As the line between health and wellness continues to blur, the definition of wellness has changed for consumers. With mental health and emotional well-being going hand in hand, we’ve seen consumers shift to a more holistic view of wellness in recent years. But how does this shift vary by demographic? And which wellness sector really matters most to consumers?
In our recent white paper DEFINING HEALTH & WELLNESS, AND THE BARRIERS TO CHANGE, we explore just what this shift to holistic health in the wellness market entails.
Consumer Trends in Wellness
Three wellness trends from our 2023 white paper stood out:
1.Spiritual Wellness is key in Black Communities
When asked what aspects of wellness were most important to them, Black respondents were the only group who consistently selected spiritual wellness — with 45% of Black respondents reporting that the spiritual aspect of wellness was most important to them.
Spirituality doesn’t necessarily equate to religion here, a recent local news article from Detroit reported “More Black Americans turning to spirituality and African traditions over organized religion. “It says that “In one decade, 11% fewer Black people considered themselves Christians and 7% more claim to be unaffiliated with any religion.”
The Journal of Counseling and Development had similar findings, relaying that “Relational health and spirituality preserve wellness particularly among Black Americans… [illuminating] new pathways for exploring Black American well-being.”
Marketers should keep this in mind when designing wellness services for Black consumers or catering your existing campaign to your Black audience. Spirituality is important — but so is mental health. And that leads us to our next trend.
2. Mental Health is more important than ever
Mental health has steadily been on the rise as American consumers realize that it’s essential to overall health. As the data below shows, normalizing mental health is a growing trend — but those from diverse communities have often been left out. Mental health goes hand in hand with emotional wellness, making it a wellness category to many consumers despite being key to health as well.
When asked if poor mental health was a sign of weakness, just 23% agreed. And 65% of respondents said their own mental health is a priority.
Many in Hispanic and Black communities, for instance, deal with facing strong cultural taboos if and when they choose to seek mental health treatment. Physical health was seen as separate — and more important. It seems this is finally coming to an end in 2023, and the future of wellness is consumers who want to make a wide range of improvements.
“Black and Latino respondents are more likely than White respondents to prioritize their mental health.”
Black consumers, especially, are leading the charge — with “64% of Black respondents motivated to improve their mental well-being, compared to 58% of Hispanics and 55% of Whites.”
This is particularly fascinating. It shows that spirituality in black communities doesn’t add to the taboo against mental health treatment like it once did — at least not in adults under 45.
As recently as April 2022, a study stated that that “Black Americans may be less likely to seek conventional mental health services, often preferring to seek assistance within their social support networks, including spiritual and religious communities.” Our findings suggest that this negative conflation of spirituality and mental health treatment (like counseling services) is dissolving more each day.
Despite the prioritization of mental health amongst consumers, THE 3RD EYE’s study revealed that many believe their community is in dire need of mental health services. 41% of respondents admitted that they believe “Untreated mental illness” to be the biggest health and wellness issue their community faces.
3. And we’re FEELING good
With the wellness market at $1.5 trillion globally, we know that consumers are more motivated than ever to improve themselves — but in the past, wellness marketing has prioritized looking good. Wellness fads from the 90s like the South Beach diet or Slim-Fast were even named on the potential for physical transformation. As the definition of health and wellness converges for consumers, however, looking good doesn’t matter as much as FEELING good.
Of those surveyed, 24% percent began an exercise regimen this past year, and over half of the group chose “feeling good about self physically” as the most important reason for making the change.
Physical activity is not just about an external physical transformation. Respondents citing feeling confident, having energy, and reducing anxiety as most important — with “to look better” ranked as 8th in importance.
Let’s say your brand connects consumers to personal trainers nearby. Your 2024 should target the internal effects of exercise like improved energy levels.
What is the Percentage of Consumers Who Consider Themselves to be Healthy?
Despite endless information online (and misinformation — a consequence of influencer marketing that we discuss in the white paper), consumers don’t feel very confident in their health choices. Becoming a trusted source with reliable health & wellness information and collaborating with experts to educate can help consumers feel more empowered.
Let’s say you’re a brand in the wellness industry seeking to make improvements to your fitness app. What does the experience do to make your users feel confident? Perhaps you can collect their goals and provide targeted education that empowers them. Maybe you can add a feature to chat with an expert. There are endless ways to help your users feel educated and empowered.
All brands should understand their audience — but health & wellness brands are especially accountable. In the health and wellness space, understanding your consumer can mean saving their life.
From fitness wearables and health apps to broadening consumer perceptions, the future of health can be bright. We just need to promote health literacy and provide avenues for improvement that help consumers. And today, adults define wellness and healthy living more broadly than ever — so more brands than ever contribute to holistic health and the wellness industry.
Download our white paper DEFINING HEALTH & WELLNESS, AND THE BARRIERS TO CHANGE to discover key wellness trends, 6 strategies for companies to improve and.