Health and Wellness Business Trends for 2021

Jessica Elliott

Jessica couples her 24 years of restaurant and hospitality industry experience with meticulous research to deliver insight into technology, operations, and marketing topics. Her optimized copy helps companies engage their audience while strengthening their communication with clients, employees, and management.

Sportswoman training on treadmill in gym and wearing face mask to protect herself against coronavirus during global pandemic of covid-19 virus.

The push toward healthier lifestyles started well before 2020, but the global pandemic paved the way for prominent health and wellness business trends. What’s in store for your brand this year? How are your clients approaching 2021?

Let’s start by putting that rocky year behind us. It’s time to focus on ways your company can help clients as everyone navigates a new year. Transform or enhance your wellness practice by exploring opportunities across several health and wellness sectors.

How behavior drives health and wellness business trends

Massive work and personal life changes resulted in behavioral shifts in 2020. Although interest in health and wellness has steadily risen for several years, the pandemic changed the way people think about many products and services.

It altered daily activities and, in some cases, temporarily halted healthy activities, such as gym use or in-person mental health visits. A new Optavia survey reveals that an increasing number of people are embracing health and wellness priorities:

  • 61% plan to focus on healthy eating habits over work/life balance
  • 70% crave quality sleep rather than achieving a fitness goal in 2021
  • 43% agree that the pandemic changed their view of what it means to have a healthy mind
  • 63% already improved their health routines since March 2020

People also overwhelmingly agree that they “need support to maintain healthy habits as the pandemic continues.” In 2021, health and wellness brands can be the support their target audience needs.

1. FemTech gains ground

Women make the majority of health decisions and spend more on health care services. But, getting venture capital for a FemTech startup or finding enough scientific data is tricky. However, leaders in FemTech, also called female technology, aim to change this.

FemTech is a women-centric digital health sector providing diagnostic tools, wearables, mobile apps, and software. In 2018, “FemTech market size surpassed $16.5 billion and is projected to secure over 16.3% Compound annual growth rate (CAGR) up to 2025,” according to Global Market Insights.

FemTech opportunities 2021

Rock Health, a full-service seed fund, notes that “companies operate across five segments,” including chronic disease, fertility, lifestyle/wellness, pregnancy/motherhood, and sexual and gynecological health.

The company identified key sectors where health and wellness businesses could meet unmet needs. These include support for:

  • Black mothers focusing on maternal mortality
  • Culturally-competent care for transgender and queer populations
  • Caregivers, especially members of the “sandwich” generation
  • Sexual health resources for women and non-binary people
  • Aging populations
  • Integrating behavioral health into whole-person care
  • Highly stigmatized conditions

2. Consumers still want accessibility from anywhere

Your clients are anxious to get back to in-person visits. But, they’ve had a taste of virtual yoga or online therapy sessions available from anywhere and on any device. The convenience and flexibility offered by digital health and wellness solutions will drive trends in 2021.

Virtual services won’t replace your brick and mortar practice or fitness center. Instead, on-the-go options may be add-on features or built into a monthly subscription for extra value.

Take advantage of this trend by nurturing online relationships. Build digital assets that deliver consistent and frictionless experiences. And don’t forget to check-in with your clients throughout the year using email, surveys, or social media polls. Doing so helps you gauge the long-term feasibility of your online programs.

3. Increased interest in wellness while traveling

People are itching to get on the road or plane to their next destination. Yet, many have safety concerns or crave a holistic experience over a crowded resort. Health and wellness travel companies can meet expectations by reassuring clients about safety precautions and offering holistic wellness vacation packages, such as:

  • Wellness staycation bundles
  • Nature-related activities for mindfulness
  • Fitness options for multi-night trips
  • Sensory retreats

4. Digital and physical safety remains paramount

Trust in brands is crucial in the health and wellness industry. If your potential and current clients feel uncomfortable putting personal health data online or visiting your wellness practice, it’ll be tough to earn their trust. Instead, brands must continue to emphasize the safety precautions they take online and in-store.

