Consumer Stress: 3 Ways Everyone Is Trying to Cope

August 23, 2022

In 2022, consumer stress levels have jumped — and consumers are doing whatever they can to help reduce that stress, according to our most recent study.  

But they’re not taking stress lying down. As consumers feel more hard-pressed to afford even basic necessities, consumers are also actively seeking new ways to feel more relaxed, sleep better, and spend on their overall wellbeing.  

While some wellness brands may see this as an opportunity to sell to an interested audience, this information is truly more about changing consumer values than simply sales.  

In this blog, we’ll take a deeper look at the three ways in which our own market research has revealed consumers to be seeking a healthier, happier, and stress-free lifestyle.  

First, we’ll start with self-care.  

Indicator 1. Consumers Emphasizing Self-Care 

01-self-care

According to our research, the most popular form of self-care was taking time for oneself. In fact, 86% of consumers say it’s important for them to take time for themselves to focus on their own mental health and wellbeing 

While the idea of self-care has been around since the 1950s, the start of the COVID lockdowns created a profound interest in the concept. This interest is shown in Google Trends, showcasing the relative interest that its users had in self-care over time 

Even dating back to 2004 when Google started tracking this data, there was interest in self-care. But in February 2020 — the beginning of COVID lockdowns — it exploded like never before.  

Since then, interest has grown. This is even observable in different generations, like Gen X and Gen Z.  

Now, a year later, our proprietary research shows that trend of emphasizing self-care has only grown in popularity.  

However, it’s not the only major health & wellness trend that we discovered — and some of these trends are far more specific.  

Indicator 2. Consumers Emphasizing Sleep 

02-sleep

According to our research, 72% of consumers say they’re looking for ways to improve the quality of their sleep 

A report from Pub Med published in February 2021 aligns with this idea. According to their own study, young adults experienced “high rates of sleep problems,” particularly during February and March of 2020.  

Among other data, Pub Med also points out that anxiety, depression, and PTSD-like symptoms associated with the COVID-19 pandemic were all indicators of sleep trouble, especially among the demographic of young adults.  

Melatonin (a naturally-occurring neurotransmitter that helps people sleep more deeply at night) and home fitness gear are just two examples of products that are associated with better sleep that also saw leaps in sales in 2020 and 2021.  

Even so, it’s clear to see that the average consumer is looking for ways to sleep more soundly and restfully. They’re trying nearly everything they have at their disposal, from buying products to making changes to their daily routines.  

The emphasis on sleep also plays into another discovery from our research. In fact, it ties together both the ideas of self-care and sleep into one concept.  

Indicator 3. Consumers Emphasizing Daily Destressing 

03-destress

In our study, 80% of consumers said that it’s one of their goals to end the day feeling destressed and calm 

An April 2022 study published by Stress.org corroborates these findings, noting a variety of common stressors and the percentage of Americans saying their stress was made worse by them:  

  • Inflation (87%) 
  • Supply chain issues (81%) 
  • Russian cyberattacks & nuclear threats (80%) 
  • World War III (69%) 
  • Money & the economy (65%) 

It’s easy to see that consumers are feeling an immense amount of stress from a variety of sources, namely around finance and safety — even without the virus in consideration.  

So how are consumers taking action on this idea?  

Relaxing after a day in the “new normal” can take a variety of forms, including reading, swimming, enjoying scented candles, and much more.  

How Can Brands Engage with Self-Care Consumers? 

When it comes to engaging consumers on the basis of self-care, it’s crucial to note that this cause is deeply personal and subjective to each individual consumer.  

As a result, there’s not a single tactic that every company can adopt that’ll be engaging for all customers or authentic from a brand perspective.  

Instead, the smartest route is to learn more about the audience interested in your brand, specifically.  

The best way to do this is through foundational market research.  

In foundational market research, your business works with a market research provider to discover the passions, pain points, and opportunities that lie within your consumer base. 

 

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