Lululemon finds wellbeing in China 18% higher than global average

Mainland China is one of the happiest among Lululemon’s global markets, according to a new report from the Canadian sports retailer.

Lululemon published its third annual Global Wellbeing Report on Monday as part of its ongoing contributions to mental health and wellbeing advocacy.

The report focused on the 14 key markets where Lululemon currently operates and has the most potential to positively impact wellbeing, which span North America, Western Europe, East Asia, and Australasia. 14,000 respondents took part in the online survey, which was conducted from May 1 to June 6, 2023.

Overall, the report found that global wellbeing has not improved since the report was first undertaken in 2021, with one in three respondents saying their wellbeing was lower than before.

The findings highlighted that, despite greater prioritisation of wellbeing since the global pandemic, “stressful imperatives” and “unachievable standards” have increased anxiety surrounding the pursuit of wellbeing. Current affairs, particularly climate change, exacerbate these problems, with half of respondents saying topics in global news media make them worried about their personal wellbeing.

But the data for mainland China presented a far more optimistic outlook, with the region achieving a wellbeing score of 78, second only to Thailand’s 79 and versus a global average of 66. Suggesting a possible reason for the abundance of wellbeing, 75% of mainland China respondents said they “lean into hope to cope with bad news” and 67% said they feel optimistic about the future.

These results coincide with data published by the market research firm Ipsos in April, which found 91% of Chinese survey respondents were “very happy” or “rather happy” – almost 20 percentage points above the global average. The report drew some reactions of disbelief and ridicule on the Twitter-like platform Weibo, but other commenters cited a “stable social environment” as a plausible reason for the dramatically positive result.

Interestingly, China also ranked high for institutional expectation in Lululemon’s report, with 77% agreeing that institutions (government, media, NGOs, business) are not doing enough to facilitate societal wellbeing. This placed China behind only France, Thailand, and Spain out of the total 13 countries surveyed.

“Insights such as these help us to have a real conversation around the state of well-being so that we can better understand how to support people and communities in their efforts to be well,” explained Lululemon’s Chief People and Culture Officer, Susan Gelinas.

“Advancing wellbeing is not a solitary effort, it is a collective undertaking that requires commitment and compassion as we build a path towards positive change.”

As a result of the report’s findings, Lululemon plans to advocate for a “softer” approach to self-care, which it defines as “simple acts of movement, mindfulness, and connection”.

The brand is now gearing up for World Mental Health Day on October 10, when it will have the chance to introduce this softer approach to wellbeing through community activities in Shanghai, Qingdao, Xiamen, Beijing, Nanjing, and Chengdu.


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