It’s no surprise that the global wellness economy is growing twice as fast as the rest of the economy. What is surprising, however, are the missed opportunities in the wellness world. In October, Ogilvy, a New York City-based British advertising, marketing, and public relations agency released The Wellness Gap Report, which looked at the importance of wellness to the skincare, food, snacking, airlines, financial services, hotels, and automotive sectors. “When we saw HSBC rename some customer-facing roles financial wellness consultants, we knew it was time to get some in-depth global insight on expectations beyond the usual wellness economy sectors,” says Marion McDonald, global practice leader, Ogilvy Health & Wellness. “Wellness was no longer a world of yoga, luxury spas, and the health food store, but it had reshaped real estate, tourism, money management, cars, alcohol, and much more. We had a hunch marketers were missing wellness growth opportunities by not thinking outside their lane.” The report revealed that for 73 percent of consumers, wellness is an essential element of a brand’s strategy. The study also uncovered what actions consumers expect brands to take to improve their wellness.
The online survey of 7,000 people, aged 18 to 55, from 14 countries across Asia, Europe, Latin America, and North America was conducted in April 2020 during the Covid-19 pandemic. Not surprisingly, the study looked at the impact the pandemic has had on the importance consumers place on wellness. Some of the actions taken in response to the pandemic include:
- Eating healthier food (73 percent)
- Getting better sleep (65 percent)
- Seeking wellness products (50 percent)
- Taking supplements (41 percent)
- Re-evaluating insurance needs (26 percent)
As the world grapples with this public health crisis, it’s clear wellness has become even more relevant and impactful to consumers, with 76 percent of respondents reporting an increased focus on wellness due to the pandemic. Although 73 percent of consumers believe brands need to embrace wellness as part of their core mission, only 41 percent think wellness claims from brands are believable. This authenticity gap is an area the industry needs to address. The study also revealed there was a wellness gap in every sector. It found that 80 percent of consumers want to improve their wellness but can’t find the options they want. This creates a great opportunity for brands with the ability to address the availability gap of when a product or service that consumers expect does not exist; the authenticity gap, which speaks to wellness claims that are understandable and believable; and the value gap, in which wellness needs balance being good for the price, good for the consumer, and good for the environment.
When it comes to wellness, the study found that brands are typically described as providing physical, mental, social, and/or purposeful benefits. “We want to feel connected through wellness and that our choices are sustainable and good for the planet,” says McDonald. “If brands are only getting one or two of these right, consumers can still feel a significant gap.” Here are some other key findings:
- 86 percent of consumers say “helping to stay in good health” is the most important attribute of a wellness brand.
- 80 percent of consumers also believe that an important attribute of a wellness brand is putting them in a positive frame of mind.
- 56 percent think wellness brands should “help me nurture or care for others.”
- 53 percent say wellness brands should help people feel connected.
- 71 percent of consumers believe wellness brands should help them make a positive difference in some way.
- 60 percent say that wellness brands should be good for the environment.
While it’s clear from the report that most consumers prefer brands that offer wellness benefits, it’s also interesting to note that 59 percent of respondents say wellness brands are worth paying more for. Moving forward, it will be important for wellness brands to offer the products consumers want, to build trust by providing evidence-based data, and to offer goods and services that are purpose-driven and improve consumer’s lives, community, and environment. Says McDonald, “The good news is that much of the growth opportunity does not require new products but rethinking the wellness brand experience, digital delivery, and use of behavior- change strategy to coach long-term change.”