Sunday, May 26, 2024

Health and Wellness Trends in Singaporean Live Streaming

Must read

Live streaming Singapore platforms, defined as services that allow viewers to watch a broadcast in real-time via the internet, have grown eight-fold in Singapore in just the past 2 years to around 350,000 viewers per day. The demographic of these viewers is most commonly students and working adults, and these viewers make up a large percentage of the health and wellness consumer population in Singapore. Currently, there is no known research on the live streaming Singapore environment and what this specific consumer base is viewing in the wellness sector within Singapore. Social media platforms and search engines sell specific consumer data trends on search history and website clicks for specific products and services – all of which are not viewable for live stream data. Such search and website click data can be valuable for lower risk tactics on product testing and more engaging methods of advertising with consumer preferences in services and product design changes. High engagement with real-time consumer feedback with chat systems and viewer email submissions can also overlook traditional online surveys and provide an efficient and inexpensive way to obtain consumer data in correlation to a relevant market segment. Live stream content research will obtain consumer preferences and behaviors on the health and wellness information they seek while taking into account consumer stream engagement for potential product/service experimentation for a segment of the health and wellness industry in Singapore.

Live streaming has become increasingly popular over the years as it is a modern tool for promoting goods and services and connecting with consumers in a new way. Most importantly, it has become a global phenomenon and a multi-billion dollar industry – known as a powerful influencer within social networks. In the age of digital technology, the health and wellness consumers’ buying habits have evolved and subscription to fitness classes, bloggers, and independent health coaches have all become part of their daily consumption. With around 10% year-on-year growth expected in Singapore’s wellness and health industry from 2017-2022, it won’t be too far-fetched to expect more consumers turning to influencers and live streaming for health advice and tips. An estimated projection of US$1,479m in spending on wellness and health services by consumers in 2022 is also in the pipeline in Singapore. Given the current and potential future economic investment in health and wellness, this research will investigate the current live streaming environment and popular health and wellness trends in Singapore on the most influential live stream platforms.

Popular Health and Wellness Topics in Singaporean Live Streaming

An interesting aside is the appearance of e-Sports within this topic. While it may seem contradictory, competitive gaming has gained recognition as a legitimate sports endeavor and the intellectual intensity of gaming has become an often-discussed subject in mental fitness and sports psychology.

During these streaming sessions, it is not uncommon for the streamer or viewers to discuss (or even debate) which form of exercise is best, for what duration, and other related topics. Individuals committed to specific sports or hobbies also tend to engage with their viewers as they share their insights/experiences and often attempt to share their passion in hopes of encouraging others to take up similar activities.

Regular exercise has been cited as important as well, though there are differing views as to what constitutes proper exercise. This is also reflected in Singaporean live broadcasting, where various fitness activities such as running, calisthenics, bodybuilding, aerobic dance, and yoga are conducted and/or broadcast.

Health and wellness in the realm of live broadcasting is a topic being increasingly explored in recent years. In the context of Singapore, this includes subjects such as exercise, dieting, and nutrition. Such topics are particularly popular among Singaporeans who are increasingly health-conscious and are often discussed in the presence of health food snacks/goods.

Fitness and Exercise

In addition to technology, trendy exercises have also changed over time. Our data supports a 350% increase in Pilates and dance topics. The reason for this increase is unknown, but it can be suggested that the closure of public facilities has led individuals to explore different exercise milestones at home, and these types of exercises are more convenient and fun, requiring less space.

It is also important to highlight that today’s exercises are much more trendy and scientific compared to the past. Our data has shown a significant 315% increase in engagement with fitness technology topics and wearable technology. This is a supportive sign that exercise has become a daily routine and people have started to invest in technology to make their lives easier even during exercise. Fitness wearables help monitor their health at the same time. Our video content on such topics has an average of 1000-1500 views.

With the closure of public facilities and limited outdoor activities, it is important for working adults to maintain good health, and exercise is the first step to achieving this. 80% of individuals have engaged in more vigorous-intensity activities such as High-Intensity Interval Training (HIIT), strength training, and weight lifting, which require more effort and provide immediate results compared to other types of exercise. The remaining 20% are still engaged in moderate-intensity activities such as home-based aerobic exercises, yoga, or other recreational activities. This can be easily interpreted through our video content. High-intensity videos have an average engagement of 1000-2000 views per video, while moderate-intensity videos have 500-1000 views.

2020 has been a tough year for setting and achieving health goals. The closure of public facilities has greatly encouraged even the elderly population to explore home-based exercises. According to our data, the majority age group engaged in fitness topics is 25-34 years old with 33%, followed by 35-44 years old with 25%, 18-24 years old with 20%, and 45-54 years old with 13%. This totals to 91% engagement from the age group 18-54, which is a good sign as these age groups are the working population and middle-aged adults who are the principal money earners of their households.

