Updated: Mar 10
Consumers worldwide are spending more and more on wellness, and digital marketing plays an essential role. In this article, I'll explain the Top 3 "Must Do" for brands to be prepared for the future of the wellness industry. The shift to digital is happening at the speed of "a decade in days," and you will out if you don't start today.
Wellness is a global market heading to $7 trillion by 2025 — and growing at a rate of 5% to 10% per year . Digital marketing has played a key role in the growth of the wellness industry. By creating engaging content and using effective channels like social media, email marketing, and search engine optimization, brands can reach more consumers and inspire them to make healthier choices.
The Next Normal:
The future of wellness will be more connected and customized
Research by McKinsey & Company has shown that with rising consumer interest and resuming purchasing power, opportunities emerge in all markets, especially in six wellness categories: health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep, and mindfulness.
The survey conducted in six countries showed that 79% of respondents believed that well-being is essential, and 42% considered it a priority among their monthly expenses. Brazilians are the ones that invest the most in health, with 64.6% of their wellness expenditures allocated to this category, and were also, among the countries surveyed, the one that most prioritized expenditures on wellness in the last 2–3 years. In addition, consumers across all surveyed markets reported a substantial increase in wellness prioritization over the past three years.
In the coming years, more and more offerings will allow consumers to triage any medical problems, giving them the autonomy to solve minor health problems without having to leave their homes — going to the doctor only when is absolutely necessary.
During the pandemic, I had the experience of performing my test at home, with medical follow-up via video call during a PCR COVID-19 test. This shows how we are evolving in online communications with its use reaching beyond the corporate world.
In the coming years, another trend that should strengthen is the movement of medical devices, previously seen exclusively in offices and now being more present inside our home—many of these devices connected with smartphones and exchanging data with the family doctor.
Unlike the Health category, we will not see a mass migration of users from gyms to home solutions in the Fitness category. But on the other hand, it will be increasingly necessary to integrate fitness equipment with smartphones and smartwatches, thus enabling greater performance tracking and monitoring of the evolution of physical shape individually and independently.
Individualized coaching will play a significant role in motivating, guiding, and training fitness supporters.
People are increasingly looking for alternatives for a healthier and more sustainable life, which generates a movement of society searching for other options that lead them to a healthier life. Consumers are increasingly becoming aware of organic food, sugar consumption, and reading labels.
"About 35 percent of consumers in the UK, US, and Germany, are drinking plant-based milk at least part of the time, and half of them started in the last year." — Jessica Moulton
We are experiencing a significant change in the way society feeds itself, and it is happening much faster than we have seen in past decades — and this is only going to increase.
The cosmetics and appearance-related products industry has never been stronger and will have an even greater penetration by the end of this decade, betting more and more on natural products.
According to a recent market research report, the global personalized skincare market size was valued at US$17.2 billion in 2021 and is expected to reach US$38.9 billion in 2030 (InsightAce Analytic).
With the use of screens increasingly present in our daily activities, I would bet on products that offer protection against blue light. I'm sure that will be one of the most anticipated trends we will see in the near future.
E-commerce in the cosmetics industry is also expanding, and post-pandemic, this will remain strong, with major retailers offering in-store services to strengthen the consumer experience. It won't surprise me if you can get a tattoo in the same place you're buying your makeup because it's all about how you want to express yourself.
The sleep industry, which in the past was only focused on comfortable mattresses and pillows, is now investing in apps and devices that connect to your smartphone. Some companies are already developing apps that cross-reference this information with their fitness app, providing suitable exercise suggestions for someone who has had a stormy night's sleep, for example.
I see this cross-referencing of data as an inevitable and beneficial thing, as it will bring us information and suggestions suited to our lifestyle. Obtaining data for personalization and personal services is already a trend worldwide, so don't be surprised if your fridge soon suggests a breakfast menu based on your night's sleep and your schedule for a stressful day.
I believe that mindfulness, a practice that directs all attention to the present moment, will become increasingly popular and current in our lives.
Technology and wearables will also play a significant role in popularizing apps and online content about meditation and yoga, for example. So I also won't be surprised when my smartwatch's Headspace app prompts, "Andre, you need to calm down; how about a quick meditation?"
How brands should prepare for the future of the wellness industry.
Top 3 ‘Must Dos’ for companies
The recent increase in consumer interest and purchasing power presents enormous business opportunities, particularly as personal wellness spending rebounds after stagnating or even declining during the COVID-19 crisis. At the same time, the wellness market is becoming increasingly crowded, creating the need to be strategic about where and how companies compete.
Digital channels are indeed accelerating the way consumers interact with their favorite brands. However, there is also a strong trend towards purpose-driven brands motivated by a core mission and the need to solve a problem or meet a societal need. This is an excellent opportunity to elevate connection with consumers and make a lasting contribution to humanity.
Here are three strategies that, if applied correctly, can go a long way in helping companies capitalize on the rapid growth of this industry.
More personalization, please
For the majority of respondents to the McKinsey & Company survey, privacy is still a concern, but many (especially in Brazil and China) are more comfortable exchanging personal information for the personalization of services. Furthermore, a substantial majority of consumers worldwide say they prioritize personalization now more than they did two or three years ago.
Now more than ever, companies must continue to invest in personalized marketing capabilities to reach the consumer segments that are most interested in their products, with personalized messages and narratives for those consumers. In addition, you need to invest in personalized offers across all your touchpoints.
A wellness startup, for example, can provide personalized vitamin and supplement subscriptions based on information consumers submit through its digital channels.
Expand your digital strategy
The shift to digital channels is happening at the speed of "a decade in days." As a result, consumers will continue using more e-commerce and online services than other traditional channels even after the pandemic.
Some traditional channels will remain vital for specific product categories like fortified foods, multivitamins, and skincare, still selling predominantly through brick-and-mortar stores. However, other prominent categories, such as fitness wearables, are almost entirely native online.
Brands need to create seamless omnichannel and digital offerings to ensure they find their customers wherever they are. In addition to building relationships with channel partners, you need to develop a supply chain, package sizes, marketing, or something similar specifically for e-commerce. For service offerings like gyms, use a holistic online strategy to build app-enabled features that keep consumers engaged across the ecosystem.
For example, an online-only vitamin brand known for being sustainable originally offered vitamins for women but has expanded to include products for men and children. Its ecosystem consists of the company's app, integrated with Apple Health, and an active presence on social media.
Influencers are a crucial part of the wellness market and one that traditional companies have had to learn to leverage to connect with consumers. In the United States, Europe, and Japan, 10 to 15 percent of consumers say they follow social media influencers and have already purchased based on an influencer's recommendation . A much more significant percentage say they will definitely or are likely to consider doing so in the future.
In China and Brazil, the percentage of consumers who say an influencer guided their purchasing decisions is much higher, from 45% to 55%. This trend consistently applies to large-scale social media influencers (defined as 100,000 followers or more) and small-scale influencers (less than 100,000 followers).
Using influencers in your digital marketing strategy is key to winning over consumers across all social channels, partnering with agencies to identify people who naturally fit your brand and authentically resonate with your target consumer base.
Wellness is here to stay as consumers across nations plan to increase their spending on personal health, appearance, fitness, and more. If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it's that physical and mental health will remain a priority for millions of people across the globe for a long time to come.
Andre Havro, MBA