trends | Wellness | 7 min read

Marketing to Gen Z Consumers: How Should You Harness the Wellness Trend? 

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In 2019, a feel-good phenomenon penetrated the consumer landscape across all major industries. It’s currently valued at $4.2 trillion dollars, and your every purchase of CBD balm, rose quartz crystal and activated charcoal, helps it grows exponentially. You might have’s the wellness economy.wellness-economySource: Global Wellness Institute, Global Wellness Economy Monitor, October 2018

It’s so important today, it permeates through our everyday consumer choices. We want sustainable avocado, on gluten-free bread, washed down with a mushroom a vegan cafe. Because now more than ever, we are what we eat, where we go and what we wear. Our lifestyle decisions are our ‘well-being’. 

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Winter warming with an @orchardstlove Mushroom late ☕️ Chaga, the main variety used in mushroom lattes, is an adaptogen it works to calm the nervous system and act as a natural stress remedy. With high antioxidant values, it has anti-ageing properties, inflammatory, antibacterial, antiviral, and immune-enhancing properties. . If you are looking to refine and best understand your current health desires and fast track your wellness goals, book in for a naturopathy session. #aWayToWellness . . . . #liveinspired #love #guthealth #healthyrecipes #beautiful #food #wellbeing #health #wellness #fitness #mentalhealth #selfcare #mindfulness #motivation #yoga #nutrition #gym #happiness #healthy #selflove #healthylifestyle #meditation #life #inspiration #healing #healthyliving #holistic #weightloss #vegan

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And while we still love an 8-minute work-out, we’re reverting back to ancient ideals of holistic health. This means nourishing the mind, body, and soul, and we want our purchases to help us do it. Thanks to this complete approach to wellness, almost every industry has been able to leverage the megatrend. So to dig a little deeper, our researchers analyzed 2.1M posts about Health and Wellness on the social web, to find out what consumers want. 

In this post, we’re approaching wellness through the eyes of its most influential consumers: generation z. We’ll identify the top 4 themes that drove wellness conversations, brands leveraging them, and what your brand can do to adapt.

Grab your goji berries and we’ll dive in.

Gen Z: The ultimate wellness consumer

What makes Gen Z the ultimate wellness consumers?

In 2019 the digital natives surpassed Millennials as the world’s most populous generation at around 32%. In America, by 2020, they’ll make up almost 40% of all US consumers. Born into the era of democratized information and tech, they rewrote the rules on identity assigned by generations before them. They’re gender fluid, ethically conscious and ready to break down the stigma around stereotypes, sexuality and mental health. These values around consciousness and self-care are at the core of their well-being, and one way they choose to express themselves is through their own consumption. 

A holistic approach to wellness 

Most Gen Zers grew up with a holistic perception of health, understanding the link between their physical, emotional and mental well being. They’re ready to try new cuisines and like to jump on the latest food trends. They’ll be the first to sample plant-based meats, make ethical dietary choices and challenge what's harming the environment. And thanks to their exposure from a young age, they’re embracing mindful activities, meditation, and sports as a means to socialize. 

Above all, they’re the most diverse generation in history. They’re radically inclusive, and aware of global issues and expect their brands to do the same. 

4 key themes  identified around wellness

After analyzing over 210 million posts from users in China, France, and the United States, we identified 4 key themes.

1. Health: the most widespread need

The conversations we found, confirm we’re health-obsessed online. It’s an overarching theme driving better diets, fitness, mindful and spiritual practices. In a nutshell, we’re moving away from the medical cabinet towards holistic health toolboxes and they’re filled to the brim. 

When you look at the origins of holistic health, ancient cultures are at the heart of wellness. Asian, African and Middle eastern rituals have considered the interdependence of physical, mental and spiritual well-being for thousands of years, and now modern generations want in. Young consumers are ready to treat the cause of the problem instead of fixing the symptoms.

2. Love & self-love: the most universal emotion

A major need  in the online wellness community is love & self-love. Forget fake it till you make it, it’s time to love the skin you’re in. The concept of self-love and self-esteem has only gained momentum in the last half a century thanks to movements like feminism, enlightenment and increasing awareness of mental health. It’s a real opportunity for brands to harness a positive message and appeal to our universal emotion. In the words of RuPaul Andre Charles: “If you can’t love yourself, how the hell are you gonna love somebody else?”. 

Skincare brands are tapping into Gen Z values and stamping down stigma related to acne and problematic skin. Now it's all about embracing the skin you're in, no matter its condition. Gen Z want transparency and authenticity, not the promise of unattainable beauty portrayed all to often by beauty conglomerates. 

New skincare brand Blume, hit the mark perfectly. The female-specific brand, designed ‘self-care for the mind, body, and spirit’ in the form of hormonal skincare and organic menstruation products. The models are inclusive, unairbrushed and baring acne while the brand itself donates part of each sale to a cause. 

