Following the restrictions of the pandemic, China’s youth are newly anxious about their health while also desiring the fun that goes with being young, continuing to party but with an eye on health.

It’s not a paradox unique to China, but as one of the first countries hit by the pandemic, it is also one of the first countries to experience what follows.

“After the pandemic, consumers are much more focused on their physical and mental health,” Henry Shen, chief strategic officer of McCann Health Greater China, told Campaign.

“There is an opportunity for us. For healthcare brands, it is a hint. While keeping the physical health for consumers, how to maintain the mental health of consumers is something people can work on.”

Across the world, both physical and mental health are now front and centre in people’s minds. It’s important that brands, particularly in the wellness category, recognise this and help people maintain their health while helping to destigmatise these issues.

In light of the pandemic, in which some researchers have pointed to a heightened burden on people’s mental health, these efforts are extremely important, even in countries – like China – which demonstrated a firm response to the virus.

Though it’s a subset of a larger category, this opens up a space for brands offering wellness as a part of a person’s life that should be maintained, in contrast to an idea of health as something to fix.

As Glossy points out, unlike the US, where a large wellness industry exists, its existence in China is a more subtle life priority for the country’s youth. Its report points to a study by iiMedia Research from April, which showed that 70% of Chinese internet users say they increased their consumption of health products in the pandemic.

“Consumers in China have been quite health-conscious and have been into wellness for a while,” said Amrita Banta, the managing director of Agility in comments to Glossy. “It’s not like people were not into health and wellness earlier in China, but of course, Covid has accelerated it.” 

For foreign brands experienced in stoking the interest of wellness-focussed consumers, this means an important opportunity.

As such, some brands such as the Australia-based Swisse, a maker of supplements and skincare, report an idea of “punk wellness” emerging.

With a strong under-30 customer base, especially in China, both online and offline, the task has been to marry trends and health. One activation saw Swisse open a milk tea shop in Shanghai where it presented a redesign of a handful of products to make them easier to carry.

Sourced from Campaign Asia-Pacific, Glossy, WARC