Part 2 audioblog: 10 Health-Driven Mega-Trends – and implications for marketers

podcast-mic-symbolThis is part 2 of a series of blog posts, I’ve been sharing 10 consumer mega-trends. These are the most important issues shaping global consumers’ buying behavior both now and in the future. I believe that good trend-watching is about taking the bigger-picture approach. Adopting a broader global perspective to trend-tracking should help facilitate better decision-making. Because it overcomes what I call, “category myopia.”

The source of these mega-trends is a recent report from Datamonitor, entitled “Developments in Global Consumer Trends.” This survey shows how health-driven trends influence consumer lifestyles and product choices worldwide.  Plus, it considers the implications and opportunities for industry players.


TREND #3: Ethical well-being reflects a convergence of ethicality and emotional well-being.

The survey shows that “direct altruism” has been negatively impacted by financial pressures and a sense of being overwhelmed by everyday lifestyle responsibilities. On the other hand, “indirect altruism” is gaining momentum as time-poor consumers want to feel good about themselves through consumption rather than what they do in terms of behavioral & lifestyle sacrifices.  Taken together, this means environmentalism and health are more inter-related than many realize.


TREND #4: In their financial well-being, consumers value the peace of mind that emanates from financial security

All of the financial anxiety in recent years has led consumers to seek the “economics of happiness” which more heavily influences their emotional well-being.  Financial anxieties increase consumers’ focus on the short-term. As a result, they prefer financial moderation, exercising more financial prudence and control.  The implication is that growing levels of financial moderation will place additional pressure on the growth of upscale premium products and further intensify value consciousness.


TREND #5 is a concept called “pampered relaxation.”

We see that stress is a common theme in modern lifestyles as consumers adopt stress reduction strategies in their pursuit of wellbeing. Consumers are faced with the need to confront and manage tension and anxiety. This means that the pursuit of work-life balance represents an ongoing conflict between a desire to maximize leisure time, maximize occupation success, and maximize leisure time. What this has led to is the “pampered relaxation”, which is ways consumers are actively seeking moments of downtime.  In addition, “mood foods” reflect consumers’ tendency to eat as a comfort or reward. Here are implications and opportunities that emerge from these findings:

  • Position products as ‘antidotes to reality’ and which give consumers a feeling of being in control;
  • Help consumers navigate the ongoing problem of work-life balance;
  • Align with the pampered relaxation trend, particularly personal care; and
  • Develop a portfolio of food and beverages based on ingredients that make individuals happier, calmer, livelier and even more intelligent

All of these are potentially compelling propositions for those who are becoming more aware of protecting their mental/emotional well-being.


TREND #6 is described as “pick-me-up consumerism”.

In our jaded society, many individuals across the globe lack energy and vitality in their day-to-day lives. “Pick-me-up consumerism” captures the situation whereby consumers are increasingly attentive about their alertness and are opting for products that deliver energy and performance benefits. Research indicates that consumers across the globe are highly interested in functional products that boost mental and physical well-being. Therefore, consumers are open to brand innovation of energy-boosting products that can help offset their diminishing energy levels caused by hectic lifestyles.


TREND #7 is “appearance consciousness”.

We certainly live in a visual culture.  So, it’s no wonder that “appearance consciousness” continues to characterize our image-oriented society.

The KEY LEARNINGS of this trend include:

  • The high prevalence of anxiety of one’s appearance and body shape is at the core of “appearance based wellbeing” (or lack of it)
  • A more holistic pursuit of beauty through more diverse appearance management tactics is occurring
  • More consumers are adopting structured and sustained beauty regimes
  • There is a polarization of beauty ideals/attitudes that reflects the conflict between natural beauty and more ‘manufactured appearances’

The IMPLICATIONS are that:

  • Appearance concerns impact consumers’ emotional and physical wellbeing.  So, looking good has arguably never been more important
  • Health, wellbeing and beauty are becoming inextricably linked in consumers’ minds

What ACTIONS could you consider?

  • Consumers globally attach considerable importance on their oral, skin and hair health which drives spend and the adopting of beauty regimes
  • Manufacturers are retailers must adopt diverse product portfolios on order to meet the polarized beauty ideals among global consumers


TREND #8 is an increasingly sterilized society. 

This is the escalating obsession with hygiene, cleanliness and immunity. Here are three phrases that epitomize this trend:

  • “Sterilize me” – a focus on boosting self-immunity.  Consumer lifestyles reflect the burgeoning interest in immunity boosters
  • “Healthy nesting” – ensuring hygiene and purity within their living spaces.  Consumers generally recognize the broader health and wellness benefits associated with clean living environments.
  • “Purity values” – personal cleanliness matters, so brand marketers should leverage the wellness factor in the marketing of personal hygiene products.


Trend #9: Consumers are embracing tools that enable more informed health-driven choices.

The democratization of health information has facilitated more self-reliance.  That means consumers are continuing to turn to the media to get their health information, but need to feel that they can trust what they are reading. A kind of “formulation attentiveness” has been on the rise – knowing about and being influenced by the health details.  As this is becoming more widespread, consumers are demonstrating their increasing knowledge of health by making consumption choices based on labels. And of course there is information overload.  Because we’re burdened by too much information, consumers are using information short-cuts to make informed, but simplified choices. Confusion is a barrier to consumption, and therefore should be eliminated to increase consumer confidence. The relevance to brand innovation is that product formulation is a battleground for industry players, so key benefits must be clearly communicated to consumers. Consider the personalization opportunities. Personalized nutrition and nutrigenomics are emerging themes and reflect a crossover between the health and individualism mega-trends.  Personalized nutrition is appealing to consumers but care must be taken not to take them out of their comfort zones. Personalized beauty regimes are still relatively niche but are gaining traction as situational and personally adaptive beauty solutions are increasingly sought.  Demand for personalized beauty is growing in all regions, as consumers become more ‘me’ oriented.


Trend #10 is “diet moderation.”

Food stress and anxiety is a growing problem among consumers.  But their aims of moderated consumption and healthier choices are confused by contradictory information and the tendency for carefree consumption.


I hope you’ve benefited from this review of the 10 health-driven mega-trends that are shaping global consumer behavior. The implications and opportunities I’ve presented are actionable and timely. And they can inspire brand innovation for improved products and services around the world.

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