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The changing view on mental health fuels the self-care industry
Mental distress is a global problem. According to the World Health Organization, 450 million people worldwide are living with mental illnesses. In addition, people have to deal with the effects of stress and loneliness on mental health. Gallup, for instance, found an increase in the levels of negative feelings people have – such as stress, anger or physical pain – over the past five years. As our awareness and understanding of mental health is growing, the stigma around mental health issues is diminishing. Mental health is increasingly considered a fundamental component of wellbeing and younger generations are actively focusing on staying mentally healthy. Since rates of depression and burnouts are especially high among millennials in the Western world, their attitudes towards sleep, food, work-home balance, physical exercise, and the use of digital technology are changing. Research found that millennials spend more time and twice as much money on the self-care industry, which includes personal care products, but also meditation apps such as Calm and Mindspace, or home-delivered ‘clean diet and detox plans’ consisting of natural foods.
The return of industrial policy
Only in 1999, The Economist called Germany the “sick man of the Euro”. Fast forward two decades, and Germany has become the undisputed economic power of the Eurozone, driven by its world-leading industrial export sector. However, Germany’s economy is in need for digitization, as its digital infrastructure lags behind those of other countries, and its companies face being beaten by digital giants from China and the U.S. To this end, last week Germany launched its new industrial policy, called the “Nationale Industriestrategie 2030”. This long-term strategy aims to support German champions in 10 strategic and digital sectors, and establishes a state investments fund to pre-empt foreign takeovers of strategically important German companies. With this plan, Germany joins a growing group of large economies actively pursuing an industrial digitization policy, such as China (Made in China 2025), India (Make in India), Saudi Arabia (Saudi Vision 2030) and Japan (“Abenomics”). Since Germany has the financial resources, given its large fiscal and current account surpluses, we could expect a new surge of digital innovation coming from Germany.
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