Consumer attitudes are changing: Whole body health is the new normal

Consumers are embracing the idea of wellness like never before and with a completely different approach than in decades past. It’s no longer about fad diets, only calorie-counting or workout videos a la ‘Barry’s Bootcamp.’ Wellness today is broad, encompassing fitness, nutrition, and physical and mental health. It’s a complete body-mind approach: feel good on the inside and the outside.

The growing wellness trend

With access to an infinite number of materials and sources to consult and learn from – blogs, YouTube videos, apps, medical journals – consumers are taking more control of every aspect of their lives, health and well-being included.

According to McKinsey’s Future of Wellness survey, people worldwide are focusing on their health. Seventy-nine percent of people surveyed across six countries believe wellness is important, and 42% rate it as a top priority. Those numbers demonstrate a significant attitude shift among consumers.

But people don’t think of health as a single concept. The same study revealed that people qualify aspects of health into six categories: better health (which includes medicine and supplements, devices, trackers, and telemedicine), fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep, and mindfulness.

It’s no surprise that the better health category was most important to consumers in all countries (and the area where they spent the most money). What’s particularly interesting for businesses and service providers in the wellness market is that cultural differences heavily influenced the types of products and services that ranked second for expenditures. In Germany, it was fitness; in Japan, it was appearance; in the UK and China, it was nutrition; in the US and Brazil, it was mindfulness.

Finally, the research revealed consumer trends that are driving the market. The number one trend is an affinity for clean and natural products. Over the last several years, we’ve seen a growing shift towards clean beauty products, clean and organic foods, and even all organic household cleaners. Now, supplements are stepping up to the proverbial plate. The evidence is clear: in 2019, the global market size for herbal medicine was projected to reach $83 billion, but interest in supplements is so high, the market is expected to hit $550 billion in 2030 at an 18.9% CAGR.

Health supplements are taking center stage

We live in a fast-paced world dominated by hectic schedules. Urbanization is increasing, as is disposable income. Even though many are aware of healthy options (they read food labels, buy organic, etc.) and make healthier choices regularly, it’s still a challenge to be healthy and have balanced levels of nutrients, particularly for certain individuals.

Take vegans or vegetarians, for example. People following these diets can naturally improve their health by relying on different foods, but they need to know what they lack and how to make up for those deficits. Education is the key, and providing people with the information they need to make the best choices will result in positive outcomes.

Research has shown that when diabetics replaced meat with plant proteins, they could reduce their risk of poor kidney function. Another study found that people on a vegan diet could reduce their dosage of blood sugar-lowering medications. While those are tremendous benefits for people managing chronic conditions, vegan diets commonly come with vitamin B12, calcium, iron, and zinc deficiencies.

However, we live in a time where we don’t have to choose one over the other. Patients can have the best of all worlds – less medication, lower health risks, and a nutrient-rich diet bolstered by supplements. This is exactly the path that so many consumers are choosing and education is lighting their way as they navigate down the road.

Even consumers who aren’t battling diseases are tapping health supplements to boost immune systems, foster recovery after workouts, improve mental stamina, or many other reasons.They are turning to friends, family, and online communities, seeking answers from others who have more experience. With the internet available 24/7, advice is never more than a Google search away. With a few clicks, consumers can have access to more information than they know what to do with, and that’s where online communities and forums become even more valuable. Beyond sharing research and doctor-approved knowledge, communities are filled with real people who have tried and tested, often sage advice.

The evolving modern consumer 

For health-conscious consumers, it’s not just about calorie counting or one-sided healthcare. They want food with nutritional value, organic products that fuel their body and mind, and helpful supplements to remain in peak form. Consumers consider wellness services and products worthwhile investments -investments in themselves and their futures. The growing demand for natural solutions is proof of that. Everyone is prioritizing their well-being with a focus on both their general health and specific needs.

Given the rise in health-focused apps and wearables, consumers are taking it upon themselves to learn new healthy habits, monitor their behaviors, and make changes as they reap the rewards of better decisions. It’s a brave new world for the consumer and one in which they feel empowered by being active participants. That leaves the door wide open for wellness businesses that want to leap into the future alongside consumers.

Photo: kate_sept2004, Getty Images

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