Health safety

Between sanitizing hands and stifling a cough in the store, 2020 heightened awareness about safety practices. Health and wellness businesses that provide safe environments, and fulfill the overall perception of safety, earn client trust. Do this by:

  • Displaying policies and procedures at your physical business in several prominent locations
  • Adding a page on your website explaining your guidelines and tying your sanitation practices to your brand’s value and mission
  • Listing a short note to your email signature reminding clients of the steps you’re taking to ensure their safety

Digital safety

Although consumers want digital health and wellness solutions, cybersecurity and data safety are concerns. With extensive cyberattacks on major health systems, customers are wary about handing over sensitive data. Unfortunately, there isn’t a one-size-fits-all online security solution. Small companies can start by:

  • Selecting reputable software vendors that prioritize cloud security
  • Using comprehensive antiviral and malware detection tools
  • Assessing how and where you access sensitive data to determine vulnerability to attacks

Supply chain security

Depending on your market, you may see an increase in concern about sustainable practices and supply chain transparency. Both of these issues relate to overall safety and security concerns. Boost consumer confidence by:

  • Being clear about where you purchase products and supplies
  • Review your suppliers’ brand to ensure it meshes with your mission and value
  • Diversify your vendor list to balance your budget while locally sourcing ingredients

5. DIY and in-home experiences drive sales

Consumers expect life to normalize in 2021, allowing for more in-person experiences. But this doesn’t mean they want to give up do-it-yourself options, new hobbies, or in-home experiences. Health and wellness businesses that package at-home experiences and products in new ways can leverage this wellness trend.

We’ve seen health companies offering build-your-own experiences, with in-home spa days or meditation sessions for individuals, partners, or families. Others added an infographic with their product to encourage customers to re-create the event in their home.

6. Health and wellness clients turn to holistic self-care

The $450 billion self-care market isn’t slowing down, with ASD Market Week reporting that “Google searches for self-care products went up 250% percent since 2014.” PwC also found an uptick, with the majority of people saying after COVID-19 they’re more focused on self-care habits, such as:

  • Mental health and wellbeing (69%)
  • Physical health (69%)
  • Medical needs (64%)
  • Diet (63%)

Furthermore, Optavia’s survey finds that 24% of people exercise for a mental health boost, and 22% are more mindful. As more consumers adopt a holistic approach to self-care, small businesses can assist them on that journey. To meet this diverse audience’s demands, health and wellness companies will build self-care products and support services into their brand offerings.

7. Personalized nutrition takes the stage

While personalized nutrition isn’t new, 2020 drove home the vast differences in medical outcomes for people in underrepresented groups. It also boosted awareness of pre-existing conditions. In fact, 31% of respondents to an ADM study said they “are already purchasing more items tailored to health and nutrition.”

In 2021, nutrition professionals will use biohacking tools and artificial intelligence to deliver personalized experiences. And consumers will actively seek out functional comfort foods that work in a busy life setting. Top health and wellness business trends focus on:

  • Metabolic wellness
  • Immune function
  • Healthy weight management
  • Digestive health
  • Cardiovascular diseases

8. Consumers focus on immune health

In 2020, “More than 50% of consumers have increased their consumption” of immune health supplements,” according to a market outlook and forecast report. Furthermore, the $4.04 billion North American market continues to grow, especially in segments such as:

  • Medicinal mushrooms
  • Preventive health expenditures
  • The rise in chronic illnesses and virus outbreaks
  • Probiotic supplements

Yet, immune therapies go beyond supplements. For example, educational classes or immunity-boosting meal plans are two ways entrepreneurs can leverage this health and wellness business trend.

Prep your health and wellness business for 2021

As we move into 2021, the market for health and wellness solutions is secure. But the competition is stiff. Develop your strategy early and look for ways to support your clients as they (and you) step into a new year.

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