Wellness, Redefined

Five Jobs to be Done of Wellness

Why we’re focusing on wellness

Nearly a year has passed since we first made kitchen tables, nurseries, bedrooms and sofas our new flexible workspaces here at untold. Dogs and kids have barged in on our meetings, along with doorbell interruptions as our groceries were delivered. It has been a long year, one we’ll be unlikely to forget anytime soon. 

Noticing the effects of the restrictions on our own lives, we wanted to shift the focus to the implications of what we’ve collectively experienced for our futures, even as the world starts to open up again. In this edition, we want to look specifically at how our collective experience of wellness has changed and will continue to change. This report contains insights from 3,000 consumers across the UK, US and Australia gathered in January 2021, based on which we present our five focus areas for wellness in 2021 and beyond.

Jobs to be Done: A perspective on changing consumer behaviour

At untold, we use the framework of ‘Jobs to be Done’ in our work with clients. Jobs to be Done is a theory of how consumers make buying decisions, which helps us create customer-led product and marketing strategies. A central tenet of this thinking is the idea that customers buy products or services to help them make progress with a struggling moment. It’s this struggle, identified, that often drives people to seek out solutions.

This pandemic has caused a complete reshuffle of our collective struggling moments. We can easily think of a range of pre-pandemic ‘jobs’ which have been altogether eliminated.

Instead, creeping up the priority list are a range of new ‘jobs’, and a collective rise in the number of people who have these jobs, which means greater demand for products and services that are designed to meet them. 


  • Finding ways to entertain myself and pass time during the commute
  • Sticking to healthy packed lunch options instead of buying lunch out
  • Staying on trend with office wear without breaking the bank

During the pandemic

  • Delineating between my working life and home life in a small space
  • Managing my stress levels when confined indoors
  • Finding ways to stay fit without the gym
In the following section we explore the impact of the pandemic on our struggle to feel like ourselves mentally and physically, and the strategies that consumers are adopting to feel better.

The Covid Wellness Crisis

One in three people have felt depressed, lonely and emotional, while nearly 40% said they had struggled with stress and lower energy levels.
A staggering 38% of Brits say their mental health has declined since the pandemic began. The coronavirus pandemic has caused what can only be described as an acute wellbeing crisis.

At the same time, awareness of the importance of mental health has increased significantly. Nearly half of respondents said that mental health had become more important to them than ever before, and many have tried to mitigate the impact of corona on their lives with various strategies. These range from an increased focus on self-care to the establishing of at-home fitness routines or even taking up therapy. The crisis has also drawn attention to how much time we spend in front of screens, which has made many - millennials in particular - keen to regulate their screen time better. 

It is clear that the collective trauma of the past year’s events will leave a lasting impression, and even as things get back to normal we expect that people’s priorities will remain permanently altered. This leads us to five focus areas around consumer behaviour in relation to wellness in 2021 and beyond.
Percentage of people that said their mental health has declined since the pandemic began
Mental health has now become more important to them than ever before
Things that have become more important over the last year: 

Improve and maintain my mental health

One of the most urgent new ‘jobs to be done’ on consumers’ lists is to actively look after their mental health to mitigate the impact of increased levels of isolation and uncertainty.
This has led to more open discussions of mental health, a growing awareness of the link between physical and mental wellbeing, and a wider interest in therapy, coaching and alternative treatments. 

One in four respondents said they had started monitoring their mental state in 2020, while a staggering 39% of Americans had taken up therapy or were planning to do so this year. Interest in digital wellness tools, like app subscriptions, has also ballooned significantly.

The upshot is that many brands within the wider wellness category have started to market their products in terms of their mental health benefits. Think for example of the rise in popularity of weighted blankets and aromatherapy diffusers. In this sense, the pandemic offers businesses within the wellness space an opportunity to shift their communications and really home in on mental health as their selling point.

1 in 4

started monitoring their mood and mental state this past year 


have taken up or plan to buy a mindfulness subscription


are looking into therapy or coaching in 2021 


of Americans have taken up therapy or intend to in the next year

Job 1 JTBD Showcase

NEOM Organics

Sleep edit allows people to get their perfect dreamy sleep.

Motley X Charlotte Garnett

Designed to help focus anxious minds, these clever, reassuringly weighty worry beads are there to be touched and played with in trying moments.


A weighted blanket made without artificial fillers or synthetic fabrics. Naturally heavy, cooling, and hand-knit with organic materials.


Get matched easily with a licensed, board-accredited counselor today.

Reach the next level of physical wellness

The next ‘job’ on customers’ lists during the pandemic has been to stay healthy despite excessive time indoors and lower activity levels.
This need, combined with a heightened craving for control in a time of uncertainty, has led to a significant increase in the sales of smart wearables: a 2% rise in the UK and US in Q2 of 2020 clearly correlated with the start of restrictions. These tracking devices help consumers stay motivated and focused on their goals, as well as put their mind at ease: one in four said they had started monitoring their sleep quality or diet in 2020. 

Even as restrictions gradually ease, we expect to see a continued interest in personal tracking as the coronavirus has conditioned consumers to engage in continuous self-evaluation for symptoms and health risks. One in five respondents said they were planning to buy a fitness wearable in the next year. And as the wearables market matures and starts to diversify, more specialist products arise that focus on different aspects of mental health and wellbeing. In short: there is plenty of opportunity to be found in the wearables segment beyond simple step trackers.


started monitoring their calories burned more than before


started tracking their sleep quality


started tracked their diet (food/drinks)

Job 2 JTBD Showcase


The most accurate guide on Sleep, Readiness, and Activity


A weight-loss program designed by psychologists & scientifically proven to create real, sustainable results

Apple Watch

The future of health is on your wrist. No matter how you love to move

Garmin Forerunner

For the up-at-dawn runners and the conditioned-for-pain triathletes.

