How Tech is Changing the Wellness Industry
Updated: Jun 13
Tech Wellness is here to stay. How this new trend will impact your life for the better.
Quarantine has accelerated the adoption of tech for wellness. Workout and meditation apps, fitness channels on YouTube, yoga and therapy sessions on zoom are just a few examples of options that you had when the gyms, yoga and meditation studios closed last year.
The growth can be seen in the results of the companies, that have been thriving in the COVID era: Peloton connected fitness subscriber grew 134% just in the last quarter, with total members growing to 4.4 million, Headspace has now over 2 million paid subscribers, Calm has topped 40 million downloads worldwide, Alo Moves from Alo Yoga had over 300% engagement increase in their platform and youtube channel, fresh-food meal-kit delivery industry is expected to more than double between 2017 and 2022, and the list goes on.
While the digital wellness companies were ready to tackle the new demand originated with people staying long time at home, the traditional brick-and-mortar had to quickly adapt and create omnichannel experiences to re-engage members. Equinox launched its app Equinox+ with online classes in March 2020, including a SoulCycle at-home bike experience, Orangetheory has a youtube channel with at home exercises and most recently it created OT Live, as although most of the studios, are open at some capacity, members may not return to their pre-pandemic fitness routine in 2021.
Small businesses and entrepreneurs that were quick to pivot and use technology to connect to their members, not only survived but could've leveraged the opportunity to increase their reach. My yoga studio in the Bay Area quickly shifted to online classes live on Zoom and on demand using Vimeo. They added outdoor classes when that was allowed. Some personal trainers were creative and offered video call classes for their clients, transformed their social media on business platforms and got the necessary equipment to transform parks into gyms. As an example of the boom of fitness influencers, youtuber Pamela Reif grew her channel with multiple types of training from 1.5 million subscribers by end of 2019 to almost 7 million today.
As the industry rapidly changes, new companies rush to enter the market. Lululemon acquired home fitness start-up Mirror in the second half of 2020, Apple launched Fitness+, a fitness platform completely integrated to AppleWatch in December 2020, investment in mental health companies has grew over 100% in 2020, with rapid growth to more established start-ups like Ginger and Talkspace and new companies getting more investment.
On the flip-side of growth in the tech wellness industry, there is the struggle of companies that were not able to pivot fast enough to surf in the new wave. 24 Hour Fitness filed for bankruptcy and closed 100 studios and other mid-tier gyms had similar issues, multiple small wellness businesses didn't have the resources to pivot and had to close permanently.
As wellness is a key pillar for fulfillment and happiness I believe it deserves more attention, so in the next few months I'll be doing a series about wellness and tech, testing new products and services, discussing new trends and how those can benefit your life and productivity. Although wellness, is a broad topic, the series will be focused on 3 pillars:
Mindfulness and Mental Health
I'd love to hear about the tools you are using to improve your well-being, or to have your contributions on future posts. Leave your comment on Twitter or Facebook and share this post on your social media!