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McKinsey’s latest research reveals the six most crucial US consumer wellness trends

Published in Spa Business Handbook 2023 issue 1
47-55 per cent of Black consumers want more wellness products / shutterstock/mavo
47-55 per cent of Black consumers want more wellness products/ shutterstock/mavo

A report released by McKinsey reveals insights into shifting consumer behaviour towards wellness in the US.

The Future of Wellness Survey gathered data on 2,000 US consumers. Overall, it predicts that the US wellness market will continue its rapid growth. The report also reconfirmed the findings of previous editions of the survey – that the main consumer trends are focused on better health, fitness, nutrition, appearance, sleep and mindfulness.

Interestingly, however, the researchers observe that although spoiled for choice with wellness services and products, consumers still feel that their needs are unmet. The report highlights the six most crucial trends that will give businesses an edge and put them in the best position for success and growth in the years ahead.

1. ‘Natural’ and ‘clean’ have their limits
McKinsey researchers witnessed a decline in interest for products labelled as ‘clean’ and ‘natural’, with many consumers now valuing efficacy over these qualities. One factor at play, they say, is there may be a degree of overexposure to these claims and a perception they’re a form of greenwashing. The report suggests companies reevaluate product messaging relating to clean and natural claims and “seek to differentiate themselves from the messaging of peers”.

2. Differences in private label preferences
The survey shows that US consumers are prioritising private-label and smaller brands differently, depending on the product category or how established they are.

In newer categories (such as juice cleanses) or where the science is starting to gain widespread acceptance (such as gut health), emerging brands are at the forefront of product and business model innovation, which consumers recognise and value.

McKinsey says the pace of innovation presents opportunities for companies to enter the market.

3. Increasing focus on sleep
Forty-five per cent of McKinsey’s respondents labelled better sleep a very high priority. Over a quarter say they’ll “definitely place a higher priority on sleep in the next two to three years”.

In comparison with previous years, consumers are now offered a wide variety of products to help improve sleep, such as wearables, smart mattresses and supplements. However, McKinsey highlights that it’s the area with the greatest unmet consumer need and consequently there’s a significant opportunity for new companies to enter the arena and disrupt it. Researchers suggest companies that tie their products to tangible improvements in sleep will be the most successful.

4. Millennials spend more
Findings clearly indicate that millennials in the US top the bill as the generation that most prioritises health and wellness. They also exhibited the highest average purchase rate of wellness products and services of any generation in the six months to April 2022. To tap this crucial consumer base, McKinsey recommends that companies should invest in marketing that’s tailored to appeal to this segment, such as tapping influencers or celebrities for marketing campaigns or working with social media channels such as TikTok or Instagram.

5. Black consumers’ needs unmet
The report also exposes that Black consumers are the group with the greatest unmet needs, with 47-55 per cent of this segment saying they needed more wellness products and services to meet their needs. In comparison, only 35-39 per cent of Asian consumers and 30-35 per cent of White consumers said the same.

McKinsey feels this demand will only increase and recommends businesses allocate a portion of their R&D budgets to understanding what types of products can satisfy these consumers.

6. Corporate wellness surge
Researchers noted that since the start of the pandemic, there’s been an influx of wellbeing-related employee benefits. To remain ahead of this curve, McKinsey advises companies to explore corporate partnerships that enable them to offer their products and services as part of staff wellness programmes – itself a growing segment.


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