Consumers are taking significantly greater interest in their own health and wellness and the steps they can take to lead healthier lives. The EY Future Consumer Index 2021 found that 82% of respondents were concerned about their family’s health and 57% saw healthy products as becoming more important in their shopping priorities. In addition, 29% said they would pay a premium for products promoting health and wellness.¹
The pandemic has been an accelerator for self-care and awareness about health and wellness indicators, although it is the growing comfort level with using digital tools to track health metrics such as blood pressure, blood oxygen levels, heart rate, sleep quality, and caloric intake that makes self-care widely possible. People want to know what their health and wellness numbers show and what they can do to improve biometrics that aren’t where they are supposed to be, creating a virtuous cycle of self-care and exponential information.
The proliferation of mobile devices, social media and other evolving digital and sensor technologies has created a wealth of information, not all of it reliable, that consumers can read and react to. In 2020, health care’s share of all the data created worldwide amounted to 21 zettabytes, or 21 trillion gigabytes, according to Forbes.²
This shift from a reactive to a preventive care model will redesign the why, what and how of consumer health and wellness buying. The challenge for consumer health and wellness companies, as well as large e‑commerce companies entering the space, is to develop a strategy to embrace this opportunity. Consumers are growing much more sophisticated, completely resetting the bar on what they expect from consumer health and wellness companies. This is leading to the rise of new industry segments such as digital therapeutics (DTx), which spans from education and search tools such as GoodRx and ZocDoc. They address the basic health care information-based needs of consumers, to well-being and fitness apps and telehealth and remote monitoring offerings.³
Big tech companies are also making investments in monitoring devices. They have developed products and services spanning this space, and they are building out their respective positions through acquisitions, partnerships and organic growth. The US Food and Drug Administration’s Software Precertification Pilot Program was created in response to this trend to provide more streamlined and efficient regulatory oversight of software-based medical devices developed by manufacturers.⁴
Broadly speaking, consumers are now much more aware of what’s happening in their bodies, and they expect the market to respond with innovative health and wellness solutions that address these needs. If there are steps consumers can take to be healthier, to have more energy and to be more active, they are going to do it. It is up to consumer health companies to respond to this shift and meet them where they are to become a reliable means of support on this journey.