Hispanics’ health and wellness and the need to look beyond COVID-19

February 9, 2021
5 min read

While preventing exposure to the virus is a critical focus of Hispanics’ health and wellness approach, beyond washing hands more often, wearing masks, avoiding crowded places, and using hand sanitizer, the pandemic has not driven Hispanics to make significant changes to their health and wellness habits.

It’s essential for brands to understand Hispanics’ approach to health and wellness in light of COVID-19 because they are a critical target for any brand given their size and growth trajectory. More than 63 million Hispanics in the US represent 19% of the total US population. It is also a relatively young market, with a more significant share of this group younger than 45 compared to the total population. Their youth means that it is a market that is mostly healthy with room to experiment. Finally, Hispanics were disproportionally impacted by the loss of income due to COVID-19. The current uncertainty offers brands some opportunities for building their brands around new health and wellness rules.

Hispanics are confident in their approach to health and wellness

According to Mintel research on Hispanics’ approach to health and wellness, Mintel’s consumer research shows that more than three-quarters of Hispanics are confident they are doing what is necessary to live a healthy life. Seven in 10 Hispanic consumers feel they can make the right decisions about their health and wellness, despite less than two-thirds believing that there is too much conflicting information. Hispanics feel they are on the right track in multiple areas. More than three in five feel they are paying attention to their mental health, while less than three in five consider they are exercising regularly and following a healthy diet.

Because most Hispanics are confident that they are doing what is necessary to live a healthy life, the thought is there is no reason to fix what’s not broken. Looking for ways to improve their health and wellness may not happen naturally. Moreover, most Hispanics who are not doing these things yet, plan to start working on them soon. While intentions are positive, these Hispanic consumers may need triggers to move ahead.

Understand the diversity within the market

Since Hispanics feel they know how to handle their health and wellness, brands need to understand different segments within the market to challenge the status quo and insert their value propositions. As Hispanics are diverse both demographically and attitudinally, their approach to handling their health and wellness is also diverse. Based on attitudes toward health and wellness, Mintel research uncovered four segments:

  • Natural Embracers are satisfied with their current health and are into natural remedies. They skew female and aged 18-54 as well as being mothers. This segment is critical because they may be in charge of the kitchen in their homes and control meal planning. They want to contribute to their families’ health and wellness by feeding them healthy foods but may encounter some pushback from their kids and spouses when dishes look “too healthy.” Hispanics in this segment could value brands’ support and encouragement. They will welcome reinforcement that they are on the right path.
  • Independent Thinkers are also satisfied with their current health. They are also open-minded and trust both natural and over-the-counter remedies. As they skew male, aged 25-44, unacculturated and Spanish-dominant, they may overstate how much they are doing to live healthy lifestyles and overestimate their ability to make the right decisions. Hispanics in this segment could benefit from guidance. They need to grasp better why it is essential to start paying attention to their health and wellness sooner than later.
  • Dissatisfied Strugglers are not satisfied with their current health and don’t know how to make improvements. They skew very young, acculturated and English-dominant, and less affluent. However, despite their dissatisfaction with their current health, they are unlikely to have significant health issues due to their youth. Their dissatisfaction is not as much with their health as it is with life in general as they look to find their own identity. Hispanics in this segment could value brands’ support and encouragement, but not limited to health and wellness, but life in general. Hispanics in this segment need reasons to feel optimistic and confident about what’s next to come.
  • Medicine Believers prefer to let medical professionals dictate their approach to health and wellness. They skew female and older. Their faith in medical professionals is not something that happens automatically, but that grows with time. They are open to seeking preventive care proactively. Hispanics in this segment could value brands’ efforts to provide products that support the advice they are getting from medical professionals.

What we think

While Hispanics are not relying on products to prevent COVID-19, brands still have opportunities to build their positioning around core health and wellness goals, such as eating healthy, exercising, getting quality sleep and managing stress. The timing is right – again – as the current uncertainty offers brands some wiggle room to dictate new rules around these health and wellness goals. Brand efforts to create strong associations with habits that will outlive the pandemic can pay off, particularly if brands look at their products through the lenses of the different segments.

Juan Ruiz
Juan Ruiz

Juan Ruiz is the Director of Insights at Mintel. He analyzes the US Hispanic and Latin American markets and develops insightful reports on Hispanic consumers, helping clients to understand the growing Hispanic market in the context of their categories.

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