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Gen Z & Millennials Aren’t Turning to Experts for Wellness Information

Wellness professionals aren’t at the top of their list for wellness information anymore…


TL;DR

  • Gen Z and Millennials’ top source of wellness information is social media
  • These gens trust their own intuition as a source of information, as they believe in doing whatever feels good
  • Young consumers want brands to be part of their learning process by teaching them about different aspects of wellness

YPulse’s new What Is Wellness? trend report found that Gen Z and Millennials have been rethinking what wellness means to them; pushing back against norms to redefine what can be included in a wellness routine. In fact, 76% agree that “Wellness can be anything that makes you feel good.” Their shifting ideas around wellness are being influenced by the many different sources they’re using to learn about it, and their move away from traditional “experts” to a more DIY approach. Where traditional health magazines and journals may have pushed a single narrative of the “right way” to be healthy, young people are now looking to each other for the kind of advice they want—the kind that suits their imperfect lifestyle and widening definition of wellness

Our What Is Wellness? trend report asks Gen Z and Millennials how they feel about the wellness industry as it is currently, and how they’re looking to change it—and where they’re learning about wellness is a big part of that change. We asked 13-39-year-olds (as an open-end response question) what their biggest source of wellness information is, whether it be people, brands, social media platforms, or anything else. These were their top responses on where they learn:

What is their biggest source of wellness information? 

13-39-year-olds

  1. ​​Social media
  2. Online websites / articles / research
  3. Family
  4. My own knowledge / intuition
  5. Brands
  6. Doctors / Medical professionals
  7. Friend(s)
  8. General population
  9. Celebrities
  10. Traditional media (i.e. TV, newspaper, etc.)
  11. Spouse / Significant other
  12. Books / Magazines / Libraries
  13. Wellness / Fitness experts
  14. Religious entities
  15. Athletes
  16. Wellness / Health app(s)

Social media is their top source for wellness information

The number one place they’re getting wellness information from is social media—the most mentioned specific responses being TikTok, Instagram, Facebook and YouTube. Social media ranks far above sources like wellness / fitness experts and athletes, showing their approach to wellness is no longer about doing things “the right way.” This also means that any creator starting, or even just taking part in, wellness trends have a huge influence on what the younger gens consider to be healthy. While there have always been personal health bloggers, they’ve never had the reach that a wellness content creator can have on social media today. And because anyone can be a content creator, and anything can be wellness, the ability for one person to have a tide-changing influence on wellness culture requires only one viral video. 

Perhaps the biggest wellness trend since TikTok became young people’s favorite app was “That Girl”—a trend which romanticizes every part of self-care, from waking up early and journaling, to restocking your pantry and bathroom cabinets (with super healthful foods, of course). We know Gen Z and Millennials love feeling like the main character, and this highly-intentional wellness style promotes that feeling. Influencers taking part in this trend recommended every item in their life so viewers could achieve this level of productivity and self-care, too, and YPulse survey data shows that personal care items are the top thing young consumers are buying based on influencer recommendations

But wellness information on social media encapsulates everything, so it’s not just how-to’s and product recommendations. Some creators are driving the new approach of intuitive and holistic wellness, and showing their less-than-perfect days alongside their aestheticized routines. This new side of wellness content sheds light on more realistic ideas of wellness, that include bad days and doing what might traditionally be considered “unhealthy” as part of self-care. 

They’re following their gut as a main source of what is right for them

Social media and online resources top the list, but their own intuition ranks at number four in their sources of wellness info. As Gen Z and Millennials re-imagine their wellness to be less centered around a perfect routine and more on doing whatever feels good, “That Girl” isn’t everything, and might be gone soon. The majority (69%) of young people tell YPulse that in general, the way they approach wellness is ​​doing whatever makes them feel good in the moment to optimize their health / happiness, rather than sticking to a strict routine. And, even those who are following a strict routine agree that wellness looks different for everyone (85%).

YPulse data shows that 70% also agree that sometimes doing things that are not really healthy is a part of self-care. We asked 13-39-year-olds to tell us in their own words how they define “self-care,” and one 33-year-old male described it as “Doing things that make me feel good about myself. Not what someone else thinks I should do.” So, even though they are looking to others for wellness information, on social media and within their own circle, they’re trusting themselves to know what feels right, rather than what others consider right. 

Brands are a big part of wellness information for them

Even while trusting their own intuitions, they’re always looking to learn more about wellness, and they want brands to be part of their learning process, with brands ranking at number five on their wellness info sources. And it’s not only brands that are entirely focused on wellness that they want to be hearing from either, as 59% say that any brand can be talking about wellness, not just those related to health. For them, brands can talk about wellness in both serious and light-hearted ways, so there’s opportunities for all brands to get in on the conversations about physical, mental, spiritual, and social wellness—because all these parts of their lives are in their definition of wellness. 

Brands have been integrating self-care messaging into their marketing for some time now, especially since conversations about mental health have become mainstream. In order to have those messages reach young consumers, it can be especially important for brands to partner up with the influencers who command their attention, as 69% of young people agree that they like when brands work with influencers to teach consumers about an aspect of wellness. Remember, too, that it’s not only influencers with millions of followers who can help reach young consumers. Nano-influencers can be hugely impactful, and tons are already hoping to work with brands they like. 

YPulse paid users can access the full What Is Wellness? report and data here.

Don’t have a YPulse paid account? Find out more here.