Health and well-being trends for 2022
Image 1
GP appointments are happening via e-consults. Women are tracking their cycles with ovulation apps. Smartwatches are analysing sleeping patterns. We don’t even notice these evolutions anymore. One result of the COVID pandemic is that not only are people more aware of their health but also the digitisation and the development of health technology have both accelerated.

The online pharmacy and parapharmacy industry is one of these newly emerging areas of digital health that experienced tremendous growth in 2021. Atida - one of the largest pan-European online health and well-being platforms - saw site visits grow by approximately 50% compared to pre-pandemic levels. In fact, Atida’s data show a direct correlation between this user growth and rising COVID case numbers, restrictions such as lockdowns, and regulations around mask-wearing.

However, it also seems that European consumers developed new shopping habits as a result of the pandemic. Atida’s data clearly shows continued growth in both customers and orders during periods of lower COVID rates and restrictions. When vaccination schemes were being rolled out across Europe in the summer of 2021, for example, the online platform saw its customers and orders increase by around 40%. Just as in businesses such as grocery or liquor stores, customers who were forced to order online for the first time have continued to do so after restrictions eased. Now, shopping online for health and well-being is here to stay.

Somewhat more remarkable are the trends relating to online pharmacy purchases outside of the standard COVID-related products. For example, Atida’s platform reflected the emergence of the #NoMakeup movement, with sales of cosmetics not growing as quickly. Travelers opting for staycations instead of summer travel showed up in the drop in purchases of sun-related products. Another interesting decrease was in the products that specifically target cold and flu symptoms, which can be attributed to social distancing measures and school closures. However, vitamins and supplements remained popular as people continued to research ways to improve their overall health.

For now, the end of the pandemic is still not in sight, so health and well-being will remain top priorities in the coming year. But what trends and habits are here to stay? Future lockdowns and restrictions are uncertain, but there is a growing sense that we need to learn to live with the virus. Atida’s data and oversight of the industry give a clear view of what we can expect.

Holistic self-care routine

For the past two years, people around the world have kept a distance from loved ones, friends, and colleagues. This had an unavoidable impact on everyone’s physical and mental health. Our well-being is deeply influenced by things like stress, sleep, (active) relaxation, diet, exercise, social interactions, and emotions. In the coming year, this self-care trend will continue with an emphasis on a holistic approach that takes into account all factors of health and well-being, not just the physical. You’ll more frequently notice innovations in this area, such as smart wearables, AI (artificial intelligence) chatbots, and mental-health apps like ‘Being’ and ‘Calm’. The conversation will continue to move towards an integrative approach.

Health from the inside out

Expect more focus on prevention, rather than fixing health issues in a curative and reactive way. The beauty and personal care industry will continue to evolve with more focus on looking after the skin with different skincare habits and solutions. Retinols, AHAs, BHAs, and vitamin C solutions were trending products last year and will continue to be in 2022 with brands such as Skinfy. From skin care products, it’s an easy step to care that works from the inside out, so expect increasing attention to nutrition and vitamin supplements. Research by Atida, provider of personalized vitamin subscription Atida Pure, showed that one in five Dutch people wanted to supplement their diet with vitamins. This trend is expected to continue in 2022, especially as new research reveals more about the role of nutrients in the fight against diseases.

It’s all about you - the future is a personalized approach to health

With the rise of online genetic studies and wearable health devices, personalized healthcare is booming. There are already wearables such as Apple Watch and Oura Ring that measure your sleep rhythm, heart rate, blood pressure, and temperature to give you feedback about your lifestyle and health. Consumers can also send DNA and blood samples to companies that give health insights such as genetic anomalies or vitamin deficiencies. This multibillion-dollar industry is currently pushing the boundaries of science and looks to develop even further into the future.

Online shopping for health and well-being is the new norm

Medicine and Covid-19 self-tests delivered to your door? Before the pandemic, it was unthinkable. However, the long lines at the pharmacy are increasingly being replaced by the online drugstore. Now, if you’re feeling under the weather or might have COVID, you can get a cold remedy or test with the tap of a screen - sometimes within ten minutes, thanks to lightning-fast delivery people. Atida now operates its online platform in 9 countries and has delivered more than 15 million orders. The online pharmacy and drugstore is here to stay.