Nicole Dunn is the CEO of Dunn Pellier Media, Inc; PR for the fitness, health and wellness sector.
Amid the Covid-19 pandemic, health and wellness have become more important than ever before. And the wellness industry has pivoted fast.
Increased health consciousness has fueled the wellness industry into overdrive, and it’s becoming a stronger, fitter industry. In recent months, we’ve seen a growing demand for wellness products and services that people can use from home, and many companies are coming to the forefront to meet this demand. As they do, we gain insights into what the future of health and wellness may look like.
Here are three ways the industry has pivoted to meet consumers’ growing at-home purchase demands.
1. At-Home Fitness Has Become More Popular
A lot of people find something special about going to the gym for a daily workout. However, given the pandemic, many of us no longer have this option, or don’t feel comfortable working out in a public space.
Fortunately, over the past half a century or so, the U.S. has developed a robust home-based fitness culture, pioneered by the likes of Jack LaLanne and Jane Fonda. This strong history provides the perfect foundation for countless consumers at present to embrace at-home workouts. However, now, rather than sweatin’ with Richard Simmons on VHS tape, we’re getting fit with influencers on Instagram, yoga instructors on Zoom and various apps that combine community, technology and our favorite personal trainers all in one place.
The fitness world has reinvented itself, and its platforms for the at-home workout demand follow what companies like Netflix and Hulu did for entertainment. Brands like Peloton and The Mirror have virtually changed the way many of us work out at home. On-demand streaming classes and personal workouts are now more popular than ever. In fact, compared to February, Peloton’s March app downloads increased by five times.
Many consumers also are more eager than ever to build at-home exercise spaces; between Jan. 1 and March 11, online sales of fitness equipment increased by 55%. On top of this, some gyms have even turned to renting or selling their equipment.
I see at-home fitness increasing even more with so many people continuing to work from home. After many months in quarantine, consumers’ approach to fitness, health and wellness has shifted, and it appears that more consumers are taking control of their health now than ever before.
I think wellness in 2021 will be of the utmost importance in consumers’ lives. Here’s where brands can shift to position themselves to be attractive to all people versus just certain groups:
• Offer pricing that’s affordable during challenging economic times as more consumers shift to self-improvement.
• The digital fitness and health space will likely become even more crowded as the pandemic continues, so brands will need to have an offering that’s new and different from the rest of the competition. A good brand story of how you are helping people through this difficult time can go a long way.
2. Grocery Shopping Has Shifted
Grocery shopping is another part of the wellness world that has dramatically shifted since the pandemic began. Many people turned to meal-kit delivery companies, like Purple Carrot and Sun Basket, during the lockdown, and online grocery shopping has become more popular as well. The online grocery category saw a 100% increase in daily online sales between March 13 and March 15. With the pandemic not likely to end anytime soon, I think we can expect these trends to continue for the foreseeable future.
Furthermore, food is a fundamental part of wellness and healthy living, and more people than ever are looking at food as medicine. This means that the wellness industry is no longer a niche market. Meal-kit delivery companies and online grocery shopping are likely part of the future of this industry.
I think companies and retailers should be getting ready for the next phase. Beef up your marketing and PR strategy and budget. It’s a great time to be forward-thinking when it comes to research and development. Be ready for more shifts in consumer spending and future trends related to how people purchase food.
3. Use Of Telemedicine Has Soared
The use of telehealth has been rising slowly over the past decade, but the pandemic has dramatically accelerated its growth. The number of U.S. consumers using telehealth rose from 11% in 2019 to 46% this year. As adoption continues, it’s estimated that up to $250 billion of current U.S. health care spending could be shifted to telemedicine.
Virtual care saves us time, and it also creates new models for care. It could be the future of health care.
Telehealth does pose some challenges as not all patients have access to the necessary technology, and not all health care workers are prepared. Health care facilities may have to train staff on how to move from providing care face-to-face to doing so virtually. Companies may have to reposition themselves to manage this growing trend and evolve.
The Future Of Health And Wellness
It’s no surprise that the whole world is changing due to the pandemic. I don’t think the wellness trends we’re seeing will start to slow down until the pandemic ends, and I definitely don’t see them going away forever.
Some interesting creative brand innovations and business model pivots have come out of this situation. Right now, the wellness companies that are doing the best are the ones that sprung into action to think outside of the box and gain an edge in an uncertain time. Consumers are taking more control of their own health with at-home wellness, and brands that can differentiate themselves quickly through the trends in the marketplace will likely become and remain leaders in the ever-growing wellness industry.
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