The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) recently released its 2016 Global Wellness Economy Monitor, and along with it, GWI chairman and CEO Susie Ellis offered five trends that she predicts will sharpen in the U.S. wellness market in 2017.
"The UN's 2016 World Happiness Report finds that the U.S. ranks a depressing 85th among nations when it comes to equality in wellbeing among its citizens," says Ellis. "And now, more than ever, the country needs more mental wellness solutions and more wellness offerings….And because the U.S. wellness market is so vast, consumer-driven and innovative, the industry will respond to these new needs and opportunities."
1. There will be a surge in mental wellness programing at hotels, wellness resorts, spas, fitness studios, and workplaces.
Wellness culture has historically focused far more on "body" than "mind." But, in 2017, mental wellness approaches will boom. Meditation will further enter the mainstream, and there will be an increased focus on sleep health. Wellness centers and destinations will bring in psychotherapists and neuroscientists. New part-mind, part-body fitness brands as well as apps that track mental wellness and stress will emerge.
2. Wellness won't be just for the very wealthy anymore.
An American wellness industry too associated with the very wealthy will evolve in 2017. We'll see a wave of wellness products and services at lower price-points. Affordable and healthy grocery stores, healthy fast-food chains, more budget spa brands, and low-priced, wellness-focused hotels will enter the market. A new crop of spaces, clubs, retreats, and gyms where wellness, feminism, and politics interweave may appear.
3. Silence is golden, which is why more Americans will be seeking it.
In the American world of 24/7 connectedness and shrieking news and noise, more businesses and wellness destinations will take a radical new approach by offering silence and absolute disconnection. On the spa and wellness travel front, this includes silent spas, wellness monasteries in sacred spaces and deep nature, and hotels and resorts with quiet room labels, quiet-zone floors, and digital kill switches. Even silent restaurants, gyms, and hair salons may appear.
4. Wellness will be home, and there will wellness at home.
As outside stress ratchets up, Americans are becoming obsessed with transforming their home into a wellness nest and sanctuary. This obsession will continue and it will deepen, from DIY wellness makeovers spanning everything from installing circadian lighting to biophilic design -- the strengthening of the connection between natural and man-made environments. A whole new wellness architecture will rise, tackling everything from deadly indoor air pollution to adopting international building standards that certify homes as healthy for humans. More Americans will choose to live in new wellness-focused communities and real estate properties.
5. U.S. wellness markets will grow in the years ahead.
The U.S. and global wellness industries' growth has proven not only resilient, but even inversely correlated with economic and human well-being downturns. With U.S. healthcare costs forecasted to rise an average of 5.8 percent every year through 2025, more Americans will turn to alternative, preventative health approaches. Wellness, from yoga and meditation to exercise, will become an even more sought-after antidote for an increasingly over-connected, chaotic world.