It’s been widely reported that the health and wellness industry is booming.

Consumers are watching what they eat, assiduously reading labels. The “clean beauty” industry is surging, offering a range of cosmetic products made from natural ingredients. Fitness is becoming ever more personalized with a slew of apps that measure your vital statistics and help you get a healthier and more customized workout.

What’s received less attention, however, is the growing segment within the wellness market aimed at reducing stress and anxiety.

Fact is, Americans are stressed out. Eight in ten report that they are “frequently” or “sometimes” stressed in their daily lives. No surprise, considering the hyperactive pace of our modern world.

As a result, many are looking for products and solutions that can help relieve their anxiety. Even those once considered eccentric, New Age and “woo-woo” are being given a second look.

From Cynic To Believer

In Can I Spend My Way Out Of My Anxiety?, Mary Beth Williams, a staff writer for, writes about her journey from cynic to believer. Suffering from acute anxiety, she narrates how, along with traditional pharmaceutical treatments and an exercise regimen, she’s now engaging

in an “ongoing experiment of buying [stress-reducing] stuff and seeing what sticks.”

Her purchases have included the mood-brightening Happy Light. A microwavable, scented heating pad. This Works! Deep Sleep pillow spray. And Dohm, a white noise that blots out unwanted sound. Not to mention the Bach Rescue Remedy, the flower-based tincture, a drop of which placed on the tongue in moments of stress promises immediate relief.

What really stood out, however, was the weighted blanket, a product that’s taken off in recent years. Weighted blankets have been used as a therapeutic tool in the treatment of autism, the idea being that a comfortable amount of pressure on the body can be comforting and reassuring.

After some serious initial reservations, Williams claims she’s now a convert. These products work, she reports, even if simply as a placebo. 

An Opportunity For Marketers

Mary Beth Williams’ story is emblematic of a growing trend within the health and wellness industry, broadly known as “self-care.”

Willingness to spend on products and experiences that promise personal well-being is especially pronounced among millennials.

Hence the explosion in meditation and mindfulness apps, life-coaching services, candles, aromas, workout regimens, as well as the kinds of stress-reducing products described above.

In fact, millennials spend twice as much as boomers on self-care essentials.

For those of us in marketing and market research, this obviously presents an opportunity.

It goes without saying that there’s a wide open space for innovation. Whether based on the perceived curative wisdom of the ancients or the latest in neuroscience, a broad array of products and services are ready to be developed and marketed. And, if Mary Beth Williams is any indication, consumers are increasingly receptive to non-traditional solutions.

Perhaps even more interesting is how already-existing offerings might be repositioned as stress-reducers. For decades, the promise of so many products has been to excite us, to pump us up. Consumers today may be looking for something quite the opposite: for products and services (or a way of describing them) that offers even a modicum of relief from a crazy world.

It may be a New Age after all.

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