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Brief Published: 16 Jun 2020

What’s Top-of-Mind for Wellness Consumers?

Just 36% of women believe they’re dealing well with their mental health, versus 70% of men

American publisher Hearst recently revealed the findings of its study on US attitudes to health and wellness (conducted in January and updated in April) in a webinar featuring several executives from its lifestyle magazines. We highlight three key takeaways.

  • Millennial Women Most Proactive Mental Health Managers: Hearst found mental health is now US consumers’ top wellness priority (followed by sleep and fitness). But there’s a wide generation gap, with mental health important to 70% of 18- to 38-year-olds, versus 52% of those aged 55 to 74. Hearst reports millennial women are much more likely than others to make concerted efforts to improve their mental health. 
    When it comes to confidence in mental health management, there’s also a sizable gender gap – particularly among Gen Z, where just 36% of women believe they’re dealing well with their mental health, versus 70% of men. Brands have an opportunity here to connect young women with mental health resources and buoy their self-belief.
    Rich Dorment, editor in chief of Men’s Health, said the magazine prefers terms like ‘anger’ and ‘frustration’ over ‘anxiety’ and ‘stress’ to better connect with its male readers on emotional health topics. For Prevention magazine, content director Sarah Smith said meditation sessions hosted on Facebook Live during Covid-19 lockdowns have proved successful, since “readers are looking for calm and clarity”. 
  • Social Connection a Wellness Imperative:US consumers’ top 12 health and wellness priorities remained the same both pre- and post-pandemic, with one exception: ‘social connection’ slid onto the list (while ‘sexual health’ dropped down). 

    As noted in Leisure & Wellness in Lockdown, brands that foster connection and camaraderie can secure loyalty during social distancing and beyond. To that end, O, The Oprah Magazine is leveraging Instagram Live as a platform where Oprah Winfrey and other familiar faces can share uplifting words, said OprahMag.com’s digital director Arianna Davis. Post-pandemic, “that’s something we want to continue doing: remind [readers] they are part of a bigger community”.

  • Sleep Is a Universal Quest: A majority in every generation except millennials (at 47%) said they need help getting more sleep, while 68% of those aged 18 to 38 are now more willing to try sleep medications than they were just a few years ago. This suggests wide potential for effective prescription-drug alternatives, as outlined in The Future of Vitamins & Supplements.  

    Interest in sleepwear is surging. Davis said O magazine has tracked a big uptick in pyjama-buying among its online readers – in the US, pyjama sales jumped 143% month-on-month in April (Adobe Analytics, 2020). Also popular, said Davis, are ‘cosy’ products conducive to winding down, like comfortable bras, loungewear and bathrobes. See The Homewear OpportunityThe Sleepwear Focus and The Quest for Rest for more.