The Intersection of Wellness & Beauty
According to recent McKinsey research, the global wellness industry is valued at $1.5 trillion and is forecast to grow at a compound annual rate of up to 10 per cent by 2027. While traditionally, beauty has centred on looking groomed, preened and polished, as life expectancy has increased and generations are living longer, the last decade has seen a focus on longevity and holistic well-being begin to outrun the traditional quest for youthful appearances 1. Resulting in the parameters between wellness and beauty blurring and coinciding.
This has seen an influx of wellness products and offerings springing up in the beauty space from the nutrient-infused and ingestible like Aurelia Probiotic Skincare and Absolute Collagen to the high-tech and tools-driven such as FaceGym and Foreo. Further on, pandemic lockdowns encouraged us to emulate the spa experience from the cocoon of our homes to self-soothe, and the NPD Group has since revealed that three years later, consumers are still engaging with beauty as a road to wellness.
Mindbody’s 2023 Wellness Index demonstrates that the beauty regimen has evolved into a mental well-being ritual, a means of coping in more challenging climes. And with tensions ultimately remaining for the foreseeable future as we navigate the Cost of Living Crisis (COLC), the benefits of a simple beauty routine cannot be underestimated.
Consequently, this is now resulting in the rise of ‘emotionally-intelligent’ brands like Selfmade, or beauty pros such as Trinny London releasing lines of products with neuro-cosmetic ingredients that offer the benefits of psychodermatology – in other words, topical skincare and cosmetics that lower stress levels when applied.
And in these tougher times, nutricosmetics – the category of beauty products that fuses nutrition and cosmetics together – has in fact shown significant resilience. 50% of global consumers now define beauty as ‘looking healthy’, and NIQ data shows that as many as 16% of female Vitamin, Mineral and Supplement (VMS) shoppers say they are more concerned about combating the ageing process than they were a year ago.
As audiences increasingly scrutinise their internal health and overall lifestyles post-Covid, they are turning to food supplements that work to enhance their immunity, sleep, gut health and ultimately overall skin, hair and nail health with an inside-out approach. All signs point to an intersection of skin health, beauty, and holistic well-being, as wellness becomes a number one priority for all.
Here we unpack three future brand considerations as wellness and beauty continue to collide…
# 1 Tech Trained & Socially Savvy
Consumers are becoming more empowered than ever before to monitor and maintain their health, well-being and beauty efforts thanks to wearable tech, AI and AR. From apps that track sleep and stress levels, to electric toothbrushes that offer the ability to analyse and report the effectiveness of a clean, to the latest nutritional advances now being seen from the likes of Zoe offering easy at-home tests to reveal health insights into blood fat, blood sugar, and gut microbiome health.
Meanwhile, audiences are easily able to seek the wisdom of qualified health & beauty experts disclosing their bonafide expertise through accessible social content. Pros like @dermatology.doctor cutting through the noise with easy-to-digest skin health know-how, @dentite providing daily doses of dental education, and @thefoodmedic giving the 101 on nutrition and workouts are just three examples.
Data from NIQ stresses that as many as 54% of VMS customers crave better scientific evidence, suggesting wariness around product claims. In the long run, as consumer knowledge grows and the appetite for science-backed information and solutions remains post-Covid, audiences will continue to turn to trusted voices, seek more control and results-led options from the wellness and beauty brands they value, and be more discerning about the options that they have in front of them.
# 2 Greater Value & Transparency
On the subject of value, despite tougher times, studies show 32 per cent of British people simply refuse to stop spending on beauty products and treatments (HyperJar), but it’s value for money that will continue to matter for around 90% of shoppers [McKinsey’s Beauty Consumer Survey 2023]. Further emphasising the role that beauty plays in people’s lives, how the Lipstick Effect still holds strong and is ultimately evolving.
McKinsey reports that as many as one in two Gen Z consumers shop for the best value for money. This can be seen in the rising popularity of ‘Masstige’ brands offering prestige luxury for mass consumer demand and as Business of Fashion’s The State of Fashion Beauty report emphasises – these brands should not shy away from their positioning.
While research carried out by The Grocer and Centrum highlights that when it comes to nutrition and nutricosmetics, multibuy deals and other purchase incentives still hold value, with up to 64% of audiences still seeking retailer and supplier support with pricing to help maintain their health.
However, in the face of necessary price hikes as the cost of ingredients, transport, processing and even staffing increase, it will be the brands who are transparent about these changes – see The Ordinary – that consumers will be far more inclined to remain trusting and loyal towards.
# 3 Sustainable Solutions
But, what about sustainability? Its importance is of course only continuing to gain intense momentum in the wake of global environmental developments such as rising temperatures and the short and long-term impact of microplastics being unearthed.
Interestingly, while one could be forgiven for thinking that the above statistics indicate consumers would ditch sustainability for value in COLC, research reveals that 46 per cent of Gen Zs are willing to pay a premium if they consider a brand to be sustainable. This jumps to over half of Gen Z and Millennials combined who are willing to pay more for beauty and wellness products from a sustainable brand.
It again comes down to empowering consumers to make easier choices – a la Lush paving the way for plastic-free beauty, or refillable vitamins from the likes of Wild Nutrition. UpCircle making skin-nourishing treasure from another’s food trash, reaping the benefits of byproducts from other industries that would otherwise go to waste. Or see probiotic players like Seed serving daily doses in biofilm sachets.
After all, if we’re to look at the wellness road up ahead holistically, wellness should apply to both people and planet.
- [The Future Laboratory Beauty, Health, and Wellness Futures Report]