Wellness is simultaneously becoming more hard core and more laid back.
On Tuesday, the Global Wellness Summit and Global Wellness Institute hosted its annual press event for the release of its Future of Wellness 2024 trends report. During the event, trend report authors presented their findings and the GWI also presented its recent report on “The Global Wellness Economy: Country Rankings.”
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According to GWI and GWS chair and chief executive officer Susie Ellis, the organization found that the global wellness economy reached $5.6 trillion in 2022 and is expected to grow to $8.5 trillion by 2027 with key categories like wellness real estate and mental wellness growing quickly. Categories like personal care and beauty, spas and workplace wellness have been slightly slower to recover post-pandemic, while wellness tourism has not fully recovered yet. However, the organization expects the U.S. wellness tourism market to recover and exceed pre-pandemic levels this year. Furthermore, the country rankings report showed that the top wellness markets in order are the U.S., China, Germany, Japan and the U.K.
This year’s top 10 wellness trends posed an interesting dichotomy, as two extremes continue to drive the category. There’s laid-back wellness — think bed rotting and hot girl walks. Then there’s a more hardcore approach to wellness — think biohacking and longevity clinics. Both are expected to grow this year.
“The future is harder and softer care,” said Beth McGroarty, vice president of research and forecasting at the GWI.
Here, the 10 wellness trends for 2024:
With major climate events, including the hottest year on record in 2023 and the ongoing wildfires, the wellness industry is looking for ways to keep things cool with thermoadaptive clothing, architecture and design, urban planning and public health policies that address the heat and “cool-cationing” — think vacationing in cooler regions or opting for nighttime activities like full moon yoga or stargazing.
The Power of the Pilgrimage
While the hot girl walk gained traction in 2023, wellness retreats are taking it a step further with ancient pilgrimage trails. “There’s record numbers of travelers embarking on multiday hikes, infused with spiritual exploration and cultural heritage,” said McGroarty, adding that new trails are constantly popping up.
From Manning Up to Opening Up
“Men have not been given the tools needed to practice the kind of vulnerability that leads to deeper connections,” McGroarty said. Therefore, a slew of men’s-only retreats, like Evryman and Junto, and mental health apps are taking hold.
The Rise of Postpartum Wellness
While postpartum care and benefits have been offered in other countries, the U.S. is catching up with a few solutions of its own. This trend looks at pelvic floor therapies, mental health apps and retreats geared toward birthing parents.
Longevity Has Longevity
While the term longevity has gained traction in recent years, it seems the trend isn’t going anywhere. With the public health care system focused on reactive medicine, wellness clinics like Fountain Life and at-home test brands are developing a more proactive approach. The goal is a longer, higher quality life.
A Wellness Check for Weight Loss Drugs
With Ozempic’s massive growth and the recent introduction of cheaper drugs like Eli Lily’s Zepbound, the weight loss conversation has regained prominence, once lost to the body positivity movement. New drugs and fitness programs developed for those on them are expected to grow.
Sports Finds Its Footing in Hospitality
With the opening of new activity-centric resort concepts like Siro and the rise of pickleball, sports are gaining prominence within hospitality alongside traditional offerings like spas.
The Home as Highest-Tech Health Hub
As the wellness real estate market is expected to reach $887.5 billion by 2027, homes are going to be even more high tech with devices and smart furnishings. Along with this, health care will move to the living room, as 45 percent of services are expected to be done at home in the next five years.
A New Multisensory, Immersive Art for Wellness
Wellness and art are merging to create new types of interactive experiences. Expect new types of interactive exhibits and wellness programming from museums, as well as a push around wellness and art therapies in hospitals.
Under the Radar
In this trend, Ellis pointed out key observations from the 2023 annual Global Wellness Summit that could be major trends in the years ahead, including Singapore’s rise as a new Blue Zone and adjusting age limits on wellness treatments so that teens can partake, as mental well-being continues to be a top concern for this cohort.