As we kick off the new year, we’re covering trends from key markets in 2022. We’ll recap the state of each industry over the past year, the ad strategies of its biggest players, and what we predict 2023 will hold.
More than 330mm people live in the U.S. Around 110mm are considered “overweight,” according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Concerns about the health of Americans aren’t new; they’ve steadily grown for decades. But if the pandemic had any silver linings, one of them was the strengthened spotlight on health.
According to a CVS Health survey, 77% of people said the pandemic led them to pay more attention to their health.
This renewed spotlight continues to illuminate the market for weight loss solutions and services, which is growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 8.2% and is expected to surpass $377b by 2026.
Advertisers for these solutions are responding. Here’s how and what it means for 2023.
MediaRadar Insights on Weight Loss Solutions Advertising in 2022
Through November, advertisers for weight loss solutions spent more than $375mm, representing a 10% YoY increase compared to the same period in 2021.
Interestingly, despite the market’s embrace of digital during the pandemic, advertisers spent most of their dollars on print (~$43mm or 11%) and TV ($288mm or 77%) while sending 12% ($45mm) to digital.
The bulk of spending came in Q1 and Q2 as millions of people kicked off the year with fitness-related resolutions. This is par for the course and will remain a key spending block for advertisers. That said, spending decreased by 11% YoY in Q1, possibly because many gyms and restaurants reopened.
While the strategies will always be front-loaded, the heightened interest in health is forcing advertisers to think beyond those months.
Stephen Mikulak, President of Nutrisystem, said, “January has always been our busiest month. We’ll see January be three or four times bigger than December. But also what we’re seeing over time is there are other pockets throughout the year that are also pretty big for us.”
In 2022, spending in Q3 increased by 50% YoY. Expect the mid-year spending to continue in 2023 as the market takes note of the shift and new advertisers enter the fray to get in front of more Americans trying to lose weight year-round.
Advertisers for Weight Loss Services Drive Spending in 2022
Through November, advertisers for weight loss services spent more than $313mm or 84% of the industry’s investment.
Nutrisystem is synonymous with weight loss. In fact, the company accounts for more than 23% of the online weight loss services market.
Unsurprisingly, its advertisers spent big in 2022, increasing their investment by 39% YoY. Most of that (80%) went to TV ads on cable and broadcast networks, including A&E Network, ABC, and AMC.
At the same time, they sent 9% and 11% of their investment to print and digital, respectively.
Like many weight loss services, advertisers for Nutrisystem rely on word of mouth and celebrity endorsements to drive growth.
Marie Osmond, for example, has been candid about her weight loss journey with Nutrisystem. More recently, Jason Kaplan, executive producer of a nationally syndicated radio show, showed off his success in the New Nutrisystem® for Men Television Commercials.
Founded in the 1960s, WW continues to change how people diet. They’re doing this with a combination of exercise, its famous points system, and a sense of community that gives members the chance to attend workshops led by a coach to share tips and support one another.
Through November, advertisers increased spending by 12% YoY, sending 87% of that to TV networks such as A&E Network, ABC, and Adult Swim. Meanwhile, they spent 13% on digital formats.
Unlike Nutrisystem, which kept spending levels relatively high all year, advertisers for WW spent most of their TV ad dollars in January. In July and August, the funnel into broadcast and cable networks all but closed, which is interesting because Nutrisystem and GOLO both kept their advertising lights on.
WW’s CMO, Amanda Tolleson, reaffirmed this strategy by saying, “It’s [the new year] a fresh start to the year. People start to think about their goals in life.” She continued, “Our peak season is definitely post-Christmas through Q1.”
Similar to Nutrisystem, WW also rides the wave of celebrity endorsements.
In 2017, the company teamed up with DJ Khaled, who proudly announced to his millions of Instagram followers that he lost 43 pounds.
WW’s partnership with DJ Khaled lends light to its go-to-market strategy and target consumer. Its investment in TikTok does as well.
According to a Fast Company article, Olivia West, the mastermind behind the Dunkin-Charli D’Amelio craze, is running WW’s account.
Other advertisers, including those from Nutrisystem and GOLO, may take note despite historically leaving digital ad formats out in the cold.
Nutrisystem recently celebrated its 50th birthday. WW is approaching its 60th.
Meanwhile, GOLO was founded in 2009.
Despite the age difference, advertisers for GOLO far and away increased their budget the most in 2022.
Through November, the relative newcomer increased spending by 267% YoY, with nearly all of the investment (99%) going to TV ads on networks like A&E Network, ABC, and AMC.
GOLO’s ad engine also held fairly steady for most of the year, which goes against the grain of how industry advertisers typically spend.
Nevertheless, this aggressive spending illustrates the competition and makes it clear that there’s still room at the table.
It also shows that new entrants will have to spend big to survive. Advertisers for weight loss solutions at a similar point in their history will have to adopt similar strategies.
There’s Room for More
When people think of weight loss solutions, most default to the likes of Nutrisystem and WW—and rightfully so.
But GOLO’s emergence and big investment in ads goes to show that the market isn’t off limits.
Not only is the market growing as Americans focus on their health, which will ignite budgets, but industry advertisers are finding themselves in a unique situation. Advertisers in other industries are facing pressure as consumers cut their budgets—yet those promoting weight loss solutions and other health-related services may prove immune to the pressure.
When asked how the recession was impacting Nutrisystem, Mikulak said, “We are not seeing any issue with retention. That continues to be strong. People are staying longer than they have in the past… We had to be dynamic in the types of programs that we offer to make sure we’re hitting each economic band and making sure everybody has the opportunity to do one of our programs.”
Add to that the increasing competition from gyms and home exercise equipment brands, like Peloton, and there’s no doubt advertisers for weight loss solutions will spend in 2023.
For more insights, sign up for MediaRadar’s blog here.