Z-ers favour a holistic approach to wellbeing and readily use digital apps to make healthy living easier
A closer look at GEN Hayley Ard, head of consumer lifestyle at innovation research and trends firm Stylus, explores how Gen Z’s unique generational profile is already altering the health and wellness industry Gen Z is one of the most healthconscious demographics we’ve seen. Indeed, a report by cross-cultural marketing agency Sensis found that 78 per cent of US teens exercise at least once a week. And according to NHS data, smoking and alcohol use are at their lowest levels among young people in England since records began. This consumer group is weathering unpredictable times and its members are investing in many aspects of health to boost their resilience.
Mental health Increasing isolation means that members of Gen Z are much more likely to develop mental health problems than their predecessors. A 2016 study of more than 300,000 people aged under 25 showed that the number of US teens experiencing a major depressive episode has increased by 37 per cent since 2012. Unsurprisingly, Gen Z is looking for empathetic engagement from brands, whether in digital or spatial form. Two key examples are Huddle, a video support group app for people suffering with mental health disorders, and Marks & Spencer-backed ©cybertrek 2018
Frazzled Cafés, safe spaces where people can voice their concerns.
Mindfulness Unlike previous generations, Gen Z takes a holistic view of wellbeing and sees mindfulness as a must-have. A trend report by J. Walter Thompson Intelligence suggests that a third of Gen Z-ers in the US consider mindfulness as important to health. “Gen Zen” is also powering the rise of mind gyms, as evidenced by digital content group Lucid Performance, which reported a 35 per cent weekly rise in users of its mental fitness training app since August.
Healthy eating Teens now spend more of their money on food than clothing, with Piper Jaffray & Co’s recent survey of 5,500 teens revealing that food makes up 24 per cent of their overall expenditure. This shift in buying behaviour is creating lucrative opportunities for food brands to renew their health focus. For example, KFC has introduced a healthier menu at its K Pro concept restaurant in Hangzhou, China, replacing its fried chicken with fresh juices and salads.
Perform For wellbeing brands looking to target Gen Z, there’s never been a better time to invest in smart sustenance. The power players in the new performance economy are Four Sigmatic and LGND – two companies that are creating the brain brews Gen Z are craving. Four Sigmatic makes 'mushroom coffee' using adaptogenic mushrooms, while LGND’s energy drinks are packed with nootropics to support brain function without a sugar crash. In short, health isn’t a status symbol for Gen Z: they see it as an essential piece of armour. That means exercise is about lowering stress and enhancing cognition, not flexing muscles. Hayley Ard leads the consumer lifestyle division of Stylus, a research and trends membership service. She enables more than 500 global brands and agencies to stay relevant by alerting them to how people and technology are changing. www.stylus.com
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