The Rise of the Wellness Economy

The Rise of the Wellness Economy

Last week, CB Insights published a report titled “The Rise of the Wellness Economy: Startups, corporates, and technologies poised to have the greatest impact on the wellness economy in 2018 and beyond.” This report is one of the most informative things we’ve seen on the business of wellness and we highly recommend reading it in full. The report is also quite long, so we summarized the key takeaways and the pain points companies are attempting to solve.

Key Takeaways

  • According to the Wellness Institute, Wellness is a $3.7 trillion industry
  • According to a 2017 IPSOS study, 64% of Americans want to lower their healthcare costs but don’t know how to get started
  • Consumer values have shifted towards holistic health and brands are capitalizing on wellness marketing to entice consumers towards aspirational lifestyles in mental health, diet, and beauty
  • The wellness landscape is vast: From sleep robots to virtual nutritionists to CBD oils, these companies are growing the wellness space
  • The new frontier for wellness includes sleep, cannabis, and travel offerings
  • Wellness could be a cornerstone of smart cities: Gas station architecture firm Gensler and sportswear retailer Reebok partnered to develop a concept to convert American gas stations into fitness and wellness centers that generate energy

Pain point: Consumers expect convenient fitness options that fit into unpredictable schedules

Solution: Integrating fitness and community with gyms, brands, and technology

  • Gym chains and fitness equipment providers using technology integration across the gym value chain 
  • Apparel and beauty brands using in-store events to foster community and brand loyalty
  • Partnerships forming between boutique fitness studios and boutique brands to drive engagement

Pain point: Consumers seek comfortable, breathable apparel that can be worn inside and outside the gym

Solution: Ath-leisure and Work-leisure apparel

  • Apparel designed for longevity is leading to a shift from seasonal products to seasonless products
  • Sportswear brands and apparel retailers are integrating performance fabrics for “work-leisure” lines

Pain point: Consumers seek healthier pre-workout and post-workout fuel instead of incumbent sports nutrition products

Solution: Nutrition geared toward active consumers

  • Active nutrition startups are emphasizing clean and sustainable ingredients
  • New sales channels are forming for active nutrition products through vending machines, fitness centers, supermarkets, and meal plan deliveries

*For more on information on trends in sports nutrition, check out our post from Natural Products Expo East

Pain point: Consumers increasingly seek better-for-you personal care products as a part of healthier lifestyle choices

Solution: Better-for-you beauty care brands and new products from existing brands

  • The launch of branded cosmetics to complement activewear offerings
  • Partnerships between beauty care brands and boutique activewear brands
  • Partnerships between high-momentum cosmetics brands and gyms to provide in-gym cosmetics distribution

*For more on trends in beauty care, check out our post from
Natural Products Expo East

Pain point: Consumers are increasingly seeking healthier work environments

Solution: Corporate Wellness Programs

  • Corporate wellness programs are starting to emphasize sleep, fitness, and mental wellness
  • Standing desks, meditation pods, and ample natural light are being prioritized in the workplace

Pain point: Mental health disorders are becoming more widely acknowledged and less stigmatized. Consumers and healthcare providers are looking to manage depression and anxiety

Solution: Cross-industry opportunities in mental health

  • Corporate wellness programs are offering mental health and meditation services
  • Sports retailers are partnering with brands for in-store mental health or meditation events to drive consumer engagement
  • Gym chains offering yoga and mindfulness classes in the gym or through partnerships with yoga studios
  • Meditation services provided through apps or boutique studios

Pain point: Consumers have greater access to cannabis-based products that offer wellness benefits such as relaxation and anti-inflammation

Solution: Expansion of use cases for Cannabis-based products

  • Beauty brands integrating CBD into existing products or using CBD as the featured ingredient
  • Cannabis-infused alcoholic beverages could eventually displace traditional alcohol sales
  • Cannabis could threaten tobacco sales
  • CBD integrated into active nutrition products to enhance workouts or speed up post-workout recovery

Pain point: According to the American Sleep Association, More than one-third of American adults don’t get enough sleep and 50-70 million U.S. adults have a sleep disorder

Solution: Cross-industry opportunities in sleep wellness

  • Sleep is being hailed as a new frontier for holistic wellness. This has led to healthy foods and beverages, fitness and nutrition apps, and more that support sleep wellness
  • Fitness, sleep, and wellness clubs are increasingly offering relaxation services, including yoga, meditation, and nap pods
  • Beauty products and supplements promoting sleep and recovery
  • Luxury sleepwear being offered by new brands and existing athleisure companies

Pain point: Wellness has become so ingrained in consumers’ lifestyles that they are seeking wellness throughout the travel experience

Solution: Integrating health and wellness into travel offerings

  • Integration of fitness services within airports and hotels to help travelers stay fit throughout their journeys
  • Pre-flight beauty and relaxation services
  • Fitness-focused vacations that integrate lifestyle with travel

Pain point: Consumers seeking healthier living environments that promote health and wellness

Solution: The intersection of wellness, real estate, and home goods

  • Development of wellness-focused smart cities prioritizing community, mental health, fitness, etc.
  • Tech-enabled smart homes with wellness features – automation, smart kitchens, sleep tech, lighting, etc.
  • Voice assistants focusing on health and wellness services
  • Preventative and alternative healthcare services – telemedicine, medical spas, homeopathic medicine, etc.


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