Health and wellness trends 2021 – summary of our new report

Woman walking in the sun
Image of the post author Jodie Shaw

The global health and wellness industry is booming. Already a top priority for many consumers pre-Covid, health and wellness has come into even sharper focus as a result of the pandemic. Research from McKinsey estimates that the global wellness market is worth $1.5 trillion and is growing fast – at a rate of 5-10% per year. But what are the big health and wellness trends for 2021 that brands need to watch?

Four key health and wellness trends for 2021

This blog post summarises 4 key trends from our latest report: Health and wellness trends for 2021. These are:

  1. My health on my terms. Advances in tracking and testing are facilitating personalized health and nutrition recommendations on demand
  2. Mental fitness. Consumers will take a more proactive and preventative approach to mental health
  3. The science of sleep. The global sleep economy shows no signs of slowing down, but innovation in the category will be driven by a new focus on circadian health.
  4. Function at the fore. No longer limited to just physical health, brands are focusing on products to better the body and the mind.

Read the summary below or download the full report to learn more about these trends and how brands can respond. It contains inspiring cases studies of companies across the world who are innovating to capitalize on these trends.

My health on my terms

One of the most significant developments in health and wellness has been the rapid advances in tracking and testing, which are facilitating personalised health and wellness recommendations on demand.  

Wearables are becoming ever more sophisticated. The models on the market now allow consumers to track more granular metrics than ever before, with Mind Body Green hailing this a new era of “micro-tracking”. Not only are wearables collecting a wider range of data, they’re using this to better empower their users. Oura, for instance, the world’s first wearable ring, provides a “readiness score” to help users understand when they are at their best – both mentally and physically – as well as when they should focus on recovery.

Similar developments are happening in the world of testing, with companies springing up that allow users to complete a series of tests at home, and then personalise their recommendations based on this. We profile the best of these in the full report but the really interesting thing about these examples is that, for the first time, they have real potential to enter the mainstream. In the past, in-home testing has been a barrier to personalised health and nutrition, but now, greater familiarity with the concept as a result of the pandemic could open the door to new services which combine tracking with testing to create hyper personalised recommendations at speed.

There’s certainly interest in these kinds of services, with 88% of consumers in the US, UK and Germany prioritising personalisation in health and wellness as much as, or more than, they did in the past two to three years, according to the McKinsey study.

Mental fitness

Over the last decade, mental health has become an increasingly important part of the conversation when it comes to health and wellness. This has come into even sharper focus as a result of the pandemic. The impact of the virus and the resulting lockdowns have seen anxiety and depression skyrocket and, in line with this, mental health has become a key focus. In China, for instance, 87% of consumers are focused on taking care of their mental health, according to research by PWC conducted after the onset of the pandemic.

This isn’t a short- term trend. Research we conducted to determine which of the behaviours adopted during the pandemic will persist in the long-term found that undertaking activities to support mental health is one of the areas with greatest sticking power. Businesses are increasingly prioritising mental health too. Recent research we conducted in partnership with Bloomberg found that 66% of companies are engaging an external vendor to provide healthcare / wellbeing training for their employees and half are looking to support employees with mental health and stress management.

In line with this growing recognition of the importance of mental health, we see the concept of mental fitness coming to the fore. What do we mean by this? This a move towards taking a more proactive and preventative approach to mental health, where consumers manage their mental health in the same way that they manage their physical health. The US is a market that’s really leading the way here. We’ve already seen a whole host of brands gaining traction but one of the most interesting is a company called Coa, which bills itself as the country’s first “mental health gym”. We profile Coa and other brands leading the way in our full report.

Free report

Health and wellness trends for 2021

The global health and wellness industry is going from strength to strength. Already important to consumers before the pandemic, health and wellness have come into even sharper focus, with the industry undergoing significant transformation in response to Covid.

To help brands navigate these changes, we’ve developed a new report exploring 4 key trends that will shape health and wellness in 2021, profiling the brands and innovations leading the way.

Download the report

The science of sleep

Sleep is big business – with the industry set to be worth a massive $585 billion by 2024 according to Statistica. The impact of the pandemic is fuelling growth in this sector – with consumers placing an increasing emphasis on quality sleep against a backdrop of anxiety and stress.

This is leading to a more scientific approach to sleep. The Global Wellness Summit predicts that a new focus on circadian health will shape the products and services we see in the category. (A number of these – from a smart mattress to connected lighting – are profiled in our report.) Circadian health relates to aligning behaviors with our natural circadian rhythms – 24 hour cycles such as the sleep-wake cycle, which are influenced by external factors like natural light and temperature.

Shifting the way we think about sleep to place greater emphasis on circadian rhythms could have broader implications when it comes to other behaviours, for instance, disconnecting from devices before bed or the way we care for our skin, making this an interesting space to watch.

Function at the fore

The fourth and final big trend we see is a growing interest in functional food and beverages that support better physical and mental health. The most evident application of this is in the field of immunity boosting food and drink. According to re­search from Innova Market Insights, 60% of consumers globally are seeking out food and beverage products that support immune health and we’ve seen a seen a slew of product launches in this space as brands seek to capitalise on this trend. Increasingly, we’re seeing innovation extending beyond this to food and beverage products that support the mind. We feature the best of these in the full report. For brands looking to tap into this trend, this is a relatively nascent category so there’s real potential here, as well as for cross-over products to improve both physical and mental health.

To learn more, download the full report: Health and wellness trends for 2021

To learn more about how these trends, how they are evolving and the brands leading the way, download the full report. Alternatively if you’d like to speak to us to understand more about how these trends are playing out in your market, get in touch.