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Wellness Through the Ages

Discover how the wellness industry has evolved including major milestones that have shaped the landscape.

So we’ve explored what wellness is, why it’s important to today’s consumers, and how it’s helping to solve some of society’s biggest problems.

We’ve also shared a brief glimpse into the wellness economy to highlight the types of activities and practices that fall under today’s umbrella of wellness. But how did we get here?

To better understand just how fast-growing and dynamic the wellness landscape has become, let’s explore how wellness has evolved over the past two decades, highlighting some of the major milestones that have shaped the landscape we see today.

Early 2000’s

Spearheaded by the recent launch of iconic brands such as Lululemon (which helps to pioneer the concept of athleisure) and boutique fitness brands, Barry’s Bootcamp and Pure Barre, wellness starts to enter the mainstream.

At the same time, workplace wellness programmes become increasingly commonplace and the fitness and spa industries begin experiencing higher growth. However, the classification of wellness as we know it today is still yet to be formed, with distinct categories such as fitness, nutrition, and personal care remaining largely independent from one another.

2006/2007

Thanks to the launch of influential boutique fitness brands, including SoulCycle and Orangetheory, the concept of fitness as a lifestyle begins to take off. Elsewhere, premium memberships from gyms like Equinox turn sweating into an aspirational pursuit with a $200 price tag.

When it comes to healthy eating, organic is the way to go, with US supermarket chains like Walmart launching lower-priced ranges to cater to the mainstream market.

2010/2011

Wellness hits a tipping point as boutique fitness studios and juice bars in the US start popping up on every corner. Meanwhile, vegan and gluten-free product launches hit an all-time high, and demand for toxic-free beauty products intensifies.

As the concept of wellness starts to transform every industry, digital platforms, including Well+Good and Goop, launch in a bid to educate, inform and track its growth for the health-conscious consumer.

2013/2014

Wellness is now firmly in the mainstream consciousness, and rapidly spreading thanks to the emergence of wellness bloggers, like Deliciously Ella, extolling the virtues of ‘clean eating’ to huge global audiences. Fitness membership platform, ClassPass, offers consumers a more accessible and affordable way to start exploring boutique fitness. As such, the economic value of wellness starts to become more widely recognised.

The Global Wellness Institute releases research finding the global wellness industry to be worth $3.4 trillion, and benchmarks the 10 sectors comprising the global wellness market.

2015

By 2015, wellness has extended its grip. A third of global employers are investing in wellness programs [1], global athleisure sales rise by a whopping 16% [2], and the wellness tourism industry hits $500 billion in value [3].

As wellness cements itself as a credible industry, Welltodo launches as an industry resource for professionals, entrepreneurs, and those with an interest in the business of wellness.

2016/2017

As high-profile figures speak out about the benefits of a vegan diet, the plant-based revolution continues to pick up speed, exceeding more than $4.9 billion in the US alone [4]. Further, as Thrive Global, Arianna Huffington’s new and ground-breaking sleep venture launches, the focus begins to shift towards stress, burnout, and sleep.

Elsewhere, the $200bn+ alternative medicine market [5] highlights the growing demand for more spiritual approaches to wellness.

2018/2019

Wellness is now a $4.5 trillion industry [6]. The mind-body connection has taken centre stage with meditation apps like Calm and Headspace generating millions of downloads, supermarkets start launching their own vegan brands and, as at-home fitness tech giant, Peloton, continues to expand internationally, reports suggest the boutique fitness industry is feeling the impact [7].

2020

With the global pandemic upending the industry, the digital revolution accelerates at breakneck speed and the value of individual fitness trainers and wellness coaches reaches new heights.

With the world facing a collective mental health crisis, the global wellness economy can now add mental wellness, a rapidly expanding $121 billion market, to its $4.5 trillion overall valuation [8].

What do you think?

Use the Comments section below to share some of the ways you’ve seen wellness becoming more relevant in your own life over the last 5, 10, or even 20 years.

Have you noticed wellness becoming a more prevalent influence on the way you work, consume, eat/drink, or socialise?

Which of these historical milestones in the evolution of wellness stand out to you?

References

[1] Employers Worldwide Step Up Investments in Workers’ Wellness

[2] The Athleisure Trend Is Here To Stay

[3] Wellness Industry Statistics & Facts

[4] Plant Based Foods Association Responds to DAIRY PRIDE Act and Other Attacks on the Growing $4.9 Billion Plant-based Foods Industry

[5] Complementary And Alternative Medicine Market Size, Share & Trends Analysis Report

[6] Wellness Industry Statistics & Facts

[7] The Agile Research Platform for Rapid Consumer Feedback

[8] Global Wellness Institute Finds Mental Wellness Is a $121 Billion Market

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