What sets millennials apart from older generations, in terms of their spending habits? The age group is more interested in experiences than goods, according to Forbes. 72% of millennials would rather spend their money on an enriching class or experience than on the latest gear or gadget, a statistic that’s reflected in the generation’s embrace of the wellness industry. Millennials are also more likely to view wellness as a daily, active activity, and they’re open to spending money on fitness classes and wellness apps that improve their overall quality of life.
- According to the Global Wellness Institute, wellness is a $4.2 trillion industry, and it grew by 12.8% from 2015 to 2017 alone
- Millennials are in worse health than their Gen X counterparts were at the same age, according to Time
- Major depression rates in millennials increased by 31% from 2014 to 2017, “rates of psychotic conditions increased by 15%, and rates of substance use disorder rose by 10%,” according to the Time magazine article
- An American Medical Association (AMA) report found that millennials are the most stressed out generation in history
Because so many millennials are suffering from mental health conditions, many of the trends that appeal to this demographic emphasize emotional concerns, with techniques like mindfulness and meditation at the forefront.
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Apps for Meditation and Mental Wellness
Millennials are turning to apps that enhance their mental wellness. Mental health and meditation apps have experienced a massive surge in popularity over the past few years, which reflects the generation’s emphasis on self-care practices. According to the Pew Research Center, millennials spend twice as much as Boomers on self-care essentials, and apps are increasingly viewed as an important tool to enhance mental wellness.
Last year, self-care topped Apple’s annual trends list, with meditation, relaxation and sleep app Calm winning the company’s prestigious App of the Year distinction. According to MarketWatch data, “consumers spent $32 million on mindfulness apps like Calm, Headspace and 10% Happier.” Calm has since amassed 14 million downloads, according to USA Today, and the meditation app Headspace currently boasts 1 million subscribers. Millennials are turning to apps to improve their mental wellness, and the trend should continue through next year.
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Organic and Plant-Based Meals
Many younger generations are moving away from a meat-based diet and toward a plant-based one. Millennials and members of Gen Z, the generation of young people below the age of 24, both place an emphasis on plant-based foods, with Gen Z leading the charge. According to Yahoo health, Gen Z-ers are more than twice as likely to ditch meat and identify as vegetarians, vegans or pescatarians than Gen X-ers or Boomers. The rates are slightly lower for millennials, but they still eat meat at a rate about 3% lower than the national average. What’s more, millennials are passing down an emphasis on organic food to Gen Z–in fact, over
half of parents who buy and consume organic food are millennials, according to an article by Yahoo Health.
The burgeoning industry of CBD-derived wellness products is expected to skyrocket, especially among millennials. The ingredient, a non-psychoactive component of the hemp plant, has made its way into drinks and snacks, not to mention a host of CBD-infused bath salts, lotions, tinctures and oils. Proponents tout its potential to relieve anxiety and ease physical pain, and research has demonstrated that it’s an effective treatment for some forms of child epilepsy, according to Harvard Medical School.
The industry is expected to skyrocket in the next few years; where it brought in half a billion dollars in 2018, experts project that number to reach $1.8 billion by 2022, according to data from Statista. That spike is due in part to the passage of the 2018 Farm Bill, which removed hemp from the Controlled Substances Act. While the legal status of CBD products is still murky in some states, the change means that companies that sell hemp-derived products, including CBD, “are now free to pursue their businesses more aggressively,” according to the consulting firm Perkins Coie. Expect to see more of these products flooding your local grocery stores and health centers in years to come.
The New York Times published an article in early November that highlighted the phenomenon of dopamine fasting, a practice that involves avoiding stimulation of the brain’s dopamine receptors in order to feel more pleasure after the fast from everyday experiences. The piece focused on the experiences of two twenty-somethings, both Silicon Valley tech entrepreneurs, who wanted a retreat from the constant stimulation of their hectic lives.
Dopamine fasting is one extreme version of the digital fasting trend, an increasingly common practice among millennials who are overwhelmed by the bombardment of texts, emails, and notifications that define our world. According to Psychology Today, a digital fast involves deliberately unplugging from all devices that connect to the Internet for a set period of time. The practice can help people relax and reduce technology-related anxiety and burnout.