Some spend their money on every aspect of well-being, even on getting a good sleep. Picture: Pexels / Chait Goli
Some spend their money on every aspect of well-being, even on getting a good sleep. Picture: Pexels / Chait Goli

How wellness has become the new luxury

By Viwe Ndongeni-Ntlebi Time of article published Oct 10, 2021

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LIVING in an era of Covid-19 has placed more value on self-care, health and wellness, new studies have shown.

Gone are the days of regular shopping sprees as a form of retail therapy. Self-care offerings like wellness services, mindfulness tools, luxurious retreats and self-care activities are now seen as a vital part of a happy and healthy life.

Mintel’s 2030 Wellbeing Trend driver also showed that as more consumers take a holistic view of their well-being, they are putting less importance on instant satisfaction and more focus on long-term rewards.

In an era in which people catalogue their lives on social media, looking great, feeling good and self-care are the new luxuries that consumers want to enjoy and flaunt. Some spend their money on every aspect of well-being, even on getting a good sleep.

Alexander Shannon is the world’s first sleep influencer and travels to luxury destinations across the world. More than 50 000 people follow him with the intention of getting the latest in sleep luxury.

Actor Kit Harington, well known for his role as Jon Snow in the Game of Thrones, once revealed that after filming he checked himself into a wellness programme.

Locally, we have seen more influencers and celebrities such as content creator Mihlali Ndamase, TV personality Bonang Matheba and her cousin Tebogo "Pinky Girl" Mekgwe taking time away from the hustle and bustle of life to escape in a bush luxury safari.

Luxury brands are not the only ones exploring how to engage with consumers on health and wellness. Other brands in different categories are tackling the mental health issue head on by partnering with relevant organisations and activists in the field with the hope of creating healthy discussions around the topic and providing concrete resources to their communities.

Even companies have capitalised on this and are now flaunting details about what is contained in their products, how it was grown or sourced to make them more appealing.

When it comes to exercise, consumers are spoilt for choice.

Fitness classes and activities that improve well-being are available on apps or other social media platforms. Even products, devices and apps that aid sleep, eating organic and natural foods, taking health supplements and following special diets have now gained traction.

According to market research provider, Euromonitor International, “the impact Covid-19 had on health and wellness in 2020 was quite limited when compared with other industries in South Africa.

“One reason for this is because consumers interested in health and wellness typically earn a higher-than-average income and are thus more resilient to social and economic changes. Furthermore, some of these higher-income consumers invested more into health and wellness during the pandemic as fear of contracting Covid-19 led them to consider the food and drink they consumed more carefully.

“Despite this, no major stock shortages were experienced as part of the lockdown, as the consumers who were affected economically focused their spending on more essential (and typically more affordable) products. No major supply chain disruptions were experienced either.

The study also found that one factor that positively influenced sales of health and wellness products in 2020 was the temporary closures and subsequent restrictions imposed on on-trade outlets for a significant portion of the year.

“Consumers were confined to their home for long periods of time due to lockdowns, working from home policies, and limited social events. As such, consumers spent less time eating out in 2020 and more time cooking, which led to an increase in spending on groceries. However, health and wellness private label brands tended to outperform other brands due to their lower price points and prominent positioning in modern grocery retailers. This trend is expected to continue in the forecast period.”

The concept of wellness as luxury is about more than just being fit – it is also about feeling happy and indulging in experiences that promote well-being and sharing those experiences with friends.

With the affluent’s physical health and safety threatened, time spent in isolation has forced a reset to consumers’ priorities.

“The silver lining in all of this is it brings a lot more focus on health and wellness,” says Beth McGroarty, director of research and public relations at the Global Wellness Institute speaking to Forbes.

“Post-pandemic behaviours will change just because people will have adopted new ways to survive, even thrive. It will be a radical check on our blatant consumerism. People have been forced to stop it, and they realise that it doesn’t matter. It doesn’t make them happier,” she shares.

In the new-normal, “post-coronavirus world”, self-care, health and well-being is going to be profoundly changed.

Euromonitor International says: “The main factor impacting health and wellness in the coming years is likely to be diminished disposable income.

“Whilst higher-income health and wellness consumers will mitigate damage to the category, the economic effects of the pandemic are expected to linger, with many consumers living on reduced salaries or even becoming unemployed.

South Africa- Cape Town - 05 October 2021- The Hideaway Resort Maldives is set on a crescent-shaped island accessible by seaplane from Malé, this polished resort is 30 meters from the Dhonakulhi reef.The chic beachfront or water villas feature teak flooring and chalk-white walls, terraces and living rooms. All offer direct beach or lagoon access. The open-air bathrooms have Jacuzzi tubs, and most villas have private pools.Breakfast is served in-room or in 1 of 4 restaurants and bars. Other amenities include 2 infinity pools, a spa and a gym, plus an inflatable water park for kids, and a marina. Water sports, snorkeling, scuba diving and tennis lessons are available.Photographer : Phando Jikelo/African News Agency(ANA)

“As such, purchasing power will be reduced throughout the country, limiting the amount that consumers are willing to spend on health and wellness products. For those with lower disposable incomes but keen to consume health and wellness products, private label brands will be particularly popular as they offer many of the same benefits as branded products whilst also being retailed at lower prices. As such, private label is expected to increase its share of the category sales over the forecast period.

“The category is also expected to continue to benefit from a continued shift from food service to retail. The reversal of this trend will be highly dependent on a large-scale, successful vaccine roll-out.”

This article first appeared in Sunday Insider, Oct 10, 2021

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