The Skift Wellness newsletter is our weekly dispatch focused on what’s happening in wellness from a global business standpoint. Skift Wellness lives where wellness meets commerce, mindfulness meets technology, the yoga studio meets the boardroom, and health meets business.
It’s a big week for Skift: We just released our annual Megatrends in travel for 2019, and today marks the launch of our first outlook for Megatrends in wellness, which dives into what will define the well-being space in the year ahead and beyond.
We’ve not only pored through the trends that will emerge in the coming months, but we’ve also heard from some of the biggest industry leaders in categories including wearables, food and beverage, beauty, and athleisure. It’s no surprise that we kept hearing a common theme: Everyone is excited about wellness and its projected growth in 2019.
What brands in the industry have to grapple with now is how to be the one that customers choose. Take athleisure: As more startups enter the category (it seems as if a new luxe legging brand launches daily), brands like Lululemon must figure out how to differentiate themselves, or get left behind. In Lululemon’s case, the brand is testing out a community-based program to lock in loyal customers, and other athleisure companies have launched similar programs.
Meanwhile, the tide is shifting toward at-home and on-demand workouts, with brands like Peloton, Aaptiv, Mirror, and Freeletics leading the charge. If the launches (and customer growth rates) go as planned, they’ll likely find an even bigger customer base in 2019 (while boutique spin studios face an uphill battle, as you’ll read below).
Also trending? More discreet wearables that deliver wellness stats without the clunkiness or incessant buzzing and messaging of a watch. While wrist-based tracking will still have fans, alternative wearables look to capture new audiences.
As the wellness industry outlook seems promising for the year ahead (even if the stock market seems questionable), these are the trends that will continue to push the sector forward.
— Leslie Barrie, Wellness Editor
The Megatrends Defining Wellness in 2019: With the wellness industry growing at such a rapid pace, staying one step ahead is crucial. Discover how brands across a range of wellness categories, from fitness and CBD, to meditation and travel, have worked to not only keep up with shifting customer demands, but continue to innovate. A common theme throughout: Though wellness services, products, and experiences are in high demand, customers want to continue to be surprised and engaged in ways that seem personalized and community-oriented.
Target Dabbles in Beauty-Centric Wellness: The mass retailer now (finally?) realizes that everyone wants in on wellness –– especially its core millennial audience –– and has started to adapt accordingly. Toward the end of December (just in time for the “New Year, New You” season), Target debuted vegan supplement powders by natural beauty brand Pacifica, with cheeky names like “Slay All Day” and “Glow Greens.” It will also showcase additional beauty-meets-wellness brands at the end of their aisles through March. Going forward, Target would be wise to create a dedicated wellness section.
23andMe Is Adding Wellness Advice to Its Offerings: Now, along with your ancestry and carrier status, the genetic testing service can share how best to shed pounds, thanks to a partnership with Lark Health, an artificial-intelligence coaching app that sends customized weight loss and diabetes prevention guidance to users. The goal? Turn 23andMe’s genetic reports into actionable advice (so if a customer wants steak, he can message his coach, who might advise against it if his genetic report says to limit red meat). It’s added value for customers, but some scientists have doubts whether the tools really work.
PopSugar Enters the Wellness Event Space: In a move to expand its events branch, PopSugar is getting into wellness with a new program called the Well, which launched at CES in partnership with Samsung. The Well will offer one tentpole event per quarter centered on well-being experiences, with plans to roll out smaller wellness events throughout the year. It will also become a dedicated section on PopSugar’s website. It’s a savvy way for Samsung to start associating itself with wellness (there will be links to its smartwatches alongside PopSugar’s wellness content) and for PopSugar to diversify its revenue sources.
The Future Is Fuzzy for Flywheel and SoulCycle: A few years ago, both brands were riding high –– but now the luxury spinning studios face challenges in all directions. First, franchises like CycleBar, as well as independent spin boutiques, have been popping up across the country, offering lower-cost classes and package discounts. Then there’s the biggest elephant in the studio: Peloton. The streaming spin company is now the leader in the market, estimated at $4 billion, with a likely IPO coming in 2019. Flywheel and SoulCycle have been scrambling to create new offerings for customers, but it may be too little too late.
Why the Sunscreen Industry May Face Gloomy Days Ahead: Sure, medical professionals would agree that sunburns are harmful to your health, but is a little natural sunlight really so bad? Some scientists have started questioning the dermatologist mandate to “always wear sunscreen,” considering the guidelines were created primarily for people with fair skin and don’t take into account the myriad benefits of vitamin D (which your body produces after time in the sun and can’t be replicated by supplements). If the thinking shifts on sun exposure, the forecast for the sunscreen industry may not look so bright.
Skift Wellness Editor Leslie Barrie [firstname.lastname@example.org] curates the Skift Wellness newsletter. Skift emails the newsletter every Thursday.