Health & Wellness Trends for 2021

January 6, 2021

With the start of a new year, conversations inevitably pivot to resolutions and plans for self-improvement. 

Eat healthier foods, be more active, find balance - you know the drill. 

With the onslaught of “new year new me” content, we thought now was a good time to dive into some predicted wellness trends for 2021. 

Whether you’re planning a new product, adding to a line, or just looking for a hot New Year’s angle, this piece is packed with good ideas about the future of the $4.5 TRILLION global wellness market. 

For many, wellness is a market saturated with highly alienating, often condescending, and frequently inaccessible products just asking to be mocked (I KNOW some readers have 🔥hot takes🔥 on THAT Goop candle). 

Despite accusations of “McMindfulness” and supporting a Wellness Industrial Complex - this industry isn’t going away.  

After a challenging year that saw an increase in ice cream sales and a decrease in deodorant sales, accompanied by an upswing in stress, anxiety, and depression due to *gestures wildly at all of this,* wellness is increasingly on the minds of consumers who had a less than ideal 2020. 

The overarching themes for health and wellness in 2021 are approachable, manageable, and seamless solutions that transition the wellness space from exclusive to inclusive with an increased awareness of mindfulness. 

Let’s dive into some specifics: 

😴  Sleepcare

There’s a $432 billion sleep market - and we still aren’t sleeping.

In a year where 60% of us have experienced worse than usual sleeping patterns, sleep is a renewed priority for many. A good night’s sleep is increasingly viewed as the foundation of self-care and healthy living.

The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) predicts a shift in focus from generic sleep solutions to circadian health optimization. The TIMING of biology, of our sleep, and of all brain and body systems controlled by the circadian clock, will be our new focus. Priority will move away from sleep and towards a more fulsome “circadian rhythm optimization focus.”

Look for: 

  • Biodynamic lighting solutions
  • Circadian eating 
  • Audio stimuli ASMR & soothing soundtracks 
  • Sleep-inducing diffuser blends & other luxurious bedtime routines 
  • Sleep yoga & before sleep workouts
  • Natural sleep aids

💪  At-home fitness 

No surprises here. Fitness has become increasingly important as more of us are sitting all day.

In 2019, a mere 7% of consumers used live-streamed workouts; during COVID-19, this increased to over 80%. 

💻 Rise of telehealth 

Remember WAITING ROOMS!? 2020’s move to telehealth is a major disruptor for the medical industry. 

No doubt, 2020 was a year of heightened mental health awareness accompanied by an expanding category of mental health tech. We’ll likely see increased virtual therapy and support groups, alongside mindfulness apps, wearables, chatbots and other resources that help manage our anxieties and emotions and embrace both convenient treatment and a focus on self-care. 

You can also expect to see a rise in direct to consumer home testing services alongside a fertility tech boom, as reproductive health and assistance increasingly moves to the mainstream leveraging tech to provide new solutions.

🥗 Fuelling immunity

We’ve all got illness on the brain and are doing everything we can to ensure our wellness. Glamour predicts an increased emphasis on nutrient-rich foods that build the body’s immunity in the new year. 

Covid has seen a major jump in liquor sales and consumption. We get it, it’s been tough. But consumers are starting to look for that feeling of indulgence - minus the hangover. There’s an opportunity for healthier alcohol substitutes and mood-enhancing beverages. 

Look for: 

  • Emphasis on healthy, nutrient-rich foods that build the body’s immunity 
  • Clean eating, superfoods, and foods that prompt healthy gut bacteria
  • Vitamins and supplements industry becoming more approachable and playful
  • Increased awareness and acceptance of mood enhancers: both supplements and infused into food, beverage, and personal care products
  • Sustainable packaging 
  • Community-focused food supply chains 

❤️ Focus on intimacy 

The pandemic has initiated a reassessment of intimacy with website traffic for sex-focused businesses and sex toy sales surging during lockdown. In April 2020, BuzzFeed reported that sex toy sales were up nearly 600% compared to April 2019. According to Digiday, publishers like BuzzFeed and The Strategist are capitalizing on that trend after seeing their own conversions on this product category increase during the pandemic.

✨ Manifestation Techniques 

According to Pinterest, “Manifesting is the new nesting,” as searches for "manifestation techniques" exploded by 105% on their platform in 2020. 

For the uninitiated, manifesting is the technique of identifying what it is you really want and putting it out into the universe by saying it out loud. Planting the seed, then backing it up with action. The idea is that by curating your thoughts, you'll overcome obstacles like fear, self-doubt and procrastination. 

Other more woo woo mystically focused trends saw a rise in Pinterest searches, such as protection crystals, which saw a 100% search increase. Keep an eye out for more alternative spiritual methods entering the mainstream. 

🏠 “Wellterior” Design 

When your home is also your office, gym, restaurant, spa, and social hub - odds are you’re going to want to invest in the space. With the likely trend of more flexible at-home work on the horizon, customers will only be more focused on cultivating an at-home oasis. 

2020 saw an uptick in home tech like air purifiers, thermostats and fragrance diffusers, and the ball should keep rolling into the new year. 

Pinterest noticed a particular focus on the at-home bath experience with searches for "bath tea recipe" up 60% and "deep soaking bath" increased by 145%. People are looking for an upgraded at-home spa experience for self-care and escapism.

🧘‍♀️  Mindfulness 

Meditation and mindfulness are the fastest growing health trends in the US, with nearly 40% of people reporting weekly meditation and breathwork sessions. The US meditation industry is now worth $1B, according to IBISWorld.

Consumers are looking for simple solutions for stress, anxiety, burnout or exhaustion.

Pinterest saw a 3x increase in searches for mindfulness activities for children on their platform. 

Pinterest suggests that tech brands or app services can promote morally-minded streaming content for children. Consumer goods can use creative assets to encourage parents to add a positive note in a kid’s lunch box, or add mindfulness reminders on their school supplies or at-home study space.

👵🏻 Ageing, but like, cool

According to GWI today’s 60+ generation is ageing radically different from those in the past. They’re starting businesses, running marathons and (were) travelling wildly *looks longingly at suitcase.* They’re a powerful demographic that, in countries like the US, hold the highest percentage of disposable income. Yet the “silver economy” attracts only 10 percent of marketing budgets. That could change in 2021, as The World Health Organization projects the 60+ population will nearly double from 12 to 22 percent by 2050.  

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