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Health & Beauty

New year, same resolutions: diet plan customers don't last

by Taylor Stanton - February 23, 2019

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As traditional as singing Auld Lang Syne at midnight, millions of Americans start January off with the resolution to drop a few pounds. While healthy eating can be difficult and exercise tends to be the best way to lose weight, many online shoppers buy diet plans, and meals, to loose weight. As Oprah Winfrey’s investment in Weight Watchers confirms, diet plans are big business in the grocery space. January is the biggest time of year for sales, and the first month of 2015 yielded 12.5 percent more growth than 2014.

While January is the month that sees the largest number of sales for the diet programs category Nutrisystem, the market leader, experiences a sales spike in May. We also observe another seasonal sales increase in Spring, particularly among leading brands Nutrisystem and Weight Watchers, as the consumers confront the reality of swimsuit season.

Nutrisystem’s shoppers spend more with their company compared to their competitors. Shoppers who purchase products with Nutrisystem are spending, on average $280.00 per purchase, with the company, and the most popular purchase being the My Way Core Plan. In contrast, Weight Watchers shoppers only spend $44.00 on products.     

When shoppers pick a diet they stick with it, for a short time

Among diet meal brands, Nutrisystem commands 90 percent of their dollars spent on diet programs while Weight Watchers commands a sizable 75 percent.  Interestingly, Weight Watchers customers are also using 25 percent of their diet spend on Nutrisystem products.

The data suggests that these diets don't last. Many shoppers purchase less than three orders in a year. Last year, Nutrisystem shoppers, on average, only purchased 2.5 products during the year, which if they were participating in the Core Plan, ends their diets mid March. 

So who is buying these diet programs anyway? Mostly women over the age of 55. Over 52 percent of Nutrisystem's shoppers are over the age of 55, a trend that is mirrored in Slim Fast and Atkins shoppers. Weight Watchers customers also skew higher in age, but maintain the largest millennial shopper segment with over 27 percent being under the age of 35.

Interestingly while the majority of diet program buyers are women, over 54 percent Atkin’s customers are men who are undoubtedly lured in on the promise of being able to live on bacon.

About this data

With a panel of over three million online shoppers, Slice Intelligence gives the most detailed, and accurate digital commerce data available, and is reported daily.

Slice Intelligence is the only service to measure digital commerce directly from the consumer, across all retailers, at the item level, and over time. Our retailer-independent methodology precisely measures commerce as it happens. By extracting detailed information from hundreds of millions of aggregated and anonymized e-receipts, Slice can map the entire Purchase Graph, connecting each and every consumer to all their purchases.

Slice gets its data from e-receipts – not a browser, app or software installed by the end-user – so its measurement reflects comprehensive shopping behavior across multiple devices, over time which are key in an increasingly omnichannel retail world.