The Holy Grail of Supplement Brand Loyalty

“How often do you typically switch brands of those herbal and/or dietary supplements you most frequently use?”

It typically costs much more to acquire a new dietary supplement consumer than it does to retain one.

Supplement brand loyalty is top of mind with most supplement brands. As in all industries, it typically costs much more to acquire a new dietary supplement consumer than it does to retain one, and thus it behooves brands to invest in customer retention programs in addition to acquisition.

In our proprietary Supplement Consumer PureSegmentation™ Research, we asked consumers about their supplement brand-switching behavior. Our respondent pool was 2,129 census-balanced adult supplement users across the United States for a +/- 2 percent margin of error.

There is an approximate 50–50 split between those who switch brands and those who do not, with the majority (72 percent) being in the sometimes and rarely categories.

Is This Information Actionable for Brands?

To begin, it is good to know only 12 percent are frequent switchers, and odds are you can do little to nothing with them. They like variety and are not brand loyal. That leaves brands with that middle group. What we know from our Supplement Consumer PureSegmentation™ Research is that of the six consumer PureSegments™, some tend to be more loyal than others. You might think we are teasing you with the data, and you would not be completely wrong. Our research does provide in-depth detail on which consumer segments are most likely to switch brands and for what reason.

However, we do not want to leave our readers completely on edge. Our next question was about reasons for switching, and this is where brands can begin to understand switching behavior among supplement users.

We asked those who switch supplement brands this question: “Which of the following are the most likely reasons you might switch from one multivitamin to another? Select up to three.”

Unsurprising was that almost half said having better pricing or being on sale was a reason for switching. However, when we looked at our PureSegments, this was not the case for all.

Pricing is clearly something brands can control, but premium supplement brands will never win on pricing.

Analyzing the answers, we can place switching consumers into two categories: behavior and influence. Behavior can be addressed but is not easy to change. The behavior answers are as follows:

  • Wanted to try something new.
  • I never stay with one brand of supplement. I like to switch back and forth.
  • Looking to change delivery forms.

This is where innovation plays an important role. All these reasons for switching have to do with a desire for variety, and if a brand cannot offer alternatives, then it must expect defections.

Influence is another matter. Whether the influence comes from a medical professional, family member, friend, or social media platform, brands can affect consumer sentiment.

What we know from our research is that different messages motivate each PureSegment. Therefore, brands must understand who their key targets are and recognize that communication targeted at one segment may alienate another.

It is also important to note that those who influence within a segment are quite likely to hold views about supplements similar to the other consumers in that segment. Therefore, when determining optimal brand position and messaging, think segment—not who is influencing.

Identifying and understanding its key segments are two of the most critical factors for any supplement brand, whether emerging or legacy. However, it is important to recognize how key segments react to a brand’s authenticity. Each supplement brand should stand for something—what we identify as its brand center. Knowing what your center is and seeing which segments respond best to it are ultimately the foundation for achieving the holy grail of lasting brand loyalty.