The FINANCIAL — New research from Barclays Corporate Banking reveals that Covid-19 could lead to £21.1bn in additional wellness-related business revenue across the UK hospitality and leisure sector by 2023. Beyond increased hospitality and leisure revenues, these changes could have a knock-on effect for the wider economy, adding a potential £11.1bn in gross value add to the UK.
The virus has accelerated consumer demand for health and wellness offerings, driving the additional potential revenue boost by £2bn. Before the lockdown, additional health and wellness options would have led to an estimated £19.3bn in sector revenue by 2023.
New demand for health and wellbeing
Before Covid-19, under a quarter (23%) of UK consumers felt health and wellbeing were extremely important to their day-to-day lives. Following the pandemic, this has soared to 1 in 3, representing an additional 4.8 million people, or 9% of the UK population. On average, respondents ranked the importance of health & wellness as 8.1 out of 10, with the average score post-pandemic around 7% higher than before the onset of Covid-19.
With nearly half (49%) of respondents saying Covid-19 negatively impacted their mental health, consumers are craving breaks. The most popular types of post-lockdown leisure activities to improve mood and mental health were reported to be short breaks (44%), long holidays (33%) and restaurant visits (30%).
Crucially for UK businesses, nearly a quarter of people (22%) reported plans to take more UK-based holidays over the next 12 months, with the top reasons being consumers do not feel comfortable travelling abroad (42%) or worry about travel advice changing while they’re away (35%).
The top priorities for post-Covid holidays are resting and recharging (54%), spending time with loved ones (42%) and experiencing nature (33%). When visiting restaurants after Covid-19, consumers are hoping for healthier options, the most popular of which are low sugar (16%), low fat (12%) and low calorie (12%) options.
Almost a third of UK adults believe that health and wellness offerings should be included as standard by hospitality and leisure sector establishments. Wellness is a permeating culture, that includes commodities like spa treatments and vegan haute cuisine, but also fresh air, a relaxing environment or walks in the countryside.
Mike Saul, Head of Hospitality and Leisure, Barclays Corporate Banking, said: “Hospitality and leisure businesses face uncertainty following the shut-down in March and continuing change as we adjust to a new normal but this is not a time for companies to delay investment or ignore consumer trends. While difficult in the short-term, firms making the right investments now, such as in health and wellness offerings, have the potential to bounce back stronger.
“Understanding the need for rest, mental health and healthier food options for a public still adjusting to the lifestyle changes forced by Covid-19 will allow businesses to better serve their customers and help to make up for lost revenue post-pandemic.”
Business investment in health & wellbeing
When asked why they invest in health and wellbeing, businesses were most likely to say to keep customers returning (46%), make customers happier (45%) and for profitability (40%). These were closely followed by the idea that investment in wellbeing was “the right thing to do” (40%). On average, businesses are putting around £52,723 of money into providing healthier options.
Even before Covid-19, businesses rated the importance of health and wellbeing on average as eight out of 10. Consequently, 57% said they expect to spend more on health and wellbeing in 12 months’ time, while 61% say they plan to invest more in three years’ time.
Potential health and wellbeing heroes
Looking at the hospitality and leisure industry as a whole, Covid-19 has had the most significant impact on accommodation providers. Pre-Covid, health and wellness offerings could have added £4bn to the sector’s revenue, which jumped to almost £4.4bn after lockdown.
Overall, regardless of Covid-19, food and drink is the sector with the most to gain for boosting health and wellbeing offerings, at £10.8bn in additional annual revenue by 2023. As healthy eating becomes a key differentiator for consumers, Brits would pay a premium of 12.1% for healthier food and drink options in health clubs, compared to 4.5% in a pub or restaurant.