The wellness market is booming, currently valued at £1.3 trillion, with a 5–10% annual growth rate. Adding on to 2021’s remote working lifestyle, mental wellbeing has been pushed up the agenda – now it seems everyone is talking about mental health. Consumers intend to keep spending on products that improve their health, appearance, fitness, nutrition, sleep, and mindfulness. There’s also a renewed focus on mental health and wellbeing in the workplace as it continues to be a key priority for businesses.
But, what’s next for the £1.3 trillion industry?
At Magnetic, we’ve been working with industry leaders in the health and wellbeing sector. We recently helped an exciting start-up to better understand their audience and identify opportunity areas for developing a new digital product. Through these collaborations, we’ve been keeping a close eye on emerging trends and areas of interest in the mental health and wellbeing space. Here are 3 trends you should know about.
Trend #1: Personalisation over data privacy
Consumers are willing to trade off a bit of privacy and a bit of data for a more personalised solution to their health and wellness. Data driven personalisation has already taken over nearly every part of our lives — from how we make decisions on what to have for dinner, to the latest beauty must-haves, and even what to read.
Data-driven decision-making is especially common in the wellness industries, and brands are evolving products and services to cater to the health-conscious consumer. In the food sector we’re seeing more awareness of ingredients, with brands cutting harmful stuff like salt and sugar from their products. The use of tracking and wearable technology has increased year on year. Products like Apple Watch, Fitbit, Strava, Moodflow and similar apps allow you to track nutrition, physical, mental and emotional wellbeing.
This trend continues in a sub-sector of health tracking: FemTech. A growing area of interest for the past two years, FemTech caters tech towards improving women’s lives and health needs and has blown up like the broader health tech space amid the pandemic. Femtech apps include:
- Mood and hormone cycle trackers, such as Moody Month
- Breastfeeding tools, Elvie
- Virtual fertility clinic, Apricity
- Ovulation and Fertility trackers, Glow
- Mindset apps, Clementine
- Digital Health products for menopause and perimenopause, Balance
- A product and community app, educating users on environmental impact of tampon and pad usage, The Period Company.
We are proud to have worked with the menopause app team behind Balance, which has just turned 2 years old. In that time they’ve reached over 1 million people across 216 countries. Together, we worked with the Balance team to envision, design, and deliver a digital health product to empower hundreds of thousands of women and non-binary people around the world; helping them to make the right decisions about what’s right for their bodies during perimenopause and menopause.
These new wellness businesses are fast creating a huge sub-sector of the tech industry. At the centre of this is the personalised and tailored product and services that we’re seeing in the wider industry. This sub-sector is particularly progressive, going beyond traditional in-app experiences, and proactively encouraging conversations between people of similar experiences, actively eradicating stigma and taboo topics. They are directly servicing women and non-binary people’s traditionally neglected needs — and with the Global FemTech Market expected to reach $10.1 billion by 2028 — they are increasingly grabbing the attention of investors.
Trend #2: Wellness and make it alternative
Health and wellness is highly individual. Everyone is on their own wellbeing journey. We’re noticing diversity of needs, and a curiosity for new solutions becoming a dominant force in the self-care space. This is driving consumers to look for alternative or non-traditional treatments as part of what is being dubbed a post-pandemic ‘mental health tsunami’.
So what have we noticed?
- Microdosing psychedelic drugs is leading the way in alternative mental health and wellbeing management, with Europe’s first psychedelic drug trials centre due to open in London soon.
- Apps (such as Minderful) encouraging users to embrace new hobbies and experiences such as ‘wild swimming’ as part of a proactive, holistic approach to wellbeing management.
- Consumers are increasingly turning to alternative remedies including CBD drinks to manage anxiety and depression and reduce overall alcohol dependence (a proven causative factor for poor mental health).
- Personalised vitamin brands such as Nourished or Everly claim to directly impact your wellness by improving your overall brain and bodily health through tailored supplementation. And nootropics such as Heights (endorsed by Stephen Fry) are specifically designed for increased wellbeing through enhancing cognitive function.
- There’s a preference for alternative natural and clean products focusing on consuming better to feel better, not just in food we eat but also the products we consume. There’s more of a consumer focus on ingredients, sourcing and ethical practices than ever before.
It’s clear there’s space for individual product and service offerings that provide alternative support that consumers are craving. Whether developing a new wellbeing product or service, filling a gap that meets the end customer’s needs (and actually understanding those needs) is always a good idea.
Trend #3 Augmented reality by prescription
Gamification is the latest example of how new technology can be applied to remedy consumer curiosity and enable mental wellness management.
Videogaming, augmented and virtual reality experiences are at the forefront of medical trials and academic research. Even last week The Times reported how doctors were using virtual reality to separate twins joined at the brain. What if you could step inside a virtual world and feel instantly calmer? A guided meditation by a virtual ocean, or a dream-like setting where games and tasks were focussed on positively enhancing your emotional wellbeing. Labelled ‘tech-ceuticals’, these virtual experiences are being used to combat mental health challenges and treat anxiety and stress. Even gaming is being prescribed to combat chronic health conditions.
For an innovation and digital design agency like ours, this all sounds incredibly exciting but there is also a counter trend to consider. Rising concerns about the use of technology in amplifying human disconnect and challenges around industry regulations and data, could threaten or counteract the discovered benefits technology can have on mental health and wellbeing.
So through these top three trends, what’s our biggest take away?
Knowing your audience and catering to their needs and wants, matters most. With the wellness market currently valued at over £1.3 trillion (currently 70% products and 30% services) and the majority of consumers stating they are looking to spend more on their wellbeing, there has never been a better time for consumers to explore their options, and companies to hone in on understanding their customers. With mental health and wellbeing needs being personal and subjective, knowing and catering to your audience is crucial. To better understand customer needs and create hyper relevant and innovative products and services, we would always recommend beginning with a focus on gathering direct insights through consumer research.
Magnetic is a design and innovation company that helps design better futures. We’ve worked with global businesses to build capabilities, products, services and transform organisations. If you’d like to find out more about our work, get in touch with Lucy Willett or drop us a line.
Authors: Hannah Silverstein & Lucy Willett