Despite financial uncertainty, consumers are unwilling to reduce spending on health and wellness, according to the latest in a series of consumer surveys Accenture (NYSE: ACN) has conducted to test the pulse of consumer outlook and sentiment since the beginning of the Pandemic.
The survey — of more than 11,000 consumers in 16 countries — found that despite widespread uncertainty and personal financial strains, consumers see health and fitness as “essential” alongside groceries and household cleaning products. Although two-thirds (66%) of survey respondents said they feel financially squeezed, 80% also said they intend to increase spending on areas related to health and fitness — such as exercise classes or vitamins and supplements — in the UK next time maintain or increase year.
“Despite challenging times, it is clear that people have redefined health and well-being as an essential commodity and plan to maintain or increase their spending in this area this year, regardless of income level,” said Oliver Wright, senior managing director at Accenture, of the leads the Consumer Goods & Services industry worldwide. “With the health and wellness market projected to exceed $1 trillion in spending worldwide by 2025, consumer-centric companies must leverage cross-industry expertise and scientific and technological breakthroughs, while also considering changing consumer priorities when developing new offerings .”
Rich Birhanzel, senior managing director at Accenture and global head of the Health Industry Practice, said, “People’s desire to take more control of their health and well-being continues to grow. It is critical for the healthcare industry to continue to research and partner with consumer-centric companies to improve access, experience and outcomes for people and their healthcare journeys.”
The survey also found that respondents appear to take a more holistic view of wellness, seeing it much more as a staple. In addition to more than four in 10 respondents (42%) saying they are increasing the amount of physical activity, a third (33%) of respondents said they are focusing more on self-care — such as taking a bath or Beauty treatment – than a year ago.
Despite rising travel costs, the survey found that half (51%) of consumers plan to maintain or increase spending on vacation travel over the next year — perhaps unsurprising given the widely recognized wellbeing benefits associated with vacationing. Additionally, two in five (39%) high-income respondents have booked a luxury trip or wellness retreat for some time in the next 12 months. One in five (21%) Millennials booked a spa vacation this year. Additionally, a third (33%) of all survey respondents said they are willing to forgo spending on non-essential household products or electronics to afford travel.
Emily Weiss, senior managing director at Accenture, which leads the travel industry practice globally, said: “While the focus on personal well-being isn’t necessarily new, for today’s consumers it’s less of a treat and more of a non-negotiable imperative, even in a Time when many are under financial pressure. There is a huge opportunity for travel and consumer-facing businesses to leverage ecosystem partnerships and local communities to offer differentiated experiences, as wellness tourism today is about much more than the destination or the activities – it’s an extension of values and the lifestyle of the traveller.”
While the survey determined where and how consumers are prioritizing spending, it’s important for businesses to understand the context in which these purchasing decisions are being made. According to a recent Accenture report, “The Human Paradox: From Customer Centricity to Life Centricity,” consumers are finding it increasingly difficult to balance purpose and practicality in their purchases, with nearly two-thirds (64%) wanting companies to respond would be quicker with new offerings to meet their changing needs. Only when companies understand the context do they have the right strategy to offer the most relevant brands, products or services.
“Retailers and brands can manage the impact of evolving consumer compromises by staying close to consumer trends and responding quickly to them,” said Jill Standish, senior managing director at Accenture, who heads global retail. “While there are undeniable headwinds, retailers have always been good at problem solving and innovation is becoming increasingly important to create new value, reduce costs and do the right thing for society and the planet. It requires an exceptional level of collaboration, engagement and consumer engagement — not to mention technology and business innovation powered by insights from trusted data sources.”
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About the research
Accenture’s 2022 Consumer Pulse Survey provides insights into consumer attitudes, sentiment and behavior. This year’s survey is relevant to all consumer industries, but focuses on consumer goods, retail, travel and health. Accenture surveyed a representative sample of 11,311 consumers from 16 countries: Brazil, Canada, Chile, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Singapore, Spain, Sweden, United Arab Emirates, United Kingdom, United States and Vietnam. The survey was conducted online and was aimed at consumers who have shopped for their household in the past six months. Respondents are evenly distributed across gender and age group. The poll was conducted between February 7th and 15th. It was complemented by an additional consumer survey conducted between April 7 and 25, which included 10,085 respondents from eight countries in the original survey: Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Italy, the UK and the US
The results of the survey will be presented in an Accenture report for the retail industry.
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