Millennials, Gen Zers and Anxiety Consumerism

Have you heard of the latest trend hitting the retail industry? It’s called anxiety consumerism. A trend that sadly has been brought to the fore due to the rising number of people diagnosed with anxiety. Currently, anxiety is the most common mental illness in the United States, affecting about 18% of the adult population and a whopping 25% of the child population. So, it’s clear to see why the market for products built to calm us down has been busted wide open. The past few years have seen a jump in sales for products such as adult coloring books and essential oils and diffusers. And more recently, for products like fidget spinners and weighted blankets –  this time with marketing aimed more towards the younger group suffering from this mental health condition.

Unfortunately, it doesn’t come as a huge surprise to see anxiety taking over every generation in this country. Our study, 8 Truths About Gen Z from 2016 predicted this very trend, stating that their “off-the-charts anxiety” that stemmed from growing up during a stage of crisis would move them to seek out ways to gain calmness and peace of mind. And this stage of crisis doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time soon. With the shaky worldwide political landscape, major natural disasters happening every year and the day-to-day struggle between the Haves and Have-Nots these young teens are only growing into young adults with anxiety. Is there any hope for this dire situation?

As a follow up to our previous study, we were curious to find out exactly how the younger generations are learning to cope with their anxiety. Our latest infographic, Understanding Anxiety in Gen Z and Millennials (July 2018), finds a multitude of coping strategies named, however none of the products listed above make it into the top 5.

While it remains to be seen what happens with the overall anxiety epidemic taking over the country, and if anxiety consumerism will really take off, it’s good to know that people are becoming more self-aware and are taking action with their health and wellness.

Looking for more on mental health? Click here for our Millennials and Mental Health infographic.

Bridging the Gap Between Doctor & Patient

Physicians – on average – spend 15-20 minutes with a patient for a typical office visit[1]. While 15-20 minutes may be sufficient for a general health checkup, for people dealing with a chronic condition (or multiple conditions) this time can seem limited.

Now imagine that you, yourself, are sitting in your doctor’s office and you have just been diagnosed with a chronic condition. The doctor was running 5 minutes late, and after some introductions and the information about your diagnosis, you now have 10 minutes left of your appointment. What is your doctor telling you about your condition – which, until 5 minutes ago, you may have never heard about? What do you want to know?

BuzzBack has been hard at work developing a methodology that gives us both the patient and physician perspectives on these issues, highlighting specific areas where there are gaps that may be able to be addressed by other stakeholders (e.g., pharmaceutical companies, health insurance companies, etc.).

For instance, our research found that when talking to COPD patients, while PCPs and Pulmonologists tend to focus a lot on treatment options, symptoms, and the origin of the condition when diagnosing a patient, there is less of a focus on overall health, which patients indicate being the top thing that they wish their HCP had spoken about when they had been diagnosed.

comm gaps word cloud


Check back here for more information about our upcoming webinar, where we’ll be presenting our research findings on Patient-Physician Communication Gaps. 


Doctor Patient Communication Gaps

5 Milestones in the Patient Journey Every Healthcare Marketer Needs to Understand

Healthcare marketers are increasingly focused on more patient-centric approaches in order to develop effective ways to bridge gaps between patients & healthcare practitioners (HCPs). What used to be solely directed to physicians as prescribers and influencers for patients, now starts with patients.

Here’s why: understanding the patient experience involves understanding emotions around different milestones –   [1] pre-diagnosis suffering through [2] diagnosis, [3] post-diagnosis (3 months after), [4] living with the disease and [5] looking to the future while managing outcomes and treatment. And Patient Journey research is about focusing on these different milestones, in order to develop communications to improve the patient-doctor dialogue at each stage.

DOWNLOAD NOW!   'Mapping the Patient Journey' White Paper

And while we’ve developed our own approach to Patient Journey research, at BuzzBack we’re also focused on the changing consumer. Millennials, Gen X, and even Boomers are turning to digital tools, relying on smartphones and apps for news, weather and increasingly health info.

With more than 64% of adult US households having smartphones, the patient experience is no longer solely about the doctor relationship.

According to Hospitals & Health Networks, today’s patients are searching for doctors online, making appointments online, finding urgent care centers, monitoring their activity with wearables, etc. Healthcare marketers are creating detail aids and journal pieces, but also new apps and web-based support programs to get closer to patients. However, the underlying emotions driving their behavior are still similar. That means an even greater need to identify and deep dive into the patient journey. Developing effective tools, digital or other, stems from identifying insights linked to consumer emotions.

To find out more about how we obtained in-depth feedback by using imagery as a catalyst to map out the these 5 milestones of the patient experience, download our Patient Journey white paper now.

Dining Trends in the Age of Millennials

Are Millennials behind the demise of fast food as we know it? Or to borrow from Mark Twain, are the reports of McDonald’s death greatly exaggerated? If you’ve been reading the financial news, McDonald’s seems to be in trouble – the theories abound as to why. Some point an accusatory finger at Millennials.

