Field Notes: Categories Are Getting a Wellness Edit

·3 min read

According to recent data from NPD, 44 percent of Americans place more focus on health and wellness, compared to pre-pandemic times — and brands are taking notice with apparel, footwear and sports equipment, especially in the comfort and outdoor lifestyle growing in sales.

Recently, in the apparel market, activewear sales revenue increased by 39 percent from January through April 2022, compared to 2019. During the same time, non-active apparel grew just 1 percent. In a survey from NPD in conjunction with CivicScience, data also showed diet and exercise continue to lead in consumers’ health and wellness priorities as wearing comfortable clothing and limiting screen time also grew in importance.

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“To look their best, people must also feel their best,” said Maria Rugolo, apparel industry analyst at NPD. “And while people still want to look fashionable, comfort and versatility remain key reasons why they make a clothing purchase for themselves. With changing economic times, versatile items that can be worn for various occasions and seasons can ease consumers into making an investment during uncertain times.”

Beth Goldstein, fashion footwear and accessories analyst at NPD, said wellness and comfort go hand-in-hand today, which is also being reflected in footwear as consumers are increasingly purchasing running and walking shoes for casual, everyday use.

“Consumers are broadening their definition of wellness, as the pandemic increased our focus on our inner and mental health,” said Dirk Sorenson, sports industry analyst at NPD. “As we reemerge from the pandemic, there are durable habits that consumers have learned to embrace, from getting outside to investing in products that bring us joy.”

Citing Mental Health America’s recent report on men’s mental health, which found that 6 million males are affected by depression every year, accounting for 25 percent of the male population, Rhone has teamed up with Men’s Health and Evryman to bring its consumers an annual event in honor of Men’s Health Month.

Rhone was founded on the ethos of creating a community that helps one another in their pursuit of progress, with one of the core pillars being mental health,” said Nate Checketts, cofounder and chief executive officer of Rhone. “With this summit, we’re able to create a space that ignites an open and positive conversation around men’s mental health and continue to collectively use our platforms to provide a necessary outlet for attendees.”

The virtual summit is free and open to the public, bringing together wellness experts and professional athletes to share expertise and personal experiences while offering positive dialogue, community and access to practical tools men can use to keep mental health strong.

L*Space Twist of Fate top and Channing short, New Heights top and short.
L*Space Twist of Fate top and Channing short, New Heights top and short.

Other brands that are bringing a heightened focus on wellness include swim brand L*Space, which has recently launched its most expansive activewear collection to date.

From a health perspective, Ocean Spray has also made a recent transition with its new campaign that asks consumers, “What will you do with all that power?” With the campaign, the company highlights the cranberry’s subatomic health benefits as a superfruit, which include powerful oxidative stress-reducing properties and properties that can help maintain a beneficial balance of good bacteria in the gut.

Wellness studios are also growing including a recent opening of Modern Age in New York City alongside new locations of Ever/Body. Public Hotel in New York City is also upgrading its wellness benefits for health-obsessed guests, now offering in-room wellness, beauty and even medical treatments as well as daily complimentary classes on the roof with celebrity trainers leading meditations, sound baths and pilates.


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