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What was your resolution this year; something related to fitness, to learn a new language, or to improve your finances? Businesses know there’s an opportunity for revenue based on your life choices at this time of year. For instance, have you taken part in Dry January or Veganuary? No matter what it is, brands can be affected by your choices of New Year’s resolutions, whether that be by an increase of sales or even a decrease!

So how do these companies overcome the dip in sales after a spike in the festive period? Equally, on the other end of the scale, how do rival companies capitalise on New Year’s resolutions?

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The main industries that are affected by New Year’s Resolutions.

The first industry that comes to mind when we think of New Year’s Resolutions is the fitness industry. At the start of last year, 2023, 53% of people’s New Year’s resolutions were to exercise more and improve their fitness. Data from PureGym revealed that its gyms were nearly 40% busier in January 2023 than in the two months previous. This opens a door for the fitness industry as new memberships and schemes can be introduced to capitalise on this.

The increase in membership prices also has a knock-on effect for other industry brands such as retailers as they adapt their products to become more fitness-focused. The new motivated, gym goers now find themselves needing the equipment to go alongside their newfound lifestyle. January and February usually see a 96% increase at sports shops, a 55% increase at health stores, and 15% increase on eating out every year. Retailers such as M&S have jumped on the fitness and health band wagon with a collaboration with nutrition science company ZOE to launch a milk drink that claims to help improve people’s gut health.

The fitness industry doesn’t only just focus on the physical aspect, it also involves dietary changes too. Trying a vegan diet in January, known as Veganuary, is another way consumers aim to live a healthier lifestyle. 2023 boasted a staggering 706,965 official participants that joined the vegan community – an 11.3% increase from the prior year. If we were to narrow that down even more, in January alone, 23% of these official participants became vegan, 43% reduced consumption by at least half and a further 20% by at least a quarter in 2023. Large businesses saw an opportunity during Veganuary in 2022 and ran with it:

• McDonalds introduced a ‘McPlant’ range.
• Cadbury started selling ‘The Plant Bar’.
• Lindt created the ‘Vegan Smooth’ and ‘Vegan Hazelnut’ chocolate bars.
• Aldi launched ‘No Pork Streaky Bacon’ as well as 40 new vegan products which led to a 500% increase in sales versus January 2021.
• Deliveroo saw a 117% increase in plant-based ordering during Veganuary 2022 versus Veganuary 2021.
• A vegan version of the snacking cheese, Babybel, launched in January.
• Starbucks offered new plant-based options for January and announced that they had permanently dropped the additional charge for non-dairy milk.
• Wagamama introduced a collaboration, with OmniFoods, which saw their Veganuary special, fish and chips, become Deliveroo’s number-one selling vegan main.
• A less corporate consideration, The Queen Inn in South Wales, went completely vegan in January and had such a successful month that they decided to stay 100% vegan permanently, sparking social media interest nationwide.

When brands support the ‘new year, new me’ notion when it comes to fitness, it further solidifies the culture of New Year’s resolutions becoming a lifestyle rather than a phase. Consumers can enjoy their healthy breakfast from their favourite supermarket, burn off the extra calories at their local gym, and then enjoy their vegan dinner after work. Businesses that recognise this need for change within their consumers cater to this where they can and remain a part of their buyers’ lifestyle.


Not all industries benefit from New Year’s Resolutions.

On the flipside of this, whilst some brands are thriving from new year’s solutions, some feel the hit from Dry January and Veganuary. Since 2013, when Dry January was first established, sales of alcoholic beverages across Britain have averaged £278.3m per month. December is, predictably, the month when we spend the most on alcoholic beverages at an average of £427.5m. This retail spend then plummeted to its lowest monthly level in January at an average of £202m. Not only does this affect the larger alcohol companies, but it also affects small businesses like your local pub. To ensure pubs are still profiting, regardless of Dry January, they can quickly adapt by stocking more “lo-no” options and opening their doors more regularly to give community groups a cosy welcome on winter days.

The alcohol industry isn’t the only one that is affected by their consumers resolutions, the poultry industry has seen an impact too. Let’s compare some poultry statistics from the start of 2022 to the start of 2023:

• UK commercial layer chick placings were down 4.7% at 2.5 million chicks.
• UK broiler chick placings were down 1.8% at 90.4 million chicks.
• Turkey chick placings were down by 6.6% at 0.8 million chicks.

Whilst a lot of people use Veganuary as a chance to try out the lifestyle, a lot of people across the UK use it as a chance to start afresh. Some consumers aim to reduce their general meat intake permanently, rather than go cold turkey (excuse the pun) and have no meat at all for a month.

Whilst the population is choosing to try more plant-based meals, some argue that this does not impact the meat industry as much as you may think, especially compared to the impact of dry January on alcohol businesses. There is limited evidence of us becoming a nation of vegetarians and vegans, with only beef, lamb and turkey seeing volume declines in the latest period. Chilled fish continues to show a strong performance as volume outstrips value growth, attracting 332,000 more shoppers and 2.6 million more trips. It’s important to note that whilst some big companies, such as McDonalds and Cadbury are continuously aiming to target this new and established market, it is important to consider other avenues and not put all their eggs in one basket (vegan friendly eggs of course!).


How can your business profit from your consumers’ New Year’s goals?

January is a great time for businesses to review the previous year’s sales and start a new strategy of what can be changed. It is also a time to listen to your audience and see what they want, what their goals are and how you can help to achieve them.
So, let’s say you’ve listened, adapted and gained a new demographic, what is the next step to ensure they stick around for the whole year and not just a month? You must retain them, especially as they drop off when giving up on their new year’s goals.
Personalise your content to keep your customers interested. It’s not just about offering the best deals, it’s also about delighting your customers through useful content to create positive associations between the customer and your brand. Also, consider creating top-of-mind content, and avoid sales-y content as your ideal consumer would’ve seen this type of content over the festive period. Meaning you have the chance to stand out with something more engaging. The content needs to be educational and entertaining while still tying into your brand. If done right, top-of-mind content drives high lifetime value, making all your advertising and marketing more profitable and keeping customers happy.

If it’s come to that time of year when you’re ready for a refresh, then make your new year’s resolution to really understand and listen to your audience and retain them throughout the year, not just for a month. Get in touch with us and see how we can help achieve your New Year’s goals.