With the holiday season and its accompanying gluttony officially over, the pursuit of that all too familiar New Year’s resolution diet has found a fresh audience among digital dieters – people who rely on apps and tech products to help them lose weight. One in five New Year’s dieters will use technology to facilitate their weight loss. While tech-savvy, this crowd also reports higher weight loss goals than their non-tech counterparts. Tapping into their specific motivational drivers – self-esteem, personal happiness, pride, sharing experiences, and a thirst for knowledge – will not only be key for the digital dieter’s success but also for marketers who aim to be a part of the overall weight loss experience.
According to Resonate data, about a quarter of all adults plan on starting a diet. The digital dieters among them are 20% more likely to want to shed 25+ pounds than those who prefer to do it without the help of technology. While this may paint them as more overweight, digital dieters might just be more dedicated to dropping pounds than non-tech dieters, as they are also more likely to supplement their tech usage with other helpful tools like ready-to-eat diet foods (61% more likely) or meals delivered by mail (108% more likely). They are serious about their goals and committed to reaching them.
So, sayonara Santa! Farewell Frosty! Later Latkes! The drive among digital dieters to slim down is real and technology is their new coach. People who use technology to help them lose weight are 18% more likely to value happiness, 11% more likely to value learning, and a whopping 43% more likely to value self-esteem when compared to dieters who do not use technology. For this specific group and their battle of the bulge, these are three very important motivators for weight loss.
And it’s not just food that’s to blame for unwanted weight; it is also a sedentary lifestyle – a concept fueled by the efforts of Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move campaign. Though traditional technology like video games was once seen as a culprit behind inactive behavior and as an endorsement of a couch potato lifestyle, new technology geared towards personal fitness like Jawbone, Fitbit, Wii Fit U, Nike+, and Basis are gaining traction in retail. According to the Association for Corporate Growth, the fitness device industry has seen a 20+% growth over the past few years and continues to climb. Innovative apps like Couch-to-5K and Zombies, Run! – one of Apple’s top grossing health and fitness apps with over 750,000 current users – are also setting download records.
Furthermore, compared to non-tech dieters, digital dieters are 35% more likely to value pride as dropping pounds can be quite an accomplishment. They are also 37% more likely to value sharing experiences, indicative of the social component that plays a role in losing weight, like talking to and finding support in friends and family. Appealing to all of these insights will be crucial for health tech marketers in the planning and the execution of successful fitness tech ad campaigns.
A concern for personal health lies at the root of all of these products, but no app or device single-handedly is an all-inclusive quick fix. Health apps and devices should not be seen in isolation, but rather used in conjunction with other products and behaviors that promote well-being. This mainstreaming of fitness tech will prove quite the awakening for health marketers who now need to strategize new, all-encompassing methods to successfully appeal to the deeper motivations of dieters. The real measure of weight loss tech, however, will be seen among its users – from the amount of weight they successfully lose to how much better they actually feel about themselves.