Whether it’s all those holiday indulgences or the fresh start of a new year, people always seem to focus on wellness in January. This year, that focus is even more significant as many consumers are making their health a major priority throughout the year. Within the wellness spectrum, consumers are also paying more attention to mental and emotional health.
The International Housewares Association’s (IHA) 2022 Market Watch Report found that consumers actually ranked mental wellness as more important than physical. In ranked order voting, mental wellness earned the top spot (77%) and physical wellness earned a close second (73%).
Emotional wellness came next (61%), followed by spiritual (36%), financial (31%) and intellectual wellness (21%).
“What we’re seeing is consumers these days are much more focused on feeling good than looking good,” says Leana Salamah, IHA vice president of marketing. “While physical health is certainly important, there’s much greater recognition of the mental and emotional side, and how interconnected all the different dimensions of wellness are.”
And while you might hope our collective stress levels are fading as the pandemic does, that’s not the case, says IHA’s trend forecaster Tom Mirabile, principal & founder of Springboard Futures. “As pandemic stress recedes, environmental anxiety has worsened,” he said during IHA’s Connect FALL education event.
Just last month (December 2022), when the American Psychiatric Association polled American consumers, nearly two of out of five (37%) rated their mental health as only fair or poor—up from 31% a year ago. 26% reported they anticipated experiencing more stress at the start of 2023, compared to 20% at the start of 2022.
So what does this mean for home and housewares sellers in 2023?
Simply showing consumers you recognize where they’re at and that you’re there for them may be a great place to start. These sentiments can be reflected in your marketing, community-building and services that help make the shopping experience easier.
Retailers might also consider partnerships, in-store experiences or events that speak to mental and emotional wellness. (Think tips from professional organizers, aromatherapy demos or yoga classes.)
Know the Market
“The number one product benefit Gen Z (is looking for) is enhanced mental wellness,” says Mirabile. That’s why typical purchases for new college students now include more than utilitarian items like single bed linens, shower caddies and hot plates. This generation of students is very interested in products that will help increase their sense of well-being, he says in the 2023 IHA Occasions Report.
McKinsey & Co’s latest survey shows that many consumers find current wellness products and services insufficient to meet their needs, particularly around sleep and mindfulness. These unmet needs are most pronounced among Black consumers. Millennials are spending the most across all wellness categories.
Emphasize Home Products that Contribute to Mental and Emotional Wellness
• Anything that promotes a good night’s sleep. This can be as basic as new bedding, but can also include value-added items like white noise machines, weighted blankets, sunrise alarm clocks, humidifiers and scented pillow spray.
• Items that help consumers take back control. Emphasize how organization products can help reign in clutter and cleaning products can help tame the mess.
• Products that create a soothing atmosphere. This could include mood lighting, comfy throw pillows and spa-like décor like the Akira Ambiance shower curtain from MSV-Spirella. -link to photo
• Products that help lighten the load of cooking or cleaning (either high- or low-tech).
• Special items dedicated to self-care, including massagers, foot baths and at-home skin care products.