Health/wellness has become an essential consumer spending category worldwide, just behind groceries and household cleaning products, according to Accenture’s Consumer Pulse 2022 survey of over 11,000 people.
Even though two-thirds (66%) of respondents said they feel squeezed financially, 80% said they intend to maintain or increase their spending over the next year on areas related to health and fitness, including exercise classes and vitamins/supplements. This compares to 85% of respondents for homecare items and 87% for food and groceries.
Compared to a year ago, 42% said they are engaging in more physical activity, with one-third now more focused on self-care, such as “indulging in a bath or beauty treatment.”
“People's desire to take more control of their health and well-being is only increasing,” Rich Birhanzel, an Accentures senior managing director who leads its global health industry practice, said in a press release.
As a result, he added, “It's vital for the healthcare industry to continue to explore and partner with consumer-facing companies to improve access, experience and outcomes for people and their healthcare journeys.”
The consumer commitment to health and wellness has also extended to travel plans, Accenture said
Noting the well-being benefits associated with vacations, Accenture said that 51% of consumers plan to maintain or increase their spending on leisure travel over the next year, with a third of respondents saying they are willing to sacrifice spending on non-essential household products or electronics so that they can afford to travel.
In addition, Accenture noted, 39% of high-income consumers who had booked a trip during the next 12 months were planning to going on either a luxury trip or a wellness retreat. Among millennials who had booked at trip, 21% said they would be going on wellness retreats.
“There is a huge opportunity here for travel and consumer-facing companies to tap into ecosystem partnerships and the local communities to offer differentiated experiences since wellness tourism today is about much more than the destination or activities,” Emily Weiss, an Accenture senior managing director who leads its global travel industry, said in the press release. Instead, she added, “it is an extension of the values and lifestyle of the traveler.
“While the focus on personal well-being is not necessarily new, it is now less an indulgence and more of a non-negotiable … even at a time when many are feeling financial pressures.”
Another recent Accenture report, titled “The Human Paradox: From Customer Centricity to Life Centricity,” found that “it is becoming increasingly difficult for consumers to balance purpose and practicality in their purchases, with nearly two-thirds (64%) wishing that companies would respond faster with new offerings to meet their changing needs. Only by understanding the context will businesses have the right strategy to offer the most relevant brands, products or services.”
So Accenture also quoted Jill Standish, a senior managing director at Accenture who leads its global retail industry practice: “Retailers and brands can manage the impact of the evolving consumer trade-offs by staying close to consumer trends and pivoting quickly to respond to them…It calls for extraordinary levels of collaboration, commitment and consumer engagement — not to mention technology and business innovation that is grounded in insight from reliable data sources.”
Accenture’s Consumer Pulse Survey 2022 surveyed 11,311 consumers from 16 countries, including the U.S., in February. An additional survey, of 10,085 respondents from eight of the countries, including the U.S., was done in April.