Global health and wellness: A case study for business innovation
There are few trends more perennial than the global focus on being well. Perhaps it’s no surprise that business leaders continue to search for new ways to capitalize on such trends, but as always, context and accurate application are crucial. We’ve said it before, and we’ll say it again: trends don’t just happen. They emerge from human systems and human decisions. So let’s break down some of the cultural and human-driven forces contributing to the larger macro trend of health and wellness that we have been monitoring for decades, and how this trend and others like it can contribute to a powerful trends framework: a custom lens through which your business can spot growth opportunities.
Global health challenges
While consumers have always linked being healthy to living a long life, the pandemic put systemic disparities in health access and the prevalence of chronic diseases under a microscope. This forced people to confront the concept of mortality in a way that many — especially younger consumers — had not done before. Our recent study on Health and Wellness in the US revealed that a heightened focus on supporting health in service of longevity has persisted, even as COVID-19 concerns wane.
Democratized health authority
Although trust in doctors and traditional health experts remains high (65% among total US consumers), the proliferation of alternative voices in the wellness space is challenging conventional medical authority. Consumers are reconsidering what defines health “expertise” and are increasingly experimenting with different health modalities — especially highly engaged consumers.
Expanded health literacy
Thanks to government policies and greater access to information, consumer awareness of the impacts that lifestyle, environment, and consumption choices have on their lifespan is growing. For example, consumers have become increasingly focused on getting enough sleep (up a whopping 14 points since 2021), staying physically active and buying better-for-you/natural foods and beverages in recent years.
Prevalence of mental health concerns
Anxiety, stress and depression represent a mounting challenge to global health. While the increased attention on mental health and wellbeing sheds light on this crisis, it also indicates that consumers are taking action in this area. 86% of all US consumers agree that mental and emotional balance is just as important as physical health.
The impact of the health and wellness macro-trend is clearly visible in consumers' daily lives. But how can you know when and how these should be applied within YOUR business to unlock innovation opportunities? This is where a trends framework is valuable, especially when considering global markets.
While macro trends often evolve slowly and structure the ways that individuals, groups, and companies act, trend drivers represent the ways macro trends shape consumer culture. Consider trend drivers as umbrellas under which individual trends fall. They reflect relatively broad shifts in consumer attitudes, expectations and behaviors. They can be helpful starting points for categories and brands to evaluate gaps and prioritize opportunities for product, service and marketing innovations. Together, macro trends and trend forces build the scaffolding for a trends framework.
So, what does this look like in practice? Health and wellness was central to illuminating key Trend Drivers for a leading global CPG manufacturer looking to drive growth across its key business units globally. Resulting opportunities were tied to a multitude of trends, ranging from established ones like organic products to emerging ones like microbiome health. Read more about the impact of this project in our recent case study.
When clients come to us with the express need for a future-looking perspective, we activate our system of cultural analytics, tools and methods. The result? Bespoke Trends & Foresight that is human-centered and culture-led. That being said, we believe that ALL of our work — even point-in-time primary research — benefits from understanding patterns of change. Understanding what’s happening with both consumers and the culture they live in helps us identify where the future is headed. What consumer-led trends have yet to be discovered for your brand?