Americans regularly turn to the Internet for information on diet, health clubs and vitamin/nutritional supplements Online comments and product reviews influenced 65% of U.S. adults who recently used a diet or weight loss program, according to the Spring 2009 Ad-ology Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey. These consumers are very interested in the effectiveness of diet programs and are actively seeking out the opinions of other users. Online media also impacts health/fitness club choice, especially among the 18-to-24-year-old demographic (60.8%). Of health club members, 89% say variety of equipment is an important factor in their selection decision, and 88% say the same for quality of equipment. Looking at factors by gender, women are more interested in the variety and availability of classes, while noticeably more men want to work out where their friends/family go, perhaps because men view working out as a social experience. For the vitamin and nutritional supplement market, one in five consumers prefers to shop at a specialty health food/vitamin store, with 35 to 44 year olds most likely to seek out these stores. More than 60% of that age group cite brand name as an important factor in their purchase decision and are most likely to be influenced by manufacturer Web sites. “Consumers are researching diet and other wellness topics online much like they would research a consumer electronics purchase,” said C. Lee Smith, president and CEO of Ad-ology Research. “Anybody in this industry must maintain a strong online presence to provide the information these health-conscious consumers crave,” Smith said. Other key findings from the survey:

  • For health/fitness clubs or gym choice, direct mail was the most influential traditional media type
  • Television was the most influential traditional media for 18 to 24 year olds looking for diet and weight loss products and services
  • Of traditional media, newspapers had the most influence (35.3%) on recent over-the-counter vitamin or nutritional supplement purchasers
  • 12% of Hispanics researched personal trainers online, the most among all ethnic groups

The Media Influence on Consumer Choice survey is conducted throughout the year by Ad-ology Research to study online, traditional, and social media influence on buying decisions. All three reports: Media Influence on Consumer Choice: Diet & Weight Loss, Media Influence on Consumer Choice: Vitamins, and Media Influence on Consumer Choice: Health Clubs are available for purchase and immediate download through Ad-ology.net. Each includes data charts, consumer-spending estimates by market, and additional marketing insights.