New year, new me: Shopping to develop good habits

What types of products do people shop for when setting their New Year's resolutions?

As well as selling supplements, Proper offers sleep coaching.


New year, new me, or so goes the annual mantra. January 1 is the day that millions of people around the world kick new habits into motion, having spent December thinking about what they'd like to improve in their lives. According to YouGov, three in 10 Americans made New Year's resolutions in 2020, with 50% of those who did saying they wanted to exercise more, 43% saying they would like to eat more healthily, and 37% planning to lose weight.

"It's like when you're a kid and you start the new school year," Nicole Higgins, a retail consultant and founder of The Buyer and Retail Coach says when asked why consumers resonate so strongly with the fresh start mindset. "Particularly this year, it's going to be very much 'new year, new me' because people have put so many things on pause, or had the time to actually focus and reflect on how they're living."

For many people, setting New Year's resolutions also involves putting money towards them, with 56% of people who make them spending hundreds of dollars on new kit to help them stay on track. Product categories that typically see a boost, according to Nicole, are ones that help you to optimise your life in one way or another, whether that's buying a planner to help get your life organised (such as the products Therapy Notebooks and Intelligent Change sell), or subscribing to an app that promises to keep you working out beyond Q1.

And while gym memberships are a popular choice for the newly fitness-focused, the pandemic is likely to shift those purchases over to exercise products that can be used at home. "The thought is still there in terms of 'I want to get fit', but how they apply it will be done in a slightly different way," Nicole adds. "It's still [not certain] what we'll be able to do and where we can go."

Self motivation is often the biggest barrier to making a new habit stick, with 80% of New Year's resolutions having been broken by February. Last January, Mintel cited Outdoor Voices as a brand that was helping people to boost their motivation levels year-round with its "Doing Things" tagline that celebrated movement in all forms.

Products specifically designed to provide users with actionable insights are likely to be sought out by those looking to stay on track and get an extra motivational boost by seeing the incremental progress they are making. Through its app, the Oura ring can let you know how ready you are to take on the day, as well as tracking sleep and exercise. Thriva, a blood testing product that can be purchased on subscription, has doctors on hand to provide personalised recommendations based on test results. Even Proper, which is ostensibly a supplements brand, also offers a coaching service to help customers understand how their goal of improving their sleep is coming along.

Here, we round up 15 brands that sell products with the purpose of optimising our mental and physical health.

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