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💭 When it comes to blemishes, we know there are multiple types! Cystic acne is acne that's root deep below your skin's surface and tends to be more painful than your typical blackhead or white head.⁠ ⁠ We talk more on cystic acne causes & treatments on Blume University, your one-stop-blog for all things: skin care, sex ed, puberty and self care✨! ⁠ ⁠ To continue reading click the link in our bio 👀⁠ ⁠ -⁠ #skin #skincare #clearskin #healthyskin #glowingskin #skincareroutine #acnetreatment #naturalskincare #organicskincare #crueltyfree #instaskincare #skincaretips #beautytip #skincarerituals #igskincare #skincareaddict #sensitiveskin #freshface #skincaredaily #teenstyle #nomakeup #skincarediary #skincarelover #hormonalacne #acneproblems #adultacne

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3. Aesthetics

Aesthetics refers to the philosophy of beauty, and the spectrum just keeps on growing. We found that conversations around aesthetics were driven by various groups such as fitness, cosmetic surgery, and body positivity, and they haven’t gone unnoticed.

Major brands like L’Oréal, Shiseido, and Estée Lauder alongside smaller startups, are becoming increasingly aware of the need for inclusion in their marketing and product offerings. Chanel is expanding its cosmetics range to men’s makeup, as attitudes around gender-specific self-care are changing.

Alternatively, Gen Zers' increasingly liberal views on body positivity have brought aesthetics and cosmetic surgery into the mainstream. Fueled by social media filters, influencers, and self-love; non-invasive procedures are the new pop-in treatment.  

Aesthetic appearance has been a driving force behind traditional fitness for some time. And while it hasn't gone away, wellness has shifted ideals towards measurable, motivational health.

Part of the growing tech & wellness market is wearable technology that keeps track of our every move, facilitating positive changes in behavior. They help place power back into the hands of consumers trying to change their lifestyle. Using bio-metric sensors users are prompted to improve their results over time and stay consistent. According to Accenture, the use of wearables in the US grew from 9% in 2014 to 33% in 2018. 

The takeaway for brands is to adapt the message behind aesthetic beauty. Norms are changing and it's time for industries like beauty to represent changing faces of every race, gender and age group.

4. Mental health 

Mental health is still a highly taboo subject across the world and widely discussed online. But thanks to Gen Z, things are looking up. It’s the first generation to speak up about mental health concerns without stigma and try to address them.

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World Mental Health Day 2018 🌻⛈ We all have that voice inside ourselves, the one that can sometimes sit on our shoulders feeling like a tone of bricks and can bounce up and down in our mind pounding into us one self critical thought after another. We all have it, and who agrees it’s not fun in the slightest? 🌬 I have suffered with mental health issues since I was very young. In fact for my entire teenage years I was never truly myself. I had OCD and kleptomania from the age of 9 and I developed Anorexia when I was 13. I suffered with Anorexia alongside depression, self harm and suicidal thoughts up until the age of 19. I had been in care and treatment for years upon years but it wasn’t until my 18th birthday that I finally dedicated myself to recovery. (Recovery needs the, ‘I’) 🌺 The thing about mental illnesses is that no one ever chooses to suffer from them- no one can pick or choose which one they fancy, when or how long for. 

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They’re more likely to talk about their issues, use resources to help them and advocate for a balanced personal and professional lifestyle. Workplaces are already preparing for conscious employees of the future in the sphere of HR by training happiness officers. As well as subsidizing self-help resources, and creating quiet workspace environments.

Various startups in the US are democratizing access to mental health and wellness services via mobile applications. Adapting to busy lifestyles, brands like Ginger are providing access to behavioral health coaching, video psychiatry, and self-help content. In 55 seconds you can receive on-demand mental health support from real professionals. Another popular US application is Headspace, democratizing meditation on the go to help us lead happier lives among our daily stress.

And while wellness is often considered a luxury trend, it hasn’t stopped other industries from promoting it. Take Burger King for example.

Different sectors join forces around wellness

Our wellness obsession doesn’t stop at essential oils and energy crystals in the home, it blends and creates new industries. One notable example is wellness tourism. The GWI’s 2019 report, found 6.5 percent of all tourism trips worldwide are for wellness, reaching 830 million trips each year.

Young consumers are taking Ayahuasca trips to medicinally battle their demons. Or Ayurveda retreats to India to learn about specialized diet regimes, food preparation, and consumption. 

Travel mindsets have shifted to transformation and rejuvenation, with the expectation to return to normal life having achieved a sense of wellness. But how can big brands join in?

Indoor cycling giant SoulCycle already did. They took their inner-city Soulfam back to nature and created retreats off the bike. Using a wellness mix of healing workshops, mindful meditation, and campfire smores, the brand is working with luxury travel experts to help city slickers recuperate. Wellness might have humble intentions but its target market is luxury consumers.

This convergence of luxury travel and brand experience poses a huge opportunity for industries like beauty, fitness, and food. Beyond digital, brick and mortar, young consumers want to learn about new cultures, the ingredients in their products, and the ways they were produced, all while sharing this Instagrammable lifestyle content with their peers. Physical experiences create memories among consumers, that have a lasting effect on their feelings and emotions.

Learn how to leverage this mega-trend

What we covered here is just the tip of the iceberg. There's much more to learn about this mega-trend and how brands across different industries can harness it. So join us for a deep dive in our upcoming webinar. Sign up today!

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