We have already written about the challenges of consumer product companies and fast casual establishments in capturing the taste buds of the coveted consumer group born between 1981-2000: Millennials. Their habits and preferences are shaking things up across multiple categories. Gen Y seems to increasingly favour companies like Chipotle and Panera, as well as Shake Shack and Five Guys. What’s notable is that all of these are part of the “fast casual” dining trend.

So what’s the link between Millennials and this trend? We recently conducted a study of Millennials and their attitudes about nutrition, and we are presenting at the Food & Drink Innovation Network conference in London.  Our study finds that taste, quality and experience matter tremendously to the Gen Y consumer – all hallmarks of the “fast casual”.

To Millennials, overall nutrition is important, and they want fast food to be healthier and better quality. While they are active and conscientious grocery shoppers, they do allot a significant portion of their budget to eating out. That means there’s significant opportunity for restaurant marketers to capture share of wallet.

To receive an executive brief of our Millennials & Nutrition findings, click here. And watch this space for the webinar on the subject in March.

The Next Big Player in the Health Care Industry

Just the other day, I saw an intriguing teaser about pet insurance on AMA TV. According to the American Pet Products Association (APPA), this year pet owners are expected to spend $58.5 Billion on their pets and of that, $15.25 billion will go towards veterinary care. Due to the increase in people who treat their pets as part of the family and an upsurge in procedures and cost, pet insurance is positioned to be the next big player in the health care industry. It’s already starting to be offered as an employee benefit at many companies.

However, with the rise in popularity comes new regulations. Proposed California legislation which will regulate pet insurance is currently making headlines. The bill is up for a vote in the Senate. It will be the first of its kind. No other state has imposed regulations for pet insurance.

All of this reminded me of a study we conducted early last year with Hive, our online forum. We brought together a community of pet owners to explore all aspects of the relationships between pets and their human caretakers.  We discussed everything from the types of relationships they have, sleep habits, new product wish lists, holiday shopping behaviors, and even pet insurance. What we found is that there was a lot of hesitancy around acquiring pet insurance, largely driven by costs. Due to the economic climate, some pet owners made mention of barely being able to afford their own health insurance, much less being able to afford insurance for their pets.


We found that with pet insurance being widely seen as a luxury vs. a necessity, those who offer insurance should first and foremost focus on value communications. Breaking costs down in easy to understand increments (i.e. for only $15 dollars a month, for only $100 dollars a year) might increase value perceptions. Offering tiered and/or customizable levels of coverage may broaden appeal.

Additionally, insurance communications should play-up the emotional bond that exists between a pet owner and their pet. In doing so, the takeaway is not ‘I can’t afford it’, it becomes ‘how can I NOT afford it?’

I must admit I used to be one of the naysayers when it came to pet insurance, but not long after we conducted this study I joined the ranks of those insuring their pets; after all, my pets are just two, very loved, extensions of my family.  So, for all you animal lovers out there, how do you feel about pet insurance?

To request a copy of the findings from our Exploring Pet Ownership Study, click here.

The Best Day of The Week to Work Out Is…

Do you know about Monday Campaigns?

Research by John Hopkins found that Monday’s are the best day of the week for positive health behaviors like working out. Why? People tend to look at the first day of the work week as a fresh start. So, John Hopkins, Columbia and Syracuse universities have teamed up to make Monday’s the healthiest day of the week, or as they call it, “The day all health breaks loose.”

Since people seem to be more concerned with getting in shape for the summer months, we decided to find out how consumers plan to slay those extra calories. Our latest study focuses on how and why people work out, their favorite apparel, where they shop, what they spend and the food & beverages they choose to keep them energized. Check out our latest infographic below and let us know, are you getting your workout in today?

BuzzBack Workout Infographic

The Consumerization of Health Care

There has been a lot of criticism over U.S. health care recently. The changing landscape of health care and insurance has left some patients feeling a multitude of emotions. However, there is a new health technology startup that is hoping to change patient perspectives towards health care. I just learned that The Mayo Clinic has teamed up with Better to provide personal health care assistants through mobile device apps for a household fee of $49 a month. They are hoping to provide health care convenience by offering around the clock video chat with Mayo Clinic nurses, a “symptom checker” that can help you schedule doctor appointments and a central location for storing your own health records.

The convenience factor is obviously a plus. And, I can also see this app helping with patient compliance, an area often of concern between both doctors and patients in our studies, by allowing patients to take a more active role in their health. It should also alleviate some of the unnecessary doctor visits by some, which would free up doctors to spend more quality time with other patients.

There are other companies out there in this health technology space that are trying to aid in the convenience factor, like Doctor on Demand, American Well, and ZocDoc which I personally used just this week.  Should we expect even more health care apps to push out products on to our mobile phones in this brand new, yet already teeming market space?  It seems too early to tell if these health care apps will take off and be able to perform long term. However, I think they have a pretty good chance as the technology industry continues to aid the health care industry during this exciting time known as the consumerization of health care.