Lululemon's Wellness Index Says Gen Z Is Hurting

Lululemon, building on its COVID wins, is extending its Lycra-clad reach further into wellness expertise. The fitness apparel brand has unveiled its first Global Wellbeing Report, looking at how people are holding up in 10 countries.

And while the overall results are discouraging enough, with just 29% of respondents saying they are doing well physically, mentally and socially, Gen Z is struggling the most.

Overall, about 86% say they face barriers to wellness, ranging from COVID-19 (cited by 51% of respondents) and lack of money (46%) to stress (32%.) But among Gen Z, 92% say they face these barriers. And one in four younger consumers say they are "deeply affected" by these issues.

The entire sample's index score is 65 on a scale of 100, and falls to 56 for Gen Z. The generational difference is strongest in the U.S. Well-being is highest in China and lowest in Japan.



The study includes 1,000 consumers in each of 10 countries. Overall, only 15% say they are in good physical health, 17% say they manage stress effectively, 19% feel like they have adequate energy for daily tasks, 19% feel confident most of the time, and 18% believe they've got a good work/school/home life balance.

Just 40% of the sample are optimistic about the future, compared to 59% a year ago.

The Vancouver-based company says the optimism deficit is troubling, since the most upbeat respondents are also most likely to describe their well-being as strong. That factor also links to how proactive they are about taking care of themselves.

The report is the latest move from Lululemon to establish itself as a wellness authority, staking its claim to a universe much broader than sports bras and yoga pants. Other efforts include introducing personal care products under the "self-care" umbrella, teaching mental-health workshops and increasing efforts to link its "sweat life" ethos to stress reduction and physical health.

And Americans appear eager to keep dressing for the wellness movement. New data from market researcher NPD Group shows that people are all about staying comfy and cozy as they navigate stressful times.

The Port Washington, New York-based company says the yoga–and-sweats wardrobe may be here to stay. While total apparel sales plunged 19% in 2020, comfy-cozy clothing gained. Sales of sweatpants rose 17%, sleepwear gained 6% and sports bras rose 10%.

The trend is even worse for footwear, which dropped 27%, even as sales of slippers and clogs (up 21% and 33%, respectively) rose sharply.

NPD says 70% of consumers say that they plan to dress just as or more casually than they did before the pandemic once they can return to work and other activities.

Lululemon is certainly a key beneficiary of the cozy trend. In its most recent quarterly results, revenue rose 22%, to $1.1 billion. And it recently announced that it expects its next quarterly results to top previously announced forecasts.

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