GfK has published data showing that health and well-being have become more important during the Covid-19 crisis. However, it said this trend had already become increasingly prevalent among European consumers before the outbreak of the pandemic.
According to a GfK Consumer Life Study with more than 30,000 consumers surveyed in over 25 countries, a healthy lifestyle was already an important part of daily habits for 46 percent of Europeans at the start of the pandemic. In this context, checking vital signs at home has also become part of this lifestyle. Demand for blood pressure monitors has increased in all European countries over the past ten months compared to the previous year. However, with the desire for prevention, smart health devices, in particular, have gained in importance. According to GfK point-of-sales data, purchases of smartwatches and fitness trackers in Europe increased by 22 percent last year. This trend is evident in all European markets observed, but particularly in Poland, the U.K., Scandinavia and the Netherlands. Only in Spain have sales of wearables declined in recent months. The fact that consumers are taking a more holistic approach to health is evident from the increased sales of wearables with sleep monitoring functions.
It is well known, and not just since the pandemic, that a healthy lifestyle can help prevent certain diseases. According to the GfK Consumer Life Study 2020, fitness and sports activities have generally increased over the past five years: 38 percent of European consumers say they exercise regularly to stay fit. Sixty percent try to exercise at least once a week (both +4 percentage points since 2015). Spanish consumers are more active in terms of sports than the people of Germany, Austria, France and Switzerland, although weekly exercise is also considered important in these countries.
A balanced lifestyle also includes a healthy work-life balance, which is important to nearly half of all European consumers – the need for a balanced lifestyle has increased by 9 percent across Europe over the past five years, according to GfK long-term data. Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia and Switzerland are leading the way. However, home office work during the pandemic has led to new challenges. According to a survey on home office working conducted by GfK in Germany, France and the U.K., on the one hand, it leads to reduced travel times and stress and the ability to take care of some household chores during the day. On the other hand, one-sixth of employees across Europe find it frustrating to have to coordinate and control their own work and leisure time; they feel isolated or obliged to check e-mails in their free time. This is particularly the case in Italy, Spain and the U.K.; in Germany and France, respondents find it easier to distance themselves from their daily work routine and maintain a healthy work-life balance.
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