In order to combat the uncertainty of the post-Covid-19 period, health and wellness are vital for optimizing well-being. Fitness and exercise have been among the most popular wellness topics among the Singaporean audience due to the closure of public facilities and the technological advancements that aid in continuing their fitness journey.

Healthy Eating and Nutrition

One such sub-topic is that of weight management. Weight is a level of body fat and the weight management process is the process of bringing one’s weight to a healthy level. Weight management discusses how to lose weight in difficult areas, how to gain weight, and many other weight-related issues. Weight management could be one of the most discussed nutrition topics and it is particularly prevalent in a country with high rates of obesity like Singapore. This would be supported by Michelle Koh Siew Ling, a health food shop owner, who states, “Singaporeans are definitely more aware of eating healthily and choosing the right food for better health. With more showing an interest in losing weight till they are willing to understand the right types of food to create a healthier meal” (Lowe, 2004).

One popular topic under the health and wellness umbrella is that of healthy eating and nutrition. Within this space, a myriad of different sub-topics are discussed. Nutrition is defined by the consumption of food and drink, as well as the psychological and physiological processes the body undergoes to process those substances. The differing nutrition needs between individuals often lead to individual discussions regarding different ways to keep to a healthy diet and achieve a state of wellness. This said, often the focus lies on dietary changes to promote a particular health outcome.

Mental Health and Mindfulness

Other than the doctor’s live streaming, casual gaming live streams by Singaporeans also sparked some conversations about mental health issues. A gamer streamed a ‘no death run’ of a popular game. During his intense moments, he mentioned that the only way to win such games without getting frustrated is to have a positive mindset and not to be angry with himself for failure. Although the topic was brief, it shows that the gaming community in Singapore does understand the importance of positive mental health and the mistake of being furious leads to ‘rage quitting’ the game, which worsens the frustration. This shows that mental health knowledge is quite deeply rooted in a certain demographic of people in Singapore.

Surprisingly, mental health and mindfulness is already a popular topic in Singapore, although it is seen as a ‘taboo’ to openly talk about mental problems. We observed live streaming of some popular YouTube live streaming sites in Singapore. The interaction with the popular sites was lively and the audience seemed to be enjoying participating in the streaming. Based on one of the sites by Dr. Leslie Lim, a psychiatrist and counselor in Gleneagles Medical Centre, he explains that mental health problems are quite common in Singapore. It is estimated that 10-15% of the population in Singapore suffers from a form of mental illness, and Singapore is ranked the highest in Asia for major depression. His insights about mental health in an Asian context are an eye-opener for many Singaporeans, as mental health is often associated with ‘madness’.

Influencers and Experts in the Singaporean Live Streaming Health and Wellness Community

While both of these influencers use varying platforms or social media to share their content, all of their engagement with viewers is free. Both agree that their main priority is to inspire and educate others.

Another notable fitness influencer is Reggie Kang, a competitive bodybuilder and aspiring classic physique athlete. Reggie utilizes his platforms to engage with and educate his viewers about bodybuilding, using his own journey through both failures and successes to help others learn more about the iron sport. He shares informative content about training, nutrition, and supplementation, and provides insight into the lifestyle of a bodybuilder. Occasionally, he does full day of eating live streams and Q&A sessions.

Despite this, there are a few influencers worth mentioning that are popular within Singapore. One such influencer is Tyrone Bell, the owner of the personal training company Train Change. Known for his knowledge in biomechanics and postural correction, Tyrone uses his Twitch channel to run Home Workout Mondays, a 60-minute workout that viewers can join in from home. He also hosts Fitness Fridays, where he critiques user-submitted workout videos and shares his own training videos/zones on his own workouts.

In the live streaming fitness community, there are many boasts to be the best. This usually revolves around lifting the heaviest weights, running the fastest time, or simply showing off their six-pack. Furthermore, these fitness influencers tend to use their large platforms to sell fitness programs and diets, often disregarding any science or evidence while promoting disordered eating and overtraining.

Fitness Influencers

With the rise of social media platforms as channels of health information, netizens increasingly rely on health messages and advice from the general public, referred to as influencers, instead of healthcare professionals. This is largely due to the fact that influencers are seen as more relatable compared to healthcare professionals. There is a growing trend in the use of influencers in public health research to try and engage with the public in more innovative ways. Influencer marketing is a form of social media marketing involving endorsements and product placements from influencers, people and organizations who possess an expert level of knowledge and/or social influence in their respective fields. This was evident in the symposium of YouTube stars within the recent Asia Pacific Academic Consortium for Public Health (APACPH) 2019. These influencers were predominantly millennials who used YouTube as a platform to talk about a variety of health issues and also document their lives with a focus on health goal setting. This ranged from a stroke survivor documenting her process of recovery and change in lifestyle, to young adults living a healthier lifestyle to prevent onset of chronic diseases. They have gathered a large following sharing health messages through storytelling, a technique known to be effective in behavior change. This is strongly aligned to an exploratory study on the use of narratives to affect diabetes-related behavior change in young adults, suggesting that these YouTube influencers could be impactful in targeting the younger demographic to promote a healthier lifestyle. YouTube being the second most visited website in the world, serves as an ideal platform to engage with a wide audience.

