These past few years have been a wake-up call for global health. It’s become clear that we can’t take our health and well-being for granted and that prevention is truly the best medicine. As we emerge into the new era of health and wellness services, we’re seeing a new generation of consumers.
These consumers are taking a more holistic approach to wellness and recognize that true health encompasses more than just physical fitness; it’s also mental and emotional well-being, healthy relationships, and a sense of purpose and fulfillment in life.
As a result, there’s a growing consumer interest in technologies that support and promote this holistic approach to health and wellness. After all, technologies are reshaping all industries. This article will cover the technology impact on the global wellness market and look at what you can do about it.
Exploring the Latest Technologies for Health and Wellness
From AI to 3D printing, there is no shortage of new tech. And the goal is commendable – to make it easier and more convenient for people to take control of their health and live healthier, happier lives.
Without wasting any time, these technologies are changing the landscape of health and wellness:
- Digitization: Digital data management has entered many health and wellness products. Whether it’s through electronic health records or full-fledged health apps, digitization is changing the landscape.
- Personal trainers using artificial intelligence: AI is increasingly being used in the fitness industry to provide personalized workout plans and nutrition recommendations.
- Robotics: Robots are being developed for various applications, from robotic exoskeletons for physical therapy to robots that can perform surgeries.
- Fitness that is more equitable for all: Some fitness companies are developing adaptive equipment, while others are focused on virtual training platforms.
- 3D printing: This is valuable for developing prosthetics, as well as in the production of custom orthotics and other wearable health devices.
Innovations in Health and Wellness
One of the major areas of innovation in health and wellness is the development of new technologies, such as wearable devices (more on that later), mobile apps, and telemedicine solutions. Technologies, especially when combined with big powerful data and artificial intelligence, are transforming the way we deliver and receive healthcare.
It’s important to note that innovation in the global wellness industry is not just about technology. While technology has played a big role in driving it, it’s not acting alone. There are other driving forces pushing these advancements – changing consumer preferences (hence, changing consumer spending), demographic changes, focus on prevention, and incentives from governments (like the Affordable Care Act in the United States).
There are also innovations in healthcare delivery models. Patients want to be seen as more than just a collection of symptoms, and this is what organizations need to address. And so, more consumers are looking for innovative health-related solutions that are more personalized, holistic, and patient-centric.
The Impact of Technology on Wellness Programs
Let’s get back to technology – specifically, its role in wellness programs.
First of all, technology has made it possible for individuals to access wellness programs and resources from anywhere at any time. There are countless mobile apps, websites, and online communities dedicated to these topics. Anyone interested in becoming healthier can view and try workout plans, meal plans, and meditation and mindfulness exercises. Remote access to healthcare professionals has also been made easier.
In addition to resources, we should also note the rise of online communities in the global wellness industry. Technology has also made it easier for people to connect with others who share their goals. Now there are readily accessible platforms to share experiences, provide support, and receive encouragement from others who are on a similar wellness journey.
The Future of Health and Wellness Technology
According to a study by Ipsos and the World Economic Forum, the future of the health and wellness market will be characterized by six major trends:
- An aging population will require products and services to meet their unique needs. They hypothesize that smart tattoos will benefit people in later years by monitoring glucose levels and body temperature.
- Virtual healthcare, including video calls and remote monitoring, will continue getting more popular.
- Customized personal diets will become more prevalent as they interest consumers with particular health needs.
- Younger generations will be more in tune with their mental health and remove the stigma around mental health issues.
- Environmental concerns will drive a need for more exercise in public parks and more environmentally friendly consumer choices.
- Finally, respondents expect more advanced technology with daily readouts of their health every day.
Note: this study may not be comprehensive in covering all aspects of the future, but it still provides valuable insights into what may happen in the wellness industry.
Health and Wellness Industry Trends and Projections
As predicted by the experts at McKinsey, the dynamic sector of wellness is set to experience a profound shift in six categories:
- Health: The expansion of self-care offerings will allow consumers to triage medical issues and take care of themselves. This can be done with devices that move from the doctor’s office into the home and more over-the-counter pharmaceutical products. (Anna Pione)
- Fitness: Gyms and studios will continue to play a vital role, but tracking fitness progress will become more important to users. It’ll be more motivational and involve more guidance and coaching. (Eric Falardeau)
- Nutrition: There is a clear trend towards sustainable eating, reducing sugar intake, and switching to plant-based milk. This shift in eating habits is expected to continue. (Jessica Moulton)
- Appearance: The expert predicts that retailers will offer services that were previously only available in a dermatologist’s office or medical spa. It’s possible that consumers will be able to get injectable services, clinical treatments, and tattoos all in the same place. (Emma Spagnuolo)
- Sleep: There will be more personalized and effective sleep solutions. For example, sensors placed under the mattress will be able to track movement and sleep duration. This data may even be connected to other devices like exercise bikes. (Scott Hayton)
- Mindfulness: The pursuit of mindfulness may become an essential aspect of how people live their lives. There will be more tools reminding users to take a break and practice mindfulness throughout the day. (Manish Chopra)
Wellness Statistics 2022-2023
Before we dive deeper into other discussions about wellness and its growth, let’s take a moment to look at some current wellness industry statistics that illustrate the situation:
- The global health and wellness market was valued at over $4.8 billion in 2022. (Precedence Research)
- 79% of consumers believe wellness is important. (McKinsey)
- Of the money spent on wellness, consumers in six surveyed countries (Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, the UK, and the US) spend the most on products and services that promote better health – from 50% to 64% – as opposed to appearance, fitness, or mindfulness. (McKinsey)
- Products account for 70% of wellness spending vs. 30% – on services. (McKinsey)
- Europe is currently the largest regional market for workplace wellness, followed closely by North America. (Statista)
Now that you’re armed with more data, let’s dig deeper into niche discussions about wellness and health.
Is the Wellness Market Growing?
Yes, and the first indication is value projections. Experts at Precedence Research predict that the value of the wellness market will reach over $7.5 billion by 2030. This translates into an impressive compound annual growth rate of 5.5% from 2021 to 2030. What’s more curious is that according to Global Wellness Institute, the wellness economy will grow much quicker – reaching nearly $7 trillion in 2025 with a 9.9% average annual growth rate.
Another indication is the increasing number of businesses and industries that are investing in wellness. For example, from 2017 to 2022, the Digital Health cohort of 150 companies raised approximately $5.6 billion in aggregate funding across 378 deals. The demand is on the rise, and more businesses are popping up to meet it, from fitness studios to healthy food options and personal care.
Even More Attractive Wellness Services – A Pinch of New Technology in This Industry
These days a lot of companies compete in appearance, one of the key wellness dimensions. This is another area where technology has had a significant impact, from skincare and dermo-cosmetics to hair care and salon services. For instance, there are LED light therapy masks and micro-needling devices that people can use at home. This inevitably affects the service industry while promoting the product sector.
Dermo cosmetics have also become increasingly popular in the global wellness economy. These products are formulated to promote conventionally attractive features – by reducing wrinkles, improving skin texture, and increasing hydration.
Salon services have also incorporated technology. In addition to professional equipment, they are using tech to improve the customer experience. For example, some are using VR for different hairstyles and hair colors.
Personalized Nutrition: Using Data to Optimize Your Diet
By using data, algorithms, and artificial intelligence, more companies can now provide personalized nutritional recommendations to their clients.
Apps and software are at the forefront of client-serving technologies. Most of them work by analyzing an individual’s food intake, identifying nutrient deficiencies or excesses, and providing recommendations for optimal nutrient intake. But for that, they need data.
The simplest source of data is user input, where they submit their dietary habits and preferences into an app on a regular basis. However, this method is limited by incomplete or inaccurate data. To address this, companies are also using wearable devices and sensors to collect data (more on that in a second).
If you’re willing to go more complex, genetic testing can be another source of data for personalized nutritional recommendations.
How Technology Is Transforming the Fitness Industry
To avoid repeating ourselves, let’s shift our focus to trends we haven’t yet discussed.
One trend that has recently come about is on-demand workouts, like pre-recorded or live-streamed fitness classes. This has made it easier for people to fit a fitness class into their day and made these activities more accessible for those who can’t afford traditional gym memberships.
Another trend is customizable workouts. Fitness apps and online platforms often integrate different fitness goals, fitness levels, and time constraints. You can also tailor your workout to target specific muscle groups or areas of the body, maximizing your control over the process.
VR and AR found their way into the fitness world, albeit to a limited capacity. There are now interactive fitness classes, such as virtual hiking or cycling, which work best for people who find traditional workouts boring or monotonous.
Measuring Vital Signs Using a Phone and Wearables
Here are some examples of how smartphones and wearables are used to promote fitness:
- Fitness tracking: Many smartphones have sensors to track your physical activity, including steps taken, distance traveled, and calories burned. That said, wearable devices are much more reliable.
- Personalized coaching: For example, some wearables have built-in virtual coaching programs. As for smartphones, you can download apps or just follow video guides in the gym.
- Sleep tracking: Some apps use the microphone and accelerometer sensors in your phone, but smartwatches and fitness trackers are the better choices here. They are more advanced, with optical heart rate monitors and infrared sensors that provide more accurate readings of your sleep patterns.
- Gamification: Challenges and rewards make fitness more engaging and motivating.
Additionally, some wearables can monitor biometric data (blood pressure, blood glucose levels, and oxygen saturation levels), which can be especially helpful for people with chronic health conditions. Some wearables track your posture and offer breathing exercises and guided meditations.
Wellness Tourism – Why Is It a Thing?
Wellness tourism is a type of travel that prioritizes taking a break from daily routines and engaging in relaxation, rejuvenation, and personal growth. This includes spa treatments, yoga and meditation classes, fitness activities, healthy eating, outdoor recreation, and cultural experiences. This definition alone explains why it’s becoming so popular.
More people are looking for a break from the stress of their lives, and wellness tourism trips come to the rescue. For some, it’s an excuse to indulge in pampering and self-care. For others, it’s an opportunity to try new activities and push themselves out of their comfort zones. Arguably most importantly, wellness tourism is a way to address specific health concerns or conditions, such as chronic stress or obesity.
Another reason that explains the existence of wellness tourism as we know it today is the desire for authentic and meaningful travel experiences. These travelers want to connect with the local community and learn about new wellness practices rather than just stay in hotels. And with estimates suggesting the wellness tourism market will exceed a trillion dollars by 2030, it’s clear that it will be a “thing” in the future, too.
How New Technology Enrich Workplace Wellness Programs
By itself, the workplace wellness market has grown a lot, with a wide range of corporate wellness services and solutions now available to employers. But as with everything, technology has exacerbated the process.
Some employers offer virtual fitness classes led by professional instructors, which range from yoga and pilates to high-intensity interval training and dance classes. As an alternative, they may provide access to online workout platforms with programs and videos that employees can access at any time.
Additionally, companies can promote healthy eating through personalized food programs, reminders, and even augmented reality training. There is actually no limit to incorporating technology into the corporate world.
Meditation and Stress Managing with the Help of New Technology
Employers are increasingly turning to technology to make a positive impact on their employees’ physical and mental health. For example, there are a variety of apps and online platforms with resources about mental wellness and resilience. With meditation and mindfulness apps, virtual counseling services, and chatbots, employees become better equipped to manage stress and anxiety.
How Can Shen.AI Be Implemented in Health and Wellness Platform?
Whether you’re an individual looking to optimize your lifestyle or a healthcare professional seeking innovative solutions, Shen.AI has got you covered.
Our cutting-edge computer vision and AI-powered technology allow us to analyze the user’s facial skin texture and extract vital physiological signs in real time. With remote photoplethysmography (rPPG) technology, we can track the user’s heart rate, respiratory rate, stress levels, and more. And the best part? Measurements can be done on most modern smartphones, tablets, and computers equipped with a camera.
At MX Labs, we believe that everyone deserves a personalized approach to health and wellness. That’s why we’ve made it our mission to bring new technologies for health to as many people as possible. Contact us today to book a trial of our healthcare and wellness technology, and let’s work together!