Jul 16 2019
Gen Z & Millennials have been passionate about health and wellness for years, but lately the frenzy has reached a fever pitch—thanks to the perfect storm of socio-cultural shifts. In YPulse’s Wellness Intensified trend, we dug into the reasons behind their increasing focus on health. Young generations feel out of control: the outer world is in a state of chaos and their inner world is in a state of anxiety and uncertainty. We found that their feelings about the state of the world are likely increasing their desire for more control over the things they have more direct power over, like their diets, bodies, and health. In fact, 81% of 13-36-year-olds agree with the statement, “Focusing on my health and wellness helps me feel in control of something tangible.”
Meanwhile, their social media feeds are full of optimized humans, touting the benefits of their intensive wellness regimens, and technology has evolved to let them research and track their personal health down to the most minute detail. Social media serves as inspiration, research, and pressure to participate in wellness culture. The internet has also allowed them to feel like mini-experts, with Google and wellness apps as their research catalog, scanning ingredient labels, tracking their sleep, buying products that promise stress relief, and crafting elaborate skin care routines. All of these factors have shifted the definition of wellness in their minds—it’s about much more than hitting the gym for an hour. Oh, and all of this has impacted their spending: they’re spending an estimated total of $157.96 billion on healthy eating, fitness, and skincare annually.
Their definition of health continues to expand, and new trends in the space are continuing to evolve. So in our recent health and fitness survey, we asked young consumers, “What is the biggest health/wellness trend you’ve been interested in recently?” Here are the top 15 responses that 18-36-year-olds named:
*This was an open-end response question to allow us to capture the full range of new health and wellness trends that young consumers are interested in—without our preconceived ideas shaping their responses. As with any qualitative question, the responses include those that are top of mind and those that are most concerning. The lists are ordered according to number of responses received, and alphabetically when ties occurred.
The keto diet is at the top of the list of trends they’re interested in, showing just how popular this fad diet has become among young consumers. Amazingly, it also made the top of the ranking of the biggest food trends that Gen Z and Millennials are interested in right now. For those out of the loop, keto is slang for a ketogenic diet, which is generally defined as eating “high-fat, adequate-protein, low-carbohydrate.” While some try the diet for health reasons, its current popularity is likely because of its association with weight-loss—which is clearly also of interest to young consumers, ranking at number six on the list above. Brands have been jumping on the keto bandwagon to keep up with health-chasing young consumers—and it’s not just health food brands playing into the trend. In fact, Blaze Pizza just released a keto pizza pie, which reportedly has just six grams of carbs.
According to our Wellness Intensified research, 22% of 18-36-year-olds have experimented with a new food diet in the last year, and 10% have tried the Keto diet already. Actually, among 18-36-year-olds, intermittent fasting was the diet they were most likely to have tried, with 15% reporting they’ve attempted it. Intermittent fasting ranked at number three on the list here, and restrictive diets in general are popular trends for young consumers right now. Limiting diets, which included responses like no-sugar, no-carb, gluten-free, dairy-free, and paleo, collectively ranked at number five.
While the list includes some tried and true wellness activities, like exercise, going to the gym, and healthy food, overall it’s filled with more of-the-moment trends—or practices that show how their definition of health and wellness has shifted. Skincare, mental health, and sleep are all top wellness “trends” they’re interested in, indicating that their approach to health is far more holistic than it might have been in the past. The opportunity for brands is that more industries than ever can appeal to their desire for balance and self-care.
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