A new report by McKinsey & Company reveals insights into shifting consumer attitudes and behaviour towards wellness across the globe.

The Future of Wellness Survey surveyed 7,500 consumers in Brazil, China, Germany, the US and the UK during August 2020.

Authored by McKinsey’s Shaun Callaghan, Martin Losch, Anna Pione and Warren Teichner, the report identifies six main consumers wellness interest categories:

1. Better health

2. Better fitness 3. Better nutrition

4. Better appearance5. Better sleep

6. Better mindfulness

Better health was voted the most popular dimension and experienced the highest level of spending across products and services in all six countries. This can likely be attributed to the pandemic spreading a new sense of urgency about the importance of good health and wellbeing.

McKinsey expects this trend to continue as the emphasis on physical and mental health is going to last for a long time to come as a result of COVID-19.

Appearance was the second most popular spending category for every country – except Germany, which reported better fitness as most important after better health.

Findings also indicated that consumers expect to increase their purchases of both wellness products and services over the next year.

In particular, McKinsey is predicting a ‘greater shift towards services especially those (such as personal training, nutritionists and counselling) that emphasise physical and mental health’.

Major consumer growth trends in wellness

The paper highlighted six new consumer wellness-related growth trends:

1. Natural/clean productsStrong demand was found among consumers, especially in Brazil and China, for natural/clean products, ranging from skincare, supplements and cosmetics to subscription food services and sleep enhancers.

2. Demand for personalisation

All countries reported healthy demand for personalisation in wellness services and products, such as personalised supplement subscriptions or personalised advice for sleep, fitness or nutrition based on data from wearables.

3. Shift to digitalThe pandemic has rapidly catalysed the shift to digital as more people seek to get their wellness fix without leaving their homes. McKinsey found that consumers in China reported the highest level of online spending for wellness products and services, followed by Japan, then Europe, the US and Brazil. Nevertheless, responses suggest that specific product categories such as fortified foods, multivitamins and skincare will still be predominately sold through in-person stores.

4. Influencers

The report labels influencers as a key part of the wellness market and findings showed that in the US, Germany, UK and Japan, 10 to 15 per cent of consumers say they follow social-media influencers and that they’ve already made a purchase based on an influencer’s recommendation. Furthermore, a much larger percentage say they definitely or probably will consider doing so in future.

5. The rise of servicesThe survey also highlighted a growing interest in services – including personal trainers, nutritionists and counselling services – that address physical and mental health needs. McKinsey sees services as a complementary facet of the wellness sector and stated that products will still remain a crucial part of the segment as they’re responsible for 70 per cent of self-reported consumer wellness spending globally.

6. Blurring category lines

Researchers drew on Lulu Lemon to highlight the new trend of companies offering a selection of services across the health and wellness categories and channels. The company recently acquired Mirror to supplement its clothing brand with a digital offering, alongside initiatives involving nutrition, mindfulness and in-person fitness offerings and classes.

Overall, McKinsey suggests the wellness market is set to continue experiencing continued growth and demand but advises both new and existing companies in the sector to think critically about strategies to engage consumers and continue to innovate to stand out from the crowd.

To read the whole report and access guidance from McKinsey about how to strategise in the wellness market, click here.