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The Seven Megatrends Shaping the Future of the UK Wellness Industry

Updated: Jul 25, 2019

How many of your daily lifestyle choices revolve around a newfound wellness philosophy? Amid the backdrop of a booming wellness industry, conscious food shopping, sustainable fashion, devout fitness regimes and emotional-self exploration have become just some of the staples of many people’s daily routines.


However, as the wellness movement evolves, so too do consumers’ choices and fancies. For brands, it’s important not just to keep up, but to have a deep understanding of the people making those choices.


In 2019, Balance Inc. surveyed 946 Balance Festival devotees in a quest to better understand their motivations and values. The Young Savvy Healthy Urbanites (YSHU), as we call them, are young, educated, informed, hyper-connected, health conscious, and – for the most part – highly-active individuals living in dense metropolitan areas.


We caught up with Ludovic Rossignol-Isanovic, founder of Balance Festival and the man behind the UK’s largest online consumer survey on the wellness zeitgeist. Here are the key takeaways.


1. Wellness as a Way of Life


Now more than just a buzzword used to market gyms, luxury spas and beauty products, wellness has become a way of life and lies within the very hearts of the YSHU. Becoming a healthier version of yourself is at the core of new age consumerism, with 95% of the YSHU’s lifestyle choices dictated by their wellness-orientated psyche.


We live in a time when good physical and mental health is at the pinnacle of the YSHU’s purchasing decisions, and this attitude towards wellness seeps into everything the YSHU thinks, feels and experiences. Holidays are no longer just for relaxing, with a whopping 9 out of 10 survey respondents saying that they take part in fitness activities on holiday. Similarly, 7 out of 10 frequently socialise with friends while exercising.


Wellness has become an intrinsic extension of the YSHU’s self and brands that embrace the YSHU’s values have the potential to become an extension of their customers’ lifestyles. Consequently, brands offering solutions and products that are convenient, ethical and authentic are today’s winners and the heroes of tomorrow.


2. Gym Polyamory Is Rife, But Yoga Is Here to Stay!

Who ever thought cheating on a gym would become a thing? The YSHU is not exclusively loyal to any one fitness studio - as the amount of money in their pockets fluctuates, so too do their workout choices. No longer content with paying to receive the same old thing every month, gym goers are sweeping London’s gyms and studios to find the best value for money and most exclusive classes out there.


Dipping into a multitude of workout programs and experimenting with new methods has become the norm, from visiting boutique gyms and yoga studios to trying at-home workouts or attending large scale fitness events. The YSHU’s most common routine consists of a combination of working out alone at a low-cost and conveniently located gym a couple of times a week and visiting high-end boutique gyms as a weekly or monthly treat.


But the one practice that’s here to stay is yoga, which is now a staple of many YSHU’s lives. Although not their primary form of fitness discipline, yoga is integrated at least once a week as part of the YSHU’s fitness routine.





The Ethically Minded Healthy Foodie


With more thought than ever being given to the environmental impact of the food chain, and a rising awareness of the concept of food as preventative medicine, a new sustainable approach to eating commands the plates of health-conscious foodies.


Today the average YSHU’s food plate consists of more veg and less meat, with 7 out of 10 intentionally reducing their meat consumption over the past 18 months, and 8 out of 10 of these doing so for health reasons.


With food being considered preventive medicine for over half of respondents, it’s unsurprising that 76% expect organic and non-GM locally sourced food to be available in supermarkets. What’s more, over a third of people would be happy to spend more for organic products.


By consciously eating foods that nourish the mind and body, and by embracing eating habits that show compassion towards the environment, the healthy and ethically minded foodie is born.


Wellness Hospitality


The YSHU is a sophisticated socialite, expecting high-quality food and beverage options whether they’re dining in a restaurant or grabbing something on-the-go. In fact, 72% of respondents said that they expect an array of dietary options to be on offer when dining away from home, and 72% cited clear food labelling as being of importance in their decision making.


When it comes to drinking, an increasing number of YSHUs are shunning alcohol, with 25% of respondents avoiding it altogether and 53% expecting non-alcoholic healthy drink options, such as kombucha, to be available when going out.

For businesses, it’s worth remembering that provenance, authenticity and clear product labelling are key to enabling the YSHU to make healthier options when eating out. Think low-alcohol wine, twists on cocktail classics, seasonal earthy green plates and air-fried zucchini chips…





Digital Detox


Social media has become the double-edged sword of modern life. On one hand, this digital world has the power to grow businesses, build communities and stimulate friendships with like-minded peers. Yet, the YSHU is more aware than ever of its potentially negative impact on mental health, and more willing to step away from it than in previous years.


Many YSHUs are now swearing oaths to reclaim their lives by taking a step back to a more analogue way of living and reconnect with the real world; 94% of respondents said they highly-value spending screen-free time with friends, 69% turn to spending time in nature to unwind and reconnect with the real world. As such, businesses offering screen-free zones and other initiatives to encourage face-to-face human social interactions are on to a winner.


Conscious Living


In recent years, there’s been a serious shift in awareness of our own impact on the environment and somewhat of a revolution in terms of the compassion that we show to the planet. Reducing plastic usage, limiting meat consumption, embracing zero waste, sourcing local produce, focusing on quality over quantity and buying from independent traders are just a few of the emerging movements that the YSHU is eager to embrace.


Big brands have also begun to take responsibility for their actions by implementing sustainable packaging, diverting resources from landfill into a closed loop system and giving back through charity projects and awareness campaigns.


Charitable initiatives and social responsibility play a key role in enhancing bonds between brands and the YSHU, and brands that enable the YSHU to support cause-related charitable initiatives while offering convenience gain a compelling advantage in their category.


Understanding the Importance of The Self


Self-care and mindfulness practices are no longer an indulgence, but part of any wellness warrior’s daily diet. A thirst for self-awareness enables the YSHU to create healthier relationships, seek fulfilling careers and re-define what success means to them, in pursuit of a life that they love.


Meaningful connections matter to the YSHU, and a sizable 72% of respondents stated that they believe good mental health is paramount to their wellbeing. Thanks to an increasing openness towards being able to freely express emotions, the YSHU is developing a higher inner level of emotional intelligence as they seek to become a better human and find answers to highly complex existential questions.

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