Wellness Trends pic for blog

4 Major Home Wellness Trends From HIRI Summit Speaker Dr. Jie Zhao

Sep 21, 2021

In recent years, well­ness in the home has emerged as a major trend in the home improve­ment mar­ket, and the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic only ele­vat­ed con­sumers’ aware­ness of indoor envi­ron­ments’ sig­nif­i­cant impact on our phys­i­cal and men­tal health. Indeed, for many who spend hours work­ing, study­ing, cook­ing and exer­cis­ing in a sin­gle space, well­ness fea­tures in the home are no longer a lux­u­ry, but rather a necessity.

For more insight into the trends shap­ing today’s homes, we talked with a top indus­try expert and speak­er at the Home Improve­ment Research Institute’s annu­al Insights Sum­mit on Sept. 21 – 23. Dr. Jie Zhao is exec­u­tive vice pres­i­dent and head of Delos, a well­ness real estate and tech­nol­o­gy com­pa­ny based out of New York. Jie leads the research and devel­op­ment team (Delos Labs) to cre­ate inno­v­a­tive solu­tions for improv­ing human health and well-being. Solu­tions focus on reduc­ing var­i­ous envi­ron­men­tal and behav­ioral risk fac­tors for peo­ple in res­i­den­tial, com­mer­cial and hos­pi­tal­i­ty spaces.

At HIRI’s Insights Sum­mit, Jie shared details about how COVID-19 has shaped the at-home well­ness indus­try, as well as pre­dic­tions regard­ing the state of well­ness in a post-pan­dem­ic world.

Peo­ple are much more cog­nizant of the impor­tant role that homes play in our lives and how these envi­ron­ments can have a pos­i­tive or neg­a­tive impact on the well­ness of their inhab­i­tants,” he said.

Here is a quick run­down of the four well­ness trends Jie believes will have the largest impact on home improve­ment in years to come.

1. Indoor air quality

It’s a fact that virus­es spread through the air much eas­i­er than by sur­face con­tact. When faced with stay-at-home orders, some­times requir­ing fam­i­lies to quar­an­tine togeth­er in close quar­ters, the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic shed light on the impor­tance of indoor air qual­i­ty, or IAQ, as a com­po­nent of a healthy home.

Air fil­tra­tion is vital to the reduc­tion of par­ti­cle trans­mis­sion,” says Jie. Not only can air-clean­ing tech­nolo­gies improve peace of mind when it comes to invis­i­ble health threats like COVID-19; they also tack­le vis­i­ble par­ti­cles in the air such as smoke and oth­er harm­ful particles.”

Wild­fires are a seri­ous issue plagu­ing many parts of the Unit­ed States, and cli­mate change research indi­cates this trend will only inten­si­fy in years to come. Jie says that ven­ti­la­tion and/​or ion­iza­tion tech­nol­o­gy will be at the fore­front of the fight against con­t­a­m­i­nat­ed air in home spaces. For this rea­son, IAQ may be the biggest well­ness trend to have emerged from the pan­dem­ic,” he said.

2. Mental wellness

Men­tal well­ness issues per­sist­ed long before the emer­gence of the coro­n­avirus, but the amount of atten­tion devot­ed to the top­ic increased sig­nif­i­cant­ly after­ward. Jie said men­tal health came to the fore­front of con­ver­sa­tion due to iso­la­tion dur­ing stay-at-home orders. In fact, research shows that before the pan­dem­ic, 25% of Amer­i­cans iden­ti­fied with men­tal health issues. Since the begin­ning of the pan­dem­ic, 41% have report­ed expe­ri­enc­ing issues with men­tal health.

So, how does this increased focus on men­tal well­ness influ­ence the home improve­ment indus­try? Jie said one result is the gen­er­al migra­tion away from con­gest­ed cities in favor of larg­er res­i­dences, more nature, and less com­mut­ing time. While there are many fac­tors at play in a person’s deci­sion to relo­cate, with 22% of city dwellers mak­ing the move, it’s safe to say that the pur­suit of hap­pi­ness may be a fac­tor in relo­ca­tion to more rur­al parts of the country.

Jie also point­ed to the effect of men­tal well­ness on increased demand in cer­tain prod­uct cat­e­gories. Home enter­tain­ment pur­chas­es, such as video games and stream­ing ser­vices, are up along­side art sup­plies, sports equip­ment, and even pets. 

3. Home office

Anoth­er major change emerg­ing from the pan­dem­ic is the increased impor­tance of the home office. Many com­mer­cial office build­ings were forced to close their doors at the onset of the pan­dem­ic, leav­ing employ­ees to com­plete their work remote­ly from makeshift spaces at kitchen tables, bed­rooms, or front porch­es. Now, more than 18 months lat­er, some work­ers may not be will­ing to return to the office full time.

Many employ­ees have made invest­ments in their home offices and have got­ten used to work­ing from home,” Jie said. He point­ed out that 80% of work­ers want to be able to work from home three days per week, and 92% want at least one remote work­day per week.

There has been a rise in office fur­ni­ture and acces­sories that sup­port health and well­ness, such as the stand­ing desk or ergonom­ic key­board,” Jie said. He also added that 20% to 25% of com­pa­nies are cur­rent­ly reim­burs­ing their employ­ees for well­ness-relat­ed home office sup­plies and fur­ni­ture, hint­ing at the prospect that work-from-home may be around well into the com­ing years.

4. Fitness

The last major home well­ness shift that Jie cov­ered in his HIRI Sum­mit pre­sen­ta­tion is relat­ed to per­son­al fit­ness. While the spread of COVID-19 led to the tem­po­rary clo­sure of most gyms and ath­let­ic insti­tu­tions across the coun­try, it gave rise to new home fit­ness tech­nolo­gies, as peo­ple sought to stay fit with­in the con­fines of their own homes.

Accord­ing to Jie, com­pa­nies like Pelo­ton® and MIR­ROR are chang­ing the way we think about fit­ness. These brands are com­bin­ing the phys­i­cal and vir­tu­al,” he said. Con­sumers not only pur­chase a piece of gym equip­ment for their home; they buy into an entire online social and con­tent expe­ri­ence.”

Accord­ing to Jie, this com­bi­na­tion could alter the home-gym con­cept. I expect to see more inte­gra­tion with online fit­ness plat­forms and home décor,” he said. Peo­ple want con­vert­ible spaces, so the eas­i­er their equip­ment blends with their home and lifestyle, the bet­ter.”

There is no telling where the future of the COVID-19 pan­dem­ic will take us. How­ev­er, HIRI is glad to have experts like Jie to pro­vide insight into how these shifts will affect the home improve­ment mar­ket. To access his pre­sen­ta­tion and all con­tent from the HIRI Sum­mit, join HIRI today.

Stay Informed

Sign up for the HIRI newslet­ter to stay informed about the research we’re con­duct­ing, home improve­ment indus­try trends, and infor­ma­tion on our upcom­ing Home Improve­ment Insights Summit.