The Rise of the Wellness Industry in a World Battling Covid

Future of Industry

The pandemic and the consequent lockdown have turned the spotlight onto conversations around general wellness and taking care of ourselves. What does it mean for the industry? What does it entail and what trends do we foresee?

Here’s an in-depth look on wellness industry.

Table of contents:

What is the health and wellness industry

Firstly, when we speak about the wellness industry, we are talking about those markets that enable a consumer to bring in different aspects of wellness into their lives. It includes gyms, spas, nutrition, mental wellness, the beauty industry and anything else that contributes to a sense of wellbeing. It is an immense market worth about 4.5 trillion U.S. dollars.

Here’s a break up.

welness industry

Source: Global Wellness Institute

Wellness, pre- and post-pandemic

Even before the pandemic hit, consumer spending on wellness was on an uphill trend. This is of course keeping in mind that spending on wellness is a privilege that not all could have afforded. That said, for those who could afford have made the industry what it is today. Economic inequalities aside, since the last decade or so, the dangers of stress and unhealthy lifestyles have been taken more seriously. People have been more ready to invest in practices that will make their lives healthier: yoga, meditation, gyms, preventive medical care, nutrients, supplements and so on.

When the pandemic hit,  gyms, swimming pools and other communal centres for physical exercise and fitness were one of the first things that were closed down. But, as with everything else, the fitness-conscious turned to the internet for their rescue. Between the health concerns and increased levels of stress, the wellness culture has continued to soar, just in a different form.

The tele-health boom

According to a survey conducted by McKinsey & Company, consumers choosing tele-health options increased from 11% in 2019 to 46% in 2020. This rise can be attributed entirely to COVID-19. However, projections show that even after lockdown regulations are lifted and herd immunity reached, tele-health will continue to provide stiff competition to physical wellness centres.

But, for now, as we still battle the COVID virus, tele-health has taken over as the perfect substitute to fill the gaps left by cancelled healthcare visits. Going to a hospital for something other than COVID is scary. Instead, you connect with a primary physician online. This trend, if it continues, will usher in a change in the healthcare system as we know it.

Thanks to work from home…

Fitness equipment

With a vast majority of people working from home, companies that provide home-fitness solutions have struck goldmine. According to an article published by the US Chamber of Commerce, companies that sell home gym equipments are reporting significant increase in sales. Peloton, for instance, reported a 66% surge in revenue. Giant yoga brand Lululemon has acquired Mirror for $500 million. Mirror is  a tech-fitness company that makes smart interactive mirrors that can create a virtual gym within the safety of your homes

Health and tech

It goes beyond investing in equipments. Not everyone can afford the space to have a home gym. But even that discrepancy is being taken care of by the boom noticed in fitness apps. According to a report by Sensor Tower, mobile wellness apps are expected to cross 1 billion installs in 2021. This includes a range of fitness, mental health, spiritual and nutrition based ones. The total consumer spending on these applications is expected to be around $1.6 billion. The growing trends in tech and app-development have spilled over into the wellness industry as well.

Immunity boosters and supplements

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The health scare caused by the virus has made us reconsider what goes into our bodies as well. In addition to fitness, products that boost your immunity have also become a huge market hit. This includes both agricultural produce and synthesised nutrient supplements. Companies/ industries providing these are seeing a massive surge in demand. With so much emphasis on ‘eating right’ people are turning towards dietary supplements to maintain a balanced diet.

Food delivery organisations such as Zomato and Swiggy, to name a few, are also curating separate ‘healthy menus’ as they have observed a noticeable spike in orders for healthy and ‘homestyle’ food. People’s worry about the virus has translated into them taking care of themselves and, as a result, a huge growth for the wellness industry. A win-win, if you would like.

Mental health

No amount of conversations around mental health can be deemed enough, especially considering how much the pandemic has triggered fear and anxiety. The virus has placed an inordinate amount of strain on mental health professionals who are experiencing a surge in demand like never before. Besides professionals, mental health applications such as MindShift, Calm, My3, What’s Up and others have also seen a noticeable increase in users. While they don’t claim to be replacements for professionals, you can certainly try managing your mental wellness better with the use of such apps.

Taking care of each other

Despite the horror stories of the pandemic, one thing has become clear. It has brought out the empathetic side in each one of us, and there is concern for others’ welfare beyond our own. So here is what you can do. Come up with wellness challenges and activities that you can do with your family and friends. That way, you can keep track of one another’s growth and stay connected while taking care of yourself.

As for the wellness industry, do we think people will rush back to gyms once restrictions are lifted? Certainly not immediately, and not all. The return to the old state of affairs, if it happens, is going to be extremely cautious and slow. Like workspaces, the wellness industry is also gearing itself upper hybrid set-ups that provide the most flexibility to its consumers.

Also find out more about hospitality industry post COVID.

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