MILAN — In the year ahead, beauty rituals, peer platforms and the rise of nature equity will create a new health lexicon, according to a report released by The Future Laboratory consultancy.
In the study, the trend-forecasting agency traced an inter-COVID-19 roadmap, identifying the seismic shifts in consumer mind-sets and consequent implications and opportunities lying ahead for different industries.
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If over the past year health and wellness have been mainly represented by hand sanitizers and at-home fitness, as the conversation moves beyond the short-term effects of the pandemic, a wider narrative of holistic wellbeing will take place.
According to the report, beauty consumers are rejecting the idea of “bouncing back” to pre-pandemic status to prioritize deceleration, instead. Quick-fix solutions and beauty fads are being replaced with more measured, long-term beauty rituals that are simpler, slower and more natural.
Having spent much time indoors, customers are readjusting their relationship with beautification moving away from the mere concept of aesthetics to focus on mood-boosting beauty, meditative rituals as well as science-backed innovations.
The study invites beauty players to focus on how products can combine and deliver both physical and mental health and to promote greater understanding of the links between these two with consumers.
In addition, skin care will evolve to address customers’ heightened hygiene concerns, both in formulations and implementation of technology moving away from hand-applied products toward smart skin care devices. To this end, the report cites figures by P&S Market Research showing that overall the global beauty devices market is expected to register a compound annual growth rate of 19.7 percent in the decade to 2030.
In cosmetics, the predilection toward natural beauty is already impacting traditionally decorative categories, with examples including LoveSeen aiming to disassociate false lashes from the idea of heavy makeup toward a more natural approach.
The report also highlighted that the number of people diagnosed with chronic conditions is expected to rise in the aftershocks of COVID-19, which could open to opportunities to build digital communities providing peer-to-peer support, such as the Superbloom online platform offering a safe space for people to track their health journeys.
In the meantime, the pandemic has also shone a light on inactivity, often as a result of sedentary urban lifestyles and unequal access to nature. Initiatives to diversify access to the outdoors and encourage movement will represent another opportunity for brands operating in the wellness field, especially in terms of marketing campaigns. These can be inspired by examples hailing from other areas, including the one set by the Swedish nonprofit organization Generation Pep, which launched a global campaign to encourage younger generations to move by releasing a music video featuring a choreographed dance with 10,000 steps on a soundtrack by EDM duo Justice.
Further pointing to a return of a more active lifestyle, the report forecast a backlash against excessive screen time, which surged across the globe since the COVID-19 outbreak.
”We will want to be liberated from screens,” said Adam Steel, strategic foresight editor at The Future Laboratory. “But the interaction and the digitization of entertainment will remain, woven into the fabric of our physical environment and providing us with greater access to people and places than before.”
This approach will affect brick-and-mortar retail at large, which will need to be reinvented to attract consumers back again. According to the study, the spike of online sales over the past year doesn’t preclude an appetite for a return to in-store experiences as shoppers will be looking for human connection, but stores will need to provide more than mere shopping transactions and evolve in flexible formats with digital and entertainment elements as well as play a civic role in providing jobs, supporting local industries and social causes.
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