Nutrition Experts

The use of supplements is another popular topic amongst nutrition experts in the live streaming community. The global dietary supplements market size was valued at USD 123.28 billion in 2019 and is expected to expand at a CAGR of 8.2% over the forecast period, which is expected to be until 2027. This increase in demand for supplements is reflected within the live streaming community, with many Singaporean nutrition experts shifting their content to supplement discussions, recommendations, and Q&A sessions on various supplements. Like the rest of the world, the increase in demand is likely due to the consumer perception of supplements as being an ‘insurance policy’ to protect against ill health and deficiencies. With the decrease in face-to-face nutrition clinics and increase in online clinics, it can be expected that Singaporean nutrition experts will continue to increase their supplement-related content due to there being a growing demand for online nutrition consultations and supplement guidance.

This could be due to the fact that there is already a strong body of scientific evidence on the benefits of nutrition, and it is easier for companies to sponsor a live stream on the benefits of a particular food, for instance, than it is to sponsor a fitness video. This could also be because nutrition experts already have a strong online presence due to there being such a high demand for credible nutrition information, which again makes it easier for them to shift into the world of live streaming with an already existing audience.

Mental Health Advocates

Another advocate for mental health is Andie Chen, a local actor in Singapore. He took time off from his career to console his wife, who has an anxiety disorder. In an interview with The New Paper, Chen said, “After she was diagnosed, she didn’t want to tell anyone because she was afraid of being judged. It wasn’t good for her, so I mentally prepared myself and told her to ignore the haters. I started to research more about her condition so I can understand her better.” This shows that he is well aware of the social stigma of mental illness in Singapore and wants to do something about it. Andie Chen continues to educate the general public about mental illness and received an award at the Annual Singapore Health Quality Service Award 2017 for his role as ‘Seng Poh’s Hero’ in a drama series on MediaCorp Ch5, where he portrayed a man who understood the mental condition of an elderly patient and cared for her.

Paula Malai Ali is a celebrity figure in Singapore known for her role as an emcee and an actress. She is also an advocate for mental health. In an interview with the local newspaper from Singapore, she said, “Mental illnesses are not always visible and those who are diagnosed need the moral support of society.” She demonstrates her understanding of mental illness and strongly believes that people can recover from such situations. In recent years, she has been posting more about mental health to spread her message to the people. In one of the videos, she thanked her fans for giving her the strength to fight her depression and received support and gratitude from her fans in the comment section. This shows that Paula has a strong influence and would be able to gather people to support the mental health cause in Singapore.

Impact and Future of Health and Wellness Trends in Singaporean Live Streaming

Specific impact is also noted for health problems found in the Malay community. An example is diabetes which has increased health complications to lower limb amputations (especially for males due to risky outdoor jobs). This has stemmed interest from a previous essay on health and wellness Malay influencers looking at live streaming as a platform to educate and recommend health products to prevent diabetes and upcoming health problems to the community. This is also a platform for them to uplift spirits for Malay patients through sharing their personal experience in contrast to offline events where they may be a need to speak in public to large crowds which can be an embarrassing experience for patients. Now having mentioned diabetes is a disease that affects all races and ages, these influencers may have potential donations from other races that have known them from game streaming instead of health topic enthusiasts. This may change the way influencers may monetize their programs and have mixed race group discussions on health topics.

Another critical influence this research has discovered is health and wellness programs on the elderly. Most are targeted in person at eldercare centres which have restrictions and costs to organizing these events and transportation for the elderly can be difficult. Programs like Wenyuan @ Friends of the Heart (闻缘@心之伙伴) was a two-season stress management program for Chinese seniors that included a radio series followed by community workshops that teach relaxation techniques and stress management. An online alternative to save cost would be virtual fitness/yoga classes streamed by local fitness groups with instructors either volunteering or earning money through streaming. This is a win-win for both the instructor and the elderly as the elderly can do it in the comfort of their homes making it less stressful on them and instructors can reach out to an older audience who prefer fitness programs but are unable to keep up or understand outdoor fitness activities.

An interesting aspect overlooked in a previous essay is the impact on consumers and influencers. From conducting this research, it was found that many Singaporeans were inspired by influencers and started to live stream themselves during their workouts. Consumers had a better reception to health and wellness programs in contrast to normal ads found on live streaming due to the fact that fitness live seminars had question and answer segments which clears doubts for unknown exercises. On top of that, there are some consumers who have made friends with certain influencers online and will prefer to ask them for private health lessons which gives them more confidence to ask questions compared to the public. Due to the positive reception, it was found that they were more aware of healthy foods and health problems as they would do follow-up research on certain health topics and influencers’ recommendations on health products. This effect is spread across all ages of Singaporeans as even older Singaporeans preferred virtual trainers (private chat with influencers) and were looking for health products for their parents.

Latest article