According to the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), the “wellness economy” was valued at more than $4 trillion in 2018. This is roughly the combined GDP of the United Kingdom and Canada. Today, the same economy accounts for over 5% of global economic output. These rising numbers are proof of the wellness industry’s development, more so given the pandemic that hit us last year. The statistics also indicate the consumers’ changing relationships with their health care. More than ever before, people are now prioritising a healthy lifestyle and spending money on their well-being.
According to the recently released Direct Selling Association’s 2020 Growth & Outlook Survey (www.dsa.org), consumers continue to enjoy products and services offered by direct sellers. Health and wellness products, in particular, lead the channel in terms of size and growth with person-to-person sales as the most prevalent method of engaging with consumers.
If we are to go by direct sellers in the market, an increased awareness about the importance of immunity, health and nutrition resulted in the segment recording the highest year-on-year (y-o-y) growth of 20.45% during the first half (H1) of FY21.
According to the Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA), overall, the gross direct selling sales for the H1 of FY21 (April-September) was estimated to have crossed the Rs 7,500-crore mark as compared to Rs 7,200 crore in the same period a year ago, registering 4.7% growth in the H1 of FY21, states a report in The Tribune (https://www.tribuneindia.com/news/business/covid-fails-to-dent-sales-of-wellness-products-191095).
Here are the top trends in the wellness industry that have led to its growth:
A demand for immunity-boosting products: Even before COVID-19 hit us, the popularity of superfoods and all things organic was at an all time high. And when the pandemic struck, the demand for these products and immunity-boosting foods shot up like never before. From fruits and vegetables, beverages, nuts, seeds, dairy products to supplements, and other nutritional edibles/drinks, they all witnessed a huge demand and continue to do so.
All things healthy: One of the biggest trends we have seen in the past year has been people switching to healthy, homestyle food rather than processed food or eating out. Food aggregators such as Zomato and Swiggy doubled up their health food segments as cloud kitchens introduced new health brands on their menu, states a report on yourstory.com. Homestyle food was a hit amongst cities and people willing to eat right. Besides, there was an increasing awareness of healthier replacements such as jaggery, organic brown sugar, and A2 cow ghee in cooking. Healthier substitutes to mindless junk snacking have indeed emerged profitable for all stakeholders.
At-home fitness: With no access to gyms or outdoor spaces for most of 2020, people switched to virtual workouts and online classes. Home gyms are also finding more and more takers. As are fitness apps, software and nutritional supplements - the latter has seen an exponential rise in the last year.
Self-awareness: Increased consumer awareness of health problems and expectations for treatments is another factor that has led to the growth of wellness products. As stated in a news report in forbes.com (https://www.forbes.com/sites/forbesbusinessdevelopmentcouncil/2019/10/14/why-the-wellness-business-is-booming-and-how-to-succeed-in-the-industry/?sh=252fc11f41aa), the pervasiveness of digital and social media has led to people of all ages becoming more conscious of their health and well-being. Working adults with health concerns have a lot more information at their fingertips than they did 20 years ago and more options for consumer-wellness products.
The GWI describes wellness as “the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health.” The key phrase being “active pursuit.” Today, we are seeing an increasing crop of consumers who are proactive, and they’re spending their income on lifestyle-based wellness strategies. This, say experts, is the crux of the wellness economy, which GWI defines as “industries that enable consumers to incorporate wellness activities and lifestyles into their daily lives.”
With the numbers of health and wellness-conscious consumers only increasing, it no doubt holds well for the industry.