) say they take vitamins regularly. This aligns with general doctor perspectives, as they often don’t recommend any vitamins or supplements for healthy people without chronic or other medical conditions, especially when they’re younger.


Knowledge empowerment

Most adults (75%) who take vitamins “feel knowledgeable” about them. Within that group, however, exists the opportunity to give consumers more information. Gen Zers and millennials, in particular, admit that they lack knowledge about vitamins and would like more information on the topic. 

Consumers, especially younger generations, are self-empowered to take control of their health today, and often explore the benefits and uses on their own. “It’s important to remember that doctors are not the first-line resource for consumers who are interested in vitamins and supplements. These items do not require a prescription,” said Dr. Femi Aremu. Content and educational resources available online present an opportunity for marketers to reach younger generations, who largely do not have insurance or access to healthcare. 


But first, search

Consumers interested in learning more about vitamins most often search the internet for more information (50%), followed by asking doctors/specialists (49%) and checking health information sites (48%). 

Compared to all survey respondents, those who want information on vitamins are more likely to use online health sites (48% vs. 43%). Social media also plays a role for those seeking information on vitamins; in particular, they cite YouTube as a source of information and support about their health (35% vs. 26% among all respondents). 

Search trend analysis

Consumers are actively trying to strengthen their health through vitamins and supplements. But their behaviors and interests are shifting as quickly as the environment around us. Healthline’s SEO experts track the intent and engagement of the more than 92 million consumers who visit our websites every month. 

In the past 30 days, we’ve seen an increase in searches for immunity, hair care, and prenatal vitamins. At the same time, we’ve seen a decrease in searches for COVID-19, women’s health, and natural sources of vitamins. Here are the specific consumer behaviors we have seen over the past 30 days:

What’s UP Month Over Month

What’s DOWN Month Over Month

Proactive immunity: “What vitamins help the immune system” is up 450% as people are taking a more proactive approach to boosting their immune system in the age of COVID-19.

COVID-19 specificity: Searches for vitamins and coronavirus (specifically vitamins C and D) have massively decreased (-2,400%) since their peak in March and April.

Hair concerns: The first several months of the COVID-19 outbreak saw a spike in searches for “coronavirus hair loss.” This topic continues to be of interest; searches for “vitamins for hair loss” are up 150%. [Check out the best vitamins for hair growth.]

Women’s health: Searches for topics on women’s health concerns are down. These include “magnesium for menopause” (-76%) and “multivitamins for women’s health” (-21%).

Prenatal: “What to look for in a prenatal vitamin” is trending, along with “best prenatal vitamins of 2020.”

Natural sources: Searches like “vitamin b12 foods” are down 18%, and “foods high in vitamin d” are down 17%, indicating that consumers are shying away from seeking natural sources of vitamins.

Meeting consumer demand

Healthline Media provides the clarity consumers need to live healthier, stronger lives by responding to search insights with thoughtful and relevant content. Brands and marketers would do well to meet consumers online, where they’ve demonstrated a heightened intent to learn more about their health and the healthy habits that can make a difference in their lives.

Reach out to your Healthline Media representative or email us to learn how you can take action on these insights to boost your brand.

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Sources: State of Health and Wellness Study, N = 2,024 US Adults, June 2019. Google Analytics. Google Trends, August & September 2020. Comscore Media Metrix Key Measures US Only, August 2020

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