There’s a strong desire for more longevity, gut health and holistic sleep solutions, according to McKinsey’s Future of Wellness survey
Wellness is on everyone’s mind, and while related products and services seem to be abundant, some consumers are feeling unsatisfied in specific categories, presenting an enormous opportunity for businesses.
Between technological developments, product innovation and a rise in chronic disease, the wellness industry growth continues to grow. Some medical experts even suggest that the pandemic prompted many consumers to take charge of their health, either by making more mindful choices or taking increased ownership of their overall well-being.
Regardless of what’s fueling the industry, here are the seven wellness trends shaping the $1.8 trillion global wellness market this year and where opportunities loom, according to findings from leading management consulting firm McKinsey & Company, which released its Future of Wellness survey.
According to McKinsey’s data, consumers spent the most on items related to menopause and pregnancy in the last year. However, menopause remains an “overlooked segment,” with a meager 5% of start-ups catering to the needs of menopausal customers.
Other products — such as menstrual and intimate care, fertility support, pregnancy and motherhood and even women-focused healthcare facilities — all provide opportunities for companies to expand their offerings and services to meet the needs of women, notes McKinsey.
If there is a predicted wellness buzzword for 2024, it’s “longevity.” The rising adoption of preventive medicine alongside advancements in digital health monitoring and anti-aging products has consumers confident that they can not only survive but thrive.
The blossoming longevity space had nearly 70 percent of U.K. and U.S. consumers purchasing more longevity-supporting products and services in this area in the past year versus prior years, with over 60 percent of consumers revealing it “very” or “extremely” important to purchase items or services that support healthy aging and longevity.
It’s also a sector that has attracted a cross-generation of consumers, with even younger people investing in preventive solutions to beat the clock.
It comes as little surprise that weight management would appear on a wellness trends list, especially with the rise of GLP-1 weight loss drugs.
Although McKinsey notes that exercise is still the leading weight management intervention in the U.S., over 50 percent of consumers consider weight loss drugs an effective intervention. In contrast, consumers in the U.K. and China aren’t entirely sold on its promises, with less than 30 percent considering GLP-1s effective.
Despite the soaring popularity of Ozempic and Wegovy, McKinsey acknowledges it’s too early to predict how GLP-1s will affect the consumer health and wellness market but notes that companies should continue to monitor the space.
Great news for the fitness industry: roughly 50 percent of U.S. gym-goers report that fitness is a “core part” of their identity, with Gen Z consumers indicating that fitness is a “very high priority,” finds McKinsey.
Areas such as in-person fitness classes and personal training are where consumers expect to spend more, according to the report, while maintaining their spending on fitness memberships and apps.
While encouraging news, fitness businesses need to work hard to retain consumers in an area of wide selection and competition. However, by offering a solid facility, convenient locations and hours, and loyalty programs, fitness businesses are more likely to maintain their clients. Building a strong sense of community and offering out-of-the-box experiences, such as retreats or even nutritional coaching and personalized workout plans, can also help retain clients.
Over 80 percent of consumers in the U.S., U.K. and China report that gut health is vital to their wellbeing, with over 50 percent anticipating it will become a higher priority in the next two to three years.
That being said, one-third of U.S. and U.K. consumers and half of Chinese consumers wish there were more products to support their gut health.
At-home microbiome testing and personalized nutrition are two areas where companies can zero in on meeting the needs of gut-health-concerned consumers.
Chances are high that if you wander the aisle of a local pharmacy or department store, you may spot an increase in sexual-health-supporting products than ever before. According to McKinsey, 87 percent of U.S. consumers report having spent the same or more on sexual health products in the past year than in the year before.
Although such products may have been sold online during the pandemic, retailers have begun to reserve shelf space for in-person purchasing, leading to opportunities for “disruptor brands” to reach new consumers.
Catching Zs remains the one area where consumers have the most unmet needs, reveals McKinsey — and few tech companies or brands have yet to introduce a way to improve consumer sleep on a holistic level.
The need for a restful night is the second-highest health and wellness priority for consumers, so the need is great for companies to improve sleep quality with data-backed products.
Courtney Rehfeldt has worked in the broadcasting media industry since 2007 and has freelanced since 2012. Her work has been featured in Age of Awareness, Times Beacon Record, The New York Times, and she has an upcoming piece in Slate. She studied yoga & meditation under Beryl Bender Birch at The Hard & The Soft Yoga Institute. She enjoys hiking, being outdoors, and is an avid reader. Courtney has a BA in Media & Communications studies.