McKinsey: Consumers Demand Data-driven Wellness Products

The COVID-19 pandemic has fuelled demand for at-home healthcare testing kits.
New McKinsey Future of Wellness survey shows that consumers demand data-driven wellness solutions to improve health, sleep, nutrition, fitness & longevity
Wellness solutions: McKinsey's global picture
  • In the US, the wellness market is worth $480bn, and is growing at between 5-10% per year
  • For most (82%) of US consumers wellness is top or important priority in their everyday lives. It’s a similar story in China (87%) and the UK (73%).
  • Gen Z and millennial consumers are purchasing more wellness products and services than older generations.
  • Health, sleep, nutrition, fitness, appearance and mindfulness are the most popular areas of wellness

New McKinsey healthcare research shows that consumers are demanding data-driven and science-backed health and wellness solutions.

The latest Future of Wellness report surveyed 5,000 consumers across US, China and the United Kingdom, with findings shining a light on trends and preferences in areas of healthcare, including women's health, home testing, wearable devices and solutions around ageing.    

Crucially, the survey shows there is a strong trend away from wellness products with natural ingredients to those with clinically proven ingredients. 

Around half of UK and US consumers say clinical effectiveness is a top purchasing factor, with just 20% reporting the same for natural or clean ingredients. 

This preference is strongest for over-the-counter medications and vitamins and supplements .

In China, this trend is less pronounced, with consumers evenly split over the importance of clinical and clean products.

Clinically proven wellness products: McKinsey advice to healthcare companies

  • Emphasise existing clinically proven products in your portfolio
  • Companies that have clean or natural brands can seek third-party certifications to substantiate claims and reach more consumers.
  • Boost clinical credibility of products by: using clinically tested ingredients; running third-party research studies on products; securing recommendations from healthcare providers and scientists; and building a medical board that weighs in on product development.

Home testing kits is a big growth area. The COVID-19 pandemic made such kits a household item, and this has fuelled demand for at-home kits aimed at other areas of healthcare.

At-home testing kits appeal because they are more convenient than visiting a doctor, results are instant and tests can be run frequently. 

In the US, an increasing number of consumers express an interest in testing kits for vitamin and mineral deficiencies (26%), cold and flu (24%) and cholesterol levels (23%).

In China, 35% of consumers say they have replaced some in-person healthcare appointments with at-home diagnostic tests – a higher number than in the US or the United Kingdom.

Home testing kits: McKinsey advice for healthcare companies

  • Determine the right price-value equation for at-home diagnostic kits, because cost is a major barrier for many consumers. 
  • Encourage users to take action based on their at-home test results and to test again to assess the impact of those interventions. 
  • Help consumers understand test results, either through the use of generative AI or via integrated telehealth services, both of which could prove to be a competitive advantage.

McKinsey says another strong trend is the popularity of wearable fitness devices. Such devices include wearable biometric rings equipped with sensors paired with mobile apps providing insight around sleep quality.

Use of continuous glucose monitors is also on the rise. These are worn on the triceps, and provide insight on blood sugar levels, which can be interpreted by a nutritionist who can offer personalised health guidance.

Around one-third of those surveyed say they use such devices more than they did last year, with 75% saying they’re open to using a wearable in the future. 

Wearable devices: McKinsey advice to healthcare companies 

  • There’s an abundance of wearable solutions for measuring fitness and sleep but the market needs more options around nutrition, weight management and mindfulness.
  • Wearable healthcare-device manufacturers can partner with data companies to drive behavioural change. For example, stress-level devices measuring spikes in cortisol could use this data to make personalised recommendations for products related to wellness, fitness, and mindfulness exercises.
  • Prioritise data privacy. Many consumers are open to using a wearable device only if data is shared exclusively with them

Women’s health products – which have traditionally been underserved and underfunded – are on the rise across a range of care needs. Increasingly most strongly are products for menstrual care and sexual health.

However, McKinsey says that despite recent growth in the women’s health space, there is still unmet demand for products and services. Menopause is the most overlooked segment of the market, with just 5% of FemTech start-ups addressing menopause needs.

And what about ageing? With one in six people globally expected to be aged 60 or above by 2030, it is little surprise that demand for products and services supporting healthy ageing is on the rise. McKinsey says that this trend is also being propelled by the growth of telemedicine and digital-health monitoring.

Around 70% of US and UK consumers (and 85% in China) say they have purchased more in this category in the past year than in prior years.

The survey suggests that the push toward healthy ageing is spurred by younger generations wanting preventive solutions and older generations looking to improve longevity. 

Weight management treatments is another hot area, and has been making headlines in recent years. Weight concerns are top of mind for consumers in the US, where nearly one in three adults struggles with obesity. The survey shows that 60% of US consumers are currently trying to lose weight.

The survey reveals more than 50% of US consumers consider weight loss medications to be a “very effective” intervention. 

But it’s a different story elsewhere, with fewer than 30% of UK and China consumers seeing weight loss drugs as a long-term solution to obesity.

About the authors

Shaun Callaghan is a Partner in McKinsey’s New Jersey office; Hayley Doner is a Consultant in the Paris office; and Jonathan Medalsy is an Associate Partner in the New York office.


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