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To honor World Mental Health Day, Euromonitor International looks at key insights surrounding mental wellness and the markets that these trends impact.
Mental health awareness is a key topic in developed markets in particular, and a huge amount of work has taken place to raise understanding of common mental illnesses, such as depression and anxiety, and to reduce the stigma attached to these. Groups have also worked to lobby governments to introduce mental health awareness policies.
Nevertheless, stigmas still remain, especially in countries where these are socially entrenched. However, attitudes have shown significant improvement in markets such as the US and the UK, with people becoming more open to discussing mental health issues.
The importance of “alone time” is taken much more seriously in developed markets, led by Japan and Germany, compared to developing markets, where other issues take priority. The need for solitude appears to be related to affluence. China does not consider alone time important at all, with Russia and India similarly uninterested.
“Detox” from busy lives with long working hours and the constant connection of the digital world is something that is increasingly sought after by people keen to maintain or improve their mental wellness. This takes many forms.
For some, escape from modern life comes in the form of an active meditation or mindfulness exercise, such as yoga or adult colouring. For others, it comes with physically removing oneself from everyday life through a connection with nature: for example walking, running or gardening.
While the drive to a more simple life is in part of a function of a drive towards mental wellness, focus and calm, it also derives from other concurrent trends. Eco awareness also plays a large part in the drive towards simplicity, with many consumers keen to not over consume goods and to re-use and recycle their items. Ethical and financial concerns also tie into this – global economic downturn has led to a trend towards frugality which persists even as incomes recover. Furthermore, urbanisation and the shift towards less housing space globally has dictated a need for less “stuff”.
A key trend in simplicity is buying less stuff but better quality and more attractive. Consumers are interested in higher grade materials that are more durable as well as multifunctional products.
Awareness of the importance of mental wellness and down time has created numerous opportunities for meditation and mindfulness services, from activities such as adult colouring in to guided meditation apps, yoga wear and spa services, with sensory deprivation tanks expected to rise in popularity in 2017.
There are few losers in this area, as, while people are seeking out quiet time and simple pursuits, this is in balance with their otherwise busy and social lives. However, simplification is clearly impacting home aesthetics, with cluttered houses and the collecting of things becoming unfashionable. Instead, simple, multifunctional, beautiful and environmentally responsible (recycled or re-used) items are on the rise.