Make fitness an integral part of my life

A third conundrum for many in 2020 has been how to stay fit and healthy with no or intermittent access to gyms and other sports facilities.
A third conundrum for many in 2020 has been how to stay fit and healthy with no or intermittent access to gyms and other sports facilities. While many certainly crave a return to their usual fitness routines, sports facilities are unlikely to be back to full capacity soon - and even when they are, many have now gotten used to their at-home workout routines and may no longer feel the need to pay for a gym membership. Nearly half of gym goers said they planned to reduce or eliminate their gym time entirely, coinciding with 41% who had recently bought or were planning to buy at-home fitness equipment. 

This means that gyms and other sports facilities will have to adapt their offerings and subscription models in order to stay afloat in this new market. Gaining insight into their customers’ new needs and preferences will be key. Solutions could range from offering private workout space and equipment hire to an expansion of online class programmes and diversified subscription packages with at-home options built in. Creativity and insight will be key for businesses in the fitness sector to thrive in 2021 and beyond.


have either recently bought or plan to buy at-home exercise equipment


of gym goers plan to reduce or stop their gym time now

Job 3 JTBD Showcase


From meditation and yoga, to a walk/run on the gym tread and cycling on my spin bike, this app has everything I need to get a complete workout.


Ride virtual roads, enjoy structured workouts or take part in social group rides. The at home training game connecting cyclists around the world.

Apple Fitness+

A new fitness service powered by Apple Watch. You can choose from a catalogue of workouts led by expert trainers.


Try the best fitness classes, gyms, wellness and beauty venues with one app.

Look after my body as a matter of routine

Job number four for customers consists of taking care of themselves through activities and practices that are beneficial for mind and body.
Job number four for customers consists of taking care of themselves through activities and practices that are beneficial for mind and body. Where self-care and ‘me time’ were once seen as indulgent, they are now increasingly recognised as an essential and integral part of a healthy lifestyle. 45% said self-care is more of a priority for them now than ever before, with 27% establishing new self-care routines. 

This shift in perspective to self-care as a virtue has inevitably led to increased spending on related products and services. 2020 saw a steady increase in the sales and consumption of vitamins and supplements, as well as a rise in popularity of CBD products. Skincare has also come to the fore as a ritual through which consumers choose to take better care of themselves. With many physical stores forced to close for periods of time, these purchases increasingly happen online, identifying an opportunity for beauty, wellness and health brands to expand their presence in the online space now that consumers have become more accustomed to online shopping.
UK has seen largest increase in buying vitamins and supplements a 4% increase from Q1 to Q4 2020
Vitamin/supplement purchases (2020 quarterly)
Source: GWI Quarterly Purchase Data

In 2020


of Millennials said vitamins and supplements have become more important to them.


of Gen-Z said skincare has become more important to them.


of US consumers have purchased CBD products (in the last month).
Adoption is highest among Millennials (9%) and lowest for Boomers (4%).

Job 4 JTBD Showcase


A 3D printed, personalised gummy packed full of high impact vitamins and nutrients.

CBD Products

Most commonly used to reduce stress, decrease pain and inflammation, and improve sleep.

Reduce negative effects of screen time

2020 has turned being offline into an all-too-rare luxury.
The massive increase in online events and video meetings as well as the emergence of streaming as the only available form of entertainment - rather than one of many - has led to collective screen fatigue. Therefore the consumer’s ‘job’ is to reduce anxiety related to constant digital availability and excessive screen time.

The pandemic has sharply brought to the fore pre-existing concerns about the harmful sides of technology. 36% of millennials said that ‘endless scrolling’ is one of the worst effects of our increasingly digital lifestyles, while concerns over fake news and privacy have also increased sharply. This means that businesses who sensitively and transparently handle customers’ data will be evaluated much more favourably. Customers increasingly want to steer clear of ‘big tech’, instead gravitating towards smaller but more controllable alternatives, as well as spending their time online more consciously.

1 in 4

Gen Z's have started turning off their devices for periods of time (the most likely to be doing this of all the generations).


of Millennials say ‘endless scrolling’ is one of the worst things to come out of our digital lives.

Over half

of Boomers are concerned about the negative effects of misinformation (the most concerned of all the generations).

1 in 3

hate too many video calls and 40% say they could live without video calls.

Job 5 JTBD Showcase


Designate times of your day or spaces in your home to be device-free with Digital Wellbeing App. Finding a central place to keep your phone can reduce the urge to check emails and notifications.

Travelling Whale

Digital Detox Cabin offers something incredibly unique, a detox from modern life in an incredible cabin filled with all the necessities you need for you to relax and revitalise.


2020 marked a prolonged period of un-wellness. Aside from the virus itself, many of us suffered from the side effects of stay-at-home orders and restrictions on social interaction. This has taken a toll on our collective mental health. Even as the world slowly restarts, we’ll be living with the aftereffects for some time yet. The pandemic has also altered people’s routines to a point where they might not be comfortable going back to their old ways in the near future. 

Our research shows that efforts to ‘feel good again’ have sparked an even greater interest in products and services geared towards the wellness space, which we expect to continue even as restrictions gradually ease. Businesses must take the time to understand the mindset of their target audiences and to identify and serve their most important ‘jobs’. This is how businesses will stay relevant, thrive and grow in 2021 and beyond. 

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