Generation Z (Gen Z) has been cited as the next big generation of consumers that the wellness industry needs to target, but how should spas appeal to their new lifestyle which is more ‘switched on’ and ‘fast-paced’ than previous generations?
In the latest Spa Business Handbook
, Ingo Schweder – founder of international wellness consultancy GOCO Hospitality – shares his ideas about how the spa and wellness sector can engage and inspire Gen Z.
Born between 1997 and today, Gen Z is currently the largest generation in America, comprising 40 per cent of all US consumers in 2020 and wielding almost US$150bn (€142.8bn, £123.8bn) in spending power in the US alone.
Schweder said: “They’re embracing concepts of gender fluidity and ethical consciousness and they enjoy breaking down stereotypes, while openly exploring sexuality and mental health in ways earlier generations never dared.
“These positive values around consciousness and self-care are at the core of how, and why, they consume wellness.”
A study out of San Diego State University and Bryn Mawr College found Gen Z is growing up more slowly and responsibly than previous generations. Quick fixes
“It’s no surprise that a generation blighted with the double-edged sword of heightened self-consciousness, are more stressed about their future than any generation to date,” says Schweder.
Seventy-two per cent of Gen Zs say managing stress and mental health is their most important health concern. Paired with a sense of uncertainty surrounding global warming, economic instability and war, they’re seeing wellness as a necessity, not a luxury.
However, he feels both Gen Zs and Millenials are looking for quick fixes and answers at the touch of a button.
“Gen Z has access to more information and the freedom to explore it than previous generations, therefore traditional wellness may be at a turning point. It must adapt to the needs of current generations, or risk losing credibility,” he explained.
Although Gen Zs grew up with a holistic perception of health, with an understanding of the link between their physical, emotional and mental wellbeing, Schweder feels that few have the time or interest for intense, effort-filled traditional wellness practices.
Instead, quick fixes or practices that have clear, fast and visible results are much more desirable.Tech lovers
Research by Accenture found younger generations are looking for more effectiveness, convenience, efficiency and transparency when it comes to health and wellness, with 53 per cent of respondents preferring to video call doctors than visit the hospital in person.
“With COVID forcing the health industry’s hand, telemedicine has become almost standard practice for some. So is it time for the wellness industry to do the same? How about a 5D holographic VR remote Wim Hof breathing course?”
A large majority of respondents were also found to be more willing to consider Eastern medicine, such as acupuncture and also yoga, than previous generations.
“The benefits of preventative medicine are not lost on this generation, it’s just the approach which needs to change,” Schweder explains, “it needs simplicity, results-driven validity and possibly a touch of technology.
“Holistic health practices, such as Ayurveda and transcendental meditation, have been around for thousands of years, long before modern medicine. They’re unlikely to go anywhere, but simplifying practices may be just what the industry needs – especially after seeing many practices muted and restricted by pandemic regulations over the last two years.
“People have less time and money to spend on wellness than they did in 2019 – the most successful year for the industry on record – but growth is still expected if the offerings are aligned with needs.”
To check out Schweder’s full feature, head to the Spa Business Handbook 2021-2022
“Rather than trying to change their minds let’s create offerings which speak to Gen Z and allow the best of the past to blend seamlessly with the future in the realm of proactive wellness and wellbeing,” he concludes.About the author
Ingo Schweder has more than 30 years’ experience in the field of hospitality, wellness and spas. He founded wellness hospitality consulting and management company, GOCO Hospitality in 2009, which continues to work globally.