As we enter a new decade, advances in technology, the urgency to develop solutions that fight climate change, a mental health epidemic and stark changes in consumer behaviour are just some of the conditions driving innovation and spawning new ways of thinking within the global wellness industry.
Innovative and intuitive brands are pushing the boundaries and creating positive behaviour change thanks to groundbreaking products and services that are not only impacting the wellness economy but influencing industries throughout the world.
So, what can we expect from the business of wellness in 2020? And which brands will dominate the headlines over the next 12 months?
Here’s our rundown of the businesses we predict will capture the imagination of the industry over the forthcoming year, thanks to their pioneering approaches, abstract thinking and fearless ambition………
Mirror (fitness tech)
Launched in 2018, Mirror — a high-tech device which doubles as a mirror and enables users to participate in live and on-demand fitness classes at home — is one of an influx of smart, at-home fitness concepts vying to become ‘the next Peloton’.
The brainchild of Brynn Putnam, founder and owner of NYC-based fitness chain Refine Method, it has quickly garnered attention from celebrities and won the backing of high-profile investors.
Having previously secured $38 million, with $25 million coming from Spark Capital, an investment firm that’s backed Twitter, Oculus and Lola, in October the startup raised a further $34 million in a Series B round led by Point72 Ventures. Other participants included athleisure brand lululemon and supermodel Karlie Kloss.
The company, which argues it is creating a new category of at-home fitness with its cutting-edge hardware, responsive software and premium content, can already be found in homes across every state in the US. And as users soar, Putnam is turning her attention towards experiences beyond the realm of fitness.
This will, according to the startup, include the launch of family-focused content, a competitive multiplayer feature and a lululemon hosted meditation class. In addition, the future incorporation of e-commerce will enable the business to cross more seamlessly into fashion, beauty and even telemedicine.
“We are building a best-in-class fitness product today, but that’s not where we will be in the near future. We’re building the third screen in your life that you’re going to turn to for all immersive interactive experiences going forward,” Putnam recently told Fast Company.
However, with some stiff competition on its hands from the likes of Tonal, Hydrow and Echelon, which also offers an interactive device similar to Mirror’s, the race hasn’t been won yet. Read More
German startup Inne, which is due to launch in 2020, is getting ready to disrupt the rapidly growing femtech category.
It joins a wave of innovative femtech startups that have raised investment over the past 12 months, including British brand Elvie which secured $42 million and San Francisco-based Cora, which raised $7.5 million.
By providing insights into ovulation, periods and hormone levels, Inne claims to build a hormonal data bank for individuals who are looking for more information and clarity on their fertility, hormones and reproductive health.
An in vitro diagnostic device, which enables data to be extracted from disposable at-home saliva tests, wirelessly logs the results in a companion app, giving users access to their data and how it changes throughout the menstrual cycle.
Beyond natural contraception and fertility tracking, in the future, the brand also hopes to provide users with information about the menopause, as well as help manage conditions such as endometriosis.
According to founder Eirini Rapti, the goal is to become a tool for women to help them gain clarity and understanding when it comes to changes in their bodies, no matter their goal or concern. By closing the gap between data and meaningful insight, the brand plans to position itself at the forefront of the femtech category — an industry predicted to reach $50 billion by 2025. Read More
Launched in 2019 by influencer Grace Beverley who boasts over 1 million Instagram followers, TALA’s mission is to create ‘on-trend, affordable, high-performance activewear, that is 100% up-cycled and honest’, and the brand says it’s already 92% of the way there.
According to Beverley, in its first 6 months of operation, the business saved well over 1 million litres of water thanks to people purchasing its products over non-recycled equivalents and it recycled over 40,000 plastic bottles.
With an additional focus on championing inclusivity and showcasing real women’s body types, reflected through its diverse range of models and anti-retouching policy, the brand is also taking on more established players such as Gymshark, lululemon and Fabletics to prove that consumers don’t have to sacrifice style for inclusivity and accessibility.
By understanding the motivations of her mostly millennial and Gen Z audience, and harnessing the power of her social influence, Beverley has managed to create an effective way to elicit not only pro-environmental behaviour from her community but advocacy from a demographic who feel like existing athleisure brands haven’t been listening to their needs. This approach has already enabled TALA to become a $3 million company in revenue alone, and in 2020 the brand is looking to expand its product range beyond activewear. Read more about TALA in our 2020 Consumer Wellness Trends Report.
Parsley Health (health)
Parsley Health, a membership-based wellness practice in New York, Los Angeles and San Francisco is redefining the future of holistic healthcare by putting nutrition, wellness and prevention at its core.
Having secured $26 million to forge ahead with revolutionising healthcare in the US, the business recently opened a new flagship site in Los Angeles. The West Hollywood centre, which aims to redesign the primary care experience through architecture and technology integrates elements of biophilic design, an on-site cafe for members serving chef-curated healthy snacks, and community spaces for events.
As part of the Parsley membership, priced at $150 per month, each patient receives a personalised health plan that Parsley uses in conjunction with prescription medications and referrals to specialists from cardiologists to acupuncturists. The service uses a functional approach that takes into account the patient as a whole, rather than just focusing on the current health issue.
The brand’s modern and aspirational approach is bridging the gap between health and wellness, and in 2020, its continued expansion into telemedicine will further address the need for a new model of care, “one that’s accessible, affordable, proven to address the root causes of chronic disease and – thanks to technology – available from anywhere around the globe,” commented founder Dr. Berzin. Read More
Xponential