Well-being is becoming nothing short of a global movement, as consumers seek to ensure healthy lives for as long as possible—particularly as average life-spans continue to rise. The Global Wellness Institute estimates that the worldwide wellness industry grew by 10.6 percent to $3.72 trillion between 2013 and 2015, while the global economy shrank -3.6 percent—making it one of the world’s fastest-growing markets.
In 2017 the “Well Economy” shows no signs of slowing. There’s an ever-growing connectivity in the minds of consumers between the various aspects of their lives. Sleep is linked to productivity, beauty, and mental health. Food is linked to aging, healthy guts, cognitive abilities and stress. Fitness is about mental agility, neuroplasticity and experience—not just firm buttocks. Equinox gyms even offer a mind-body HeadStrong exercise class.
Meanwhile, brands in every category from real estate to hotels are framing themselves in wellness terms.
So what’s new?
The rise of at-home blood testing is bringing entirely new dimensions to the tracking of personal health. Once the preserve of elite athletes, custom blood panels have received a wellness-themed makeover rooted in taking control of one’s own health and longevity. This follows the launch of gene-testing services such as 23andMe, offering DNA-based health assessments and machine-learning personal health and insurance programs from Silicon Valley.
InsideTracker, one of today’s most popular options, analyzes up to 30 different biomarkers, including vitamin levels and cholesterol, from a vial of blood. The InsideTracker platform offers users specific sleep and diet advice to address any deficiencies. InsideTracker’s biggest competitor, WellnessFX, runs a similar service. In November 2016, WellnessFX launched its first at-home testing kit, the $111 Lifelong Vitality package, which monitors key markers of women’s health.
As consumers seek 360-degree wellness, we’re seeing enterprising new players reposition themselves with a wellness angle. There are wellness holidays, wellness hotels, wellness hotel showers. Next on the list is wellness real estate.
Lake Nona, a development on the edge of Orlando, Florida, has been designed with its residents’ health and wellness in mind. A cluster of medical and research facilities known as Medical City provides employment to many of the town’s 11,000 residents, expected to grow to 25,000 before long. The medical centers will soon be joined by a 63-acre home to the United States Tennis Association, with 100 courts on site. Residents of Lake Nona participate in health studies, have access to free activities including tai chi, bike races and yoga, and can stroll along a network of trails that will eventually total 44 miles.
With big-name Instagram fitness trainers selling out rock star-sized arenas around the country, could the next extension of the rock-star model be a fitness Coachella? Already, outdoor mass yoga classes draw big crowds at Burning Man. Nike, one of the biggest names in athletics, is exploring ways to meld the fitness zeitgeist with today’s demand for experience culture. In August 2016, the brand held a three-day immersive fitness event in London that was part-music festival, part-endorphin extravaganza, thanks to its exercise classes. Guests could participate in high-intensity workouts from company trainers or guest celebrity fitness gurus, while visual displays were put on and an electronic soundtrack was supplied by electronic duo Hot Chip.