The COVID pandemic brought many changes to our daily lives. It changed how we worked, interacted with friends and family and perhaps most significantly, it changed the way we view health and wellness. The health and wellness industry has been booming amidst the pandemic.

Here are five of the health and wellness trends that we see sticking around for good after the pandemic.

Trend #1: Online Workouts

During the pandemic, at-home fitness skyrocketed. Limitations on in-person gyms and fitness classes meant people turned to the Internet to get their exercise fix. Fitness brands and services rose to the occasion providing a plethora of online workout classes. A study conducted by Mindbody, a technology wellness platform, found that in March 2020, 73% of consumers utilized pre-recorded workout videos, compared to 17% of consumers in 2019, while 85% of consumers in March 2020 used livestream classes weekly, versus 7% in 2019. Additionally, consumers are actually working out more than before, with 56% of consumers exercising at least five times a week. People find the flexibility of working out at home much more manageable.

Online workouts are here to stay. According to a study conducted by Beachbody, a Santa Monica based health and fitness company, nine out of ten Americans who exercise regularly plan to continue at-home workouts. While the digital health industry continues to grow and evolve, it will be important for companies to further adapt to their consumers’ needs by creating a more personalized experience to keep them coming back, and by helping them achieve their unique fitness and wellness goals on an ongoing basis. 

One brand that has done a stellar job is Peloton. Peloton’s Q3 FY 2021 earnings report boasted a 141% sales growth and a revenue of $1.26 billion, compared to its $524.6 million revenue one year ago. Additionally, Peloton’s Connected Fitness subscriptions grew 131%, while their churn rate was the lowest in six years, at 0.31%. Peloton’s ability to quickly pivot and adapt to change amidst the many changes of the pandemic contributed to its massive growth, emphasizing the importance of innovation in long-term success.

Trend #2: Telehealth

The beginning of the COVID pandemic brought many changes to healthcare. One change was the increased usage of telehealth as a way for consumers and providers to safely access and deliver healthcare. A McKinsey study showed that in April 2020, telehealth utilization was 78X higher than in February 2020. Although the use of telehealth medical services has stabilized since then, consumer and provider attitudes towards telehealth have greatly improved since the pre-COVID era. 

Additionally, investment in virtual care and digital health has been booming, with 3X the level of venture capitalist digital health investment in 2020 than it had in 2017. We see telehealth as a trend that will continue post-pandemic, with more providers permanently adopting telehealth options, combined with in-person healthcare methods. 

Trend #3: Grocery Shopping Services

Grocery shopping has always been an essential service to consumers’ lives. But, with the pandemic, the way in which consumers have approached grocery shopping has completely changed. In 2019, a Gallup poll found that 81% of Americans never ordered groceries online. However, an Inmar poll conducted in 2020 found that of more than 300 US consumers polled, 78.7% reported shopping online for groceries. Stores were forced to innovate and make substantial changes to how they provided grocery services to their customers, with many stores expanding both delivery and pickup services. To allow for this, many retailers have changed the footprint of the store, or at least the layout, to ease this process.

The convenience and personalization of online grocery shopping has also led to its appeal with consumers. For retailers, a treasure trove of consumer data is revealed. Gone are the days of depending on the consumer to swipe her loyalty card. Now, all purchases are tracked, allowing for a far more curated on-line shopping experience - a boon for retailers and consumers alike.  

Trend #4: Increase in Technology that Measures our Health and Wellness

The pandemic also brought mental health into the limelight, forcing consumers to actively strategize ways to manage their rising levels of sleeplessness, anxiety and depression. Mindfulness apps surged in the wake of the pandemic, with one app, Calm, seeing 100% growth in the year 2020. Many of these apps pivoted to grow their business and accommodate the new needs of consumers. 

Headspace, a meditation and sleep app, offered free memberships to front-line medical professionals and first responders. Another app, Sleep Cycle, offered premium Sleep Aid content for free amidst the stress of the pandemic. This was a great marketing tactic to introduce new customers to the app with access to the full repository of sleep data that they wouldn’t normally get with a free membership. Consumers found that these apps offered them a way to feel calm and connected in times where levels of stress, anxiety and depression were skyrocketing. They’ve acted as a grounding force in seemingly uncertain times, and the use of these apps is not going anywhere. 

Trend #5: Pet Technology Devices

With the increased time of solitude during the pandemic, many people adopted pets to fill the companionship hole. Research shows that an estimated 11.38 million US households got a new pet during the pandemic. However, now that pet owners are going back to work in-person, they are turning to pet technology devices to ensure that their pets are safe at home. The rise in the adoption of rescue pets in the U.S. coupled with the increasing awareness for pets’ mental and physical health has been a primary growth driver in the pet tech market. North America was solely responsible for more than 55% of the global pet tech industry share due to the high purchasing power of millennials, and the market expects to see substantial growth in the future. 

We expect that pet items such as smart collars, pet cameras and automatic feeding devices will continue to grow as owners return back to work and leave their pets at home alone. A study conducted by Global Market Insights found that the US pet tech market is set to expand at 16% CAGR through 2027. As pet owners place more emphasis on their pet’s health and wellbeing, there will be a rise in consumer spending in the pet tech market. In 2020, the worldwide pet tech market value was over $5.5 billion, but is expected to expand to 22% CAGR up to 2027, with its expansion being primarily driven by the increased emphasis on pet health, safety and wellbeing. 

Two high schoolers, Karan Dalal and Arnuv Tandon, used the pandemic as a time to innovate, developing PetCode, a startup business in the pet technology world. PetCode is a QR tag that virtualizes pet information. The conception of this startup pet tech business further shows that the pet tech industry is here to stay – young entrepreneurs are looking to personal problems and pain points that need solving, and many of them don’t need to look farther than their own pets. 

Despite the drastic changes that occurred during the pandemic, the ability of these five industries to pivot and adapt to challenges has allowed them to thrive post-pandemic. We do not expect the change to stop, so the importance of innovation and new products to achieve long-term success cannot be overstated. Consumers stay committed to brands that continuously adapt to meet their needs. That part will never change.

Annette Herz

Annette is skilled at identifying growth opportunities and successfully guiding products from concept to launch. At Compass, she advises leading brands and category disruptors in the health & beauty, personal care and home appliance sectors.

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