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PMG Digital Made for Humans

What Brands Should Know About Consumers & Renewed Focus on Health and Wellness

5 MINUTE READ | November 16, 2021

What Brands Should Know About Consumers & Renewed Focus on Health and Wellness

PMG’s Strategic Planning and Insights team recently hosted its first Trendspotter: Outlook 2021 webinar to discuss the trends shaping retail, travel, and wellness, showing how the last 18 months impacted various industries and will make this holiday season unlike any we’ve seen before. If you missed the event, check out the full webinar here or continue reading to learn more about the top trends and insights impacting the beauty and wellness industries in the run-up to the holiday season and 2022 planning. 

The events of 2020 ushered in a newfound focus on health and wellness, with topics like mental health, clean beauty, and self-love becoming some of the most popular subject matter discussed in online communities over the last 18 months. According to some studies, more than 50 percent of Americans report that the past year has led “to a renewed appreciation for their health and well-being.”

  • Twenty percent of Americans say they are giving themselves manicures and pedicures at home, with 16 percent saying they are coloring their hair at home more often than they did previously, despite services reopening nationwide (Nielsen IQ, Well and Good). 

  • Thirty-four percent of internet users aged 18 and older trust beauty influencers more due to COVID (Mintel 2021). 

  • Fifty percent of the top digital workouts of 2020 on ClassPass were restorative, with yoga, pilates, and stretching as the most popular categories (ClassPass).

In taking these changes into consideration, it’s becoming increasingly clear that definitions for beauty and wellness have changed and will continue to as consumer priorities shift. 

Peloton and AppleFitness+ saw significant membership growth by reducing common consumer barriers like price, proximity, and fear, with the added benefit of online communities to help people stay committed and motivated. Mintel found a 135 percent increase in active adults seeing online content as the best way to stay fit, a trend largely driven by females. 

While physical wellness has always been top of mind, mental wellness has become one of the most talked-about topics throughout the course of the pandemic. Celebrities and influencers like Kim Kardashian, Brad Pitt, and Demi Lovato have opened up about their mental health struggles. One cultural moment included Oprah Winfrey’s interview with Prince Harry and Duchess of Sussex Meghan Markle, which drew a crowd of more than 17.1 million viewers on CBS, according to Nielsen. Millions more watched across streaming platforms, as the interview sparked new discussions on race and mental health earlier this year.

During the 2020 Tokyo Olympics, mental and physical wellness gained attention worldwide after celebrated athlete Simone Biles unexpectedly dropped out of the gymnastics team competition in Tokyo to focus on her mental well-being. An outpouring of love and support flooded social media and reignited discussions about mental health and wellness around the world. Even popular TV shows like Ted Lasso on Apple TV+ made anxiety, depression, and holistic mental health core themes throughout the most recent season.

Mental health is no longer a taboo topic as enhanced awareness and inclusivity make people more comfortable talking about their mental health and expect others to respect mental health and illnesses. According to research conducted by Mintel, Twitter, and YouGov, this holiday season, consumers, especially younger shoppers, expect brands to take a stand and support them in putting their mental health first: 

  • Eighty percent of consumers are comfortable talking about mental health.

  • Seventy-four percent of people made life changes to improve their mental health within the last year. 

  • Fifty-eight percent of Gen Z like when brands take a stance, with seven out of ten saying that maintaining their mental health is a struggle. 

Individuals are continuing DIY efforts started during the pandemic, especially as it relates to at-home beauty and personal care treatments, despite services like nail salons and spas reopening. The growing interest in personalized products and services is in part fueling the DIY surge, allowing consumers control over whether product ingredients are sustainably curated or tailored to a consumer’s unique needs. Growing calls for diversity across racial representation, product inclusivity, and gender throughout the beauty industry have led to new products, new creative partnerships, and new opportunities for underrepresented consumers, influencers, and creators. 

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The emerging trends of self-care, clean beauty, natural and fresh looks, mental health advocacy, at-home fitness, and more, all show increased staying power heading into 2022. As more people prioritize their own happiness and health, they’re motivated by a holistic sense of wellness and look to their favorite brands to support them on this journey. All brands, but especially wellness brands, should consider partnering with publishers in the meditation or wellness space and creating custom content that promotes self-gifting as a way to improve mood and minimize stress. Brands in the beauty category should consider utilizing influencers, diverse and inclusive publishers, and optimizing shopping experiences to minimize friction and maximize purchase and brand consideration. Finally, fitness brands will need to prioritize community, building digital fitness environments that are genuine and relatable through the use of social platforms, existing spokespeople, and publishers in the industry.

Posted by: Allison Copens

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