Health Site Targets Female Baby Boomers

Midlife isn’t a time for crisis, it’s a time for commerce. That is the approach Women First HealthCare, Inc. is taking to the aging of America’s largest consumer group: female baby boomers.

With the launch of its new womenfirst.com site, the San Diego specialty health care company hopes to advance midlife women’s interest in self preservation and improvement, while tapping their pocketbooks.

The site launched this week with a section called the “As We Change Marketplace” offering products for women ages 40 and older. The online shopping service is based on Women First’s print catalog of the same name, offering health and beauty aids, exercise products and clothing. The site plans to add an online pharmacy through Women First’s mail-order drug division later this year.

With about 5 percent more women than men in the United States, and with women making the majority of the purchasing decisions, there appears to be a large market for women’s products and services. “Women in midlife are one of the fastest growing segments of online users, and health information is a prime area of interest for this population on the Internet,” Women First says.

A Crowded Market?

But the company faces tough competition for a woman’s Web surfing time from more general, as well as more specific Web sites. Sites such as the fast-growing iVillage.com, with more than a million regular visitors, and the planned Oxygen.com are designed to offer everything Women First has, and more.

Those sites pledge to be all-encompassing destinations for women, offering everything needed to feed the needs and ambitions of women who, as Oxygen puts it “are light years beyond all sitcom stereotypes.” On the other side of the spectrum, dozens of Web sites focus on specific women’s health issues, offering discount prices on women’s drugs, for example.

Carving a Niche pWomen First hopes to set its Web site apart by focusing on “midlife” women and physical well-being, providing information for both the women and the doctors and other clinicians that treat them. Topics covered on the site include breast health, menopause, nutrition and skin care, with clinically referenced information provided by an advisory board of clinicians and scientists.

Women First HealthCare Inc. develops and markets pharmaceutical and self care products. The company also has established educational programs and support systems for midlife women and their clinicians.

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