Andrea Wroble
Andrea Wroble is a Health & Wellness Analyst at Mintel. Andrea focuses on writing reports and providing consumer-driven insights for health and wellness categories.

In 2019, consumer investment in health and wellbeing was universal and prioritized by all. The definition of personal health expanded to include emotional and mental wellness, welcoming a wave of health care products and services catered to the evolving needs of today’s consumers. The impact of wellness did not go unnoticed by cross-category players either – from the explosion of plant-based food alternatives to the “clean” movement in beauty and personal care, the health-centric trend secured its place as a force of nature.

Wellness may be the future of brand innovation, but the idea of wellness-infused-lifestyles is still intimidating for the average US consumer. Limitations that keep people from reaching their health and wellness goals are more likely to be intrinsic or lifestyle-related, such as lack of time, lack of self-motivation or other responsibilities. Consumers have access to a plethora of sources for health information, but translating knowledge to consistent behavior is easier said than done.

Looking ahead to 2020, brands must bring the wellness wave down to earth – focusing on manageable and seamless solutions to shift the industry from exclusive to inclusive.

2020 consumer health focuses: reinvent yourself, not the wheel

According to an upcoming Mintel report on health management trends for 2020, adults are most motivated to set health and wellness goals to improve their health, feel happier, look better and take control of their health/wellbeing. While these are relatively lofty ambitions, consumers are not reinventing the wheel to accomplish their health and wellness goals. Getting more sleep and following a healthy diet and exercise routine are the top areas adults plan to prioritize in 2020.

Some health focuses are already habitual for consumers and will be continued into the New Year, including drinking more water, getting an annual physical/wellness exam and spending time with friends/family. Whether adults are continuing healthy habits or starting new ones, their goals are attainable and mainly measurable, which should be considered key themes for the wellness industry moving forward.

2020 trends : wellness for everyone

Low impact, high rewards

What it means: New Year’s resolutions often include committing to a fitness routine, resulting in an uptick of gym memberships when January hits. However, self-motivation is the main barrier consumers experience in achieving their health and wellness goals. Unlike other challenges, which can be overcome by product or service solutions, if consumers don’t have the drive to reach their health and wellness goals, they are not likely to maintain consistency. Brands must rewrite the narrative on what it means to live healthy and be supportive in the process. Embracing low impact routines can be easily ingrained into daily life, with or without access to a workout facility. In 2020 and beyond, actions that incorporate physical and emotional benefits, such as walking or stretching, will take over as wellness-driven activities available to everyone.

Brand to watch: Outdoor Voices, an athletic clothing brand, is an example in reaching people who are doing any type of exercise or wellness activity. The brand’s messaging targets the recreational exercise enthusiast and encourages consumers to #DoThings, celebrating any type of physical pursuit.

All hail happiness

What it means: Consumers, particularly younger generations, have become more comfortable discussing and acknowledging their mental health needs. According to an upcoming Mintel report on health management trends for 2020, more than half of adults say their reason for setting health and wellness goals each year is to feel happier. However, when asked about their 2020 health and wellness goals, prioritizing mental wellbeing did not rank high for consumers. Unlike other health goals, improving mental wellness cannot be easily checked off a list and people may not know how to access care. Mental wellbeing is an integral part of consumer health and shouldn’t feel intimidating or difficult to treat. In 2020 and beyond, the definition of mental health will expand to include everyday emotions/feelings: brands must work to provide simple solutions for stress, anxiety, burnout or exhaustion – while encouraging happiness and building a sense of community.

Brand to watch: As cyber bullying concerns have grown in recent years, Instagram has taken multiple steps to maintain a positive social environment for its users. In 2019, the company added an AI-enabled feature that reads a comment back to the user if it detects something negative, followed by a confirmation asking if the user is sure they want to post. Instagram hopes the new feature will help users rethink potentially harmful comments and keep the platform closer to its core values of connection and creativity.

Catch more Zzz’s

What it means: Half of adults set health-related goals to feel more in control of their wellbeing. The same amount agreed they have made small changes to improve their health. When it comes to wellness, simple and convenient actions are more likely to have a lasting impact and help adults feel in control of their routines. Getting more sleep is the top 2020 goal consumers want to start doing, as it is an attainable way to achieve mental, emotional and physical health benefits. Using wearable devices to track sleep grew in 2019, but 2020 may be the year of redefining sleep health. In the past, sleep was perceived as an interruption to productivity. In 2020 and beyond, getting a good night’s sleep will be viewed as the foundation of self-care and healthy living. Building on sleep tracking, brands could bring back nostalgic bedtime practices, as nearly half of adults say making wellness more fun would help them achieve their goals.

Brand to watch: In January 2019, DTC mattress company Casper announced a nightlight designed for adults called Casper Glow. The grown up nightlight is designed to sync with the user’s circadian rhythm and kick-start the process of falling asleep by gradually dimming the light. Additionally, in September 2019, Casper launched a private label line of melatonin and CBD-infused gummies to strengthen the brand’s grip in progressive sleep health.