While the COVID-19 pandemic has upended so much over the past year, its impact on how we as consumers approach our own holistic sense of wellness will be everlasting. Through our client work and ongoing research, we’ve rounded up the top wellness trends we’ll be keeping a close eye on over the next year. Overall we are hopeful for a wellness renaissance that will not only continue to redefine what we deem as “healthy,” but also continue to democratize the wellness space and make it more accessible.
Here are the top trends we’re seeing:
- Virtual Wellness: While at-home wellness was already seeing an increase in demand before the pandemic, this trend has only continued to skyrocket in the past year. Health and fitness equipment revenue more than doubled to $2.3 billion from March to October 2020. Peloton bikes alone saw a 232% increase in sales from the previous year. Beyond fitness, we’ve also seen telehealth take off--driven primarily by the goal of avoiding COVID-19 exposure. In a survey determining consumer shifts tied to preference with telehealth, 76% said they were highly or moderately likely to use telehealth beyond the pandemic (compared to just 11% who had used telehealth in 2019).
- Evolution of Wearable Tech: The latest move in wearables isn’t about tracking steps...it’s about tracking your stress. With studies showing Americans’ stress levels at an all time high, it’s no surprise that companies are looking for ways to help consumers reduce stress in any way they can. Cove, said to be the first wearable device with stress-canceling technology, goes on around the head to track stress via heart rate. It silently vibrates behind the ears to soothe the wearer and promote better sleep. There’s also the newly launched Fitbit Sense, the first wearable to track stress through electrodermal activity, or how well skin conducts electricity (essentially through sweat).
- Prioritizing Mental Health: A 2021 report from Mental Health America (MHA), showed more people are facing deteriorating mental health during the pandemic. In fact, from January to September 2020, MHA saw a 93% increase over the 2019 total number of anxiety screens and a 62% increase in depression screens. The good news here is that more people are seeking out care than ever before, with virtual mental health platforms like TalkSpace and BetterHelp continuing to pop up, as well as meditation apps like Headspace and Calm growing in popularity.
- Respiratory Wellness: Between learning that COVID-19 is airborne (versus living on surfaces) and witnessing the toll this virus can take on one’s respiratory system, air purification measures continue to remain top of mind. One of the fastest growing wellness products on the market is the at-home air purifier, which we'll see evolve with smart connectivity technology in 2021 and beyond. These devices reduce air contaminants like viruses, mold, and allergens which can cause respiratory diseases like asthma and Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD).
- Shift in Food Purchasing Habits: Between more time spent at home and less time dining out, the way in which we purchase the food we nourish ourselves with has changed dramatically. For one thing, online grocery sales are expected to swell to 21.5% of total U.S. grocery sales by 2025 (currently at 10.2%, up from 3.4% in 2019). Meal-kit delivery services like Home Chef and Purple Carrot, which had started to falter before the pandemic, saw a surge in demand as consumers were suddenly forced to cook more meals. On the more affordable end are semi-homemade meals, which incorporate a blend of shelf-stable pantry staples with pre-packaged proteins such as Good Catch’s line of plant-based seafood products.