“Life is really simple, but we insist on making it complicated”
For many of us, daily life is fast-paced and full of complexity. We balance many moving parts all at once, and because of this, it has become harder than ever to maintain healthy balance in life, both personally and professionally. The desire to reduce health-care costs is one force behind the rise of the wellness industry; the other is the growing demand from consumers for things that make them feel healthier.
In response to these needs, people today are spending more time and money on health and wellness products and services, realizing that maintaining good health is crucial to success in life. Numerous industries have begun to incorporate health and wellness into either their company culture and/or the products and services they deliver.
Some of the widespread health and wellness values that Americans are focusing on include:
- Back to the land: Organic food, urban farming, rural escape, sustainable agriculture
- Back to the body: Wellness, healthy lifestyle, nutrition, physical fitness, natural beauty
- Back to the basics: Health, love, family, peace of mind, quality of life
At this point, businesses can’t afford not to pay attention to this massive collective value shift.
Millennials put their money where their values are:
The most significant aspect of this shift, seen in Millennials in particular, is the understanding that health and wellness are crucial to improving and maintaining quality of life. A recent consumer study showed that Millennial women in particular place greater emphasis on new status-currency values such as wellness, saving money, and naturalness. They value disconnecting/unplugging, fitness, and simplifying above all other values. Women also cited the importance of grounding influences like locally grown foods and community, family, and spirituality.
We have discussed Millennial consumer trends numerous time in our blog, because we see the importance of having a strong grasp of this group’s preferences and desires. As their purchasing power increases, Millennials continue to drive consumer demand - they are currently 25% of the population and exceed the number of Baby Boomers by 3 million. As consumers, Millennials, stand to have equal or greater influence than their predecessors, especially considering differences like wealth, education, and their acceptance of new ideas.
Industry examples - Large Corporations:
The appearance of health and wellness trends in major corporations serves as a testament to the growing importance of wellness to the mainstream population. Here are a few examples:
- General Mills now has an on-site fitness and medical center at their headquarters, and offers outside yoga classes that are well-attended.
- Wal-Mart is selling organic food. (U.S. sales for organic food and non-food rose 11.5 percent in 2013, to $35 billion, according to the Organic Trade Association.) There is no shortage of controversy around the changing standards of America’s Organic Certification processes, but our point here is that corporate behemoths are entering the game)
- Coca-Cola is launching a wellness drink (regardless of how we may feel about this attempt by a company which has created one of the most unhealthy products on the planet, the company’s attempt to offer a wellness related product is significant here.)
- Discover Communications in Washington DC, offers a four month fitness challenge that has a 65% participation rate by employees annually.
- Last year, Goldman Sachs enlisted 3,200 employees in a week -long ‘resilience program’ which included courses on nutrition, fitness, and sleep habits. The goal was to help employees feel more balanced in both their personal and professional lives.
In addition to large-scale corporate culture shifts, many new startups and apps are cropping up to meet the growing demand for wellness-related products and services. Here are a few successful examples that we like:
Industry Examples: Startups and Apps
- Mind Body Green: An online resource offering resources for daily health and wellness . The site has become an incredibly popular source of information and promotion for a wide variety of wellness-based brands and products and sources much of its content from invited guest writers.
- Health Tap - using an interactive health network and app, Health Tap is connecting patients with doctors. It enables virtual consultations with doctors and a platform for patients to ask questions and receive answers quickly via a messaging portail. Fun fact: Within the next four years, 1.7 billion smartphones are forecasted to have mobile health apps installed.
- Nike+ Fuel app: This app allows people to track and share their activity and movement throughout the day.
- Nature Box: This is a subscription-based model which allows the customer to order a custom package of healthy non-GMO, vegan snacks that get sent right to their door.
- MapMyFitness: Founded in 2005, this Austin, Texas-based tech company powers one of the largest fitness-focused social networks on the web, providing them with a range of GPS-enabled technologies to map, track, and share their workouts online.
Consumers today are looking for ways to take charge of their health and wellness and maintain work-life balance. The wellness industry is growing exponentially each year and the trend is expected to continue to do so. Many of these values are spearheaded by Millennials, the imminent consumer group in America that will shape the future.
Companies that put in the effort to support the wellbeing of their employees and consumers alike will stand out against competitors. We think this is great news: Helping support health and wellness turns out to be good the people AND great for business.