Consumers Redefining Wellness to Mean 'Quality of Life'

Today's consumers are navigating wellness with greater breadth and depth of knowledge than ever before. Consumers today articulate "wellness" as comprising one's physical and internal state. The term "wellness" is increasingly being redefined to mean "quality of life." This reframing of wellness has significant implications for the practice of health and wellness in 2010, according to a recent study from The Hartman Group.

Since 2005, spending on wellness products has grown significantly, with a higher proportion spent on wellness for fresh food categories. The average household spends $148.48 per month (or 19% of all monthly spending) on categories that have a wellness halo, The Hartman Group suggested.

And they are not necessarily looking for those products and services at smaller, specialty health food stores, or even Whole Foods, anymore. Mass-​oriented retailers have been fortifying their product mixes with healthier-​for-​you choices, and according to The Hartman Group survey, consumers are taking notice.

A BROADENED UNDERSTANDING: Consumers' definitions of wellness encompasses the physical, emotional, emotional and spiritual.  Core consumers have always been able to articulate wellness in sophisticated and holistic ways. In 2010, however, we find that even Periphery consumers, at least aspirationally, articulate quality of life.

A PERSONAL PRACTICE: Consumers believe that achieving quality of life is different for every individual, and are looking for wellness practices that uniquely fit their needs, lifestyles and goals.  While emotional and spiritual wellness have always been accepted as highly subjective aspects of wellness, consumers are taking a "what works for me" approach to physical and mental wellness as well.

A PRACTICAL APPROACH: Consumers are seeking more flexible, simple ways of incorporating wellness into everyday life and view indulgence and pleasure as essential to well-​being.  Whereas Core Consumers were somewhat notorious for more disciplined adherence to wellness principles, the two are taking a more pragmatic, balanced approach to wellness.

This increasingly sophisticated consumer orientation to wellness, stems from deep roots that link to a relatively recent and renewed interest in health and wellness, which exploded over the past 40 years. This coupled with a long-​term historic cultural beliefs about exercise, digestion, folk medicine, vegetarianism, and nutrition date back centuries. All of these factors, and more, combine to drive the flourishing health and wellness market we see today.  With all Americans involved in health and wellness by varying degrees, the opportunity to present relevant products, retail experience and other services is significant for today's healthcare providers, manufacturers and retailers.

[Source:  "Reimagining Health + Wellness 2010."  The Hartman Group. Jun. 2010.  Web.  14 Sept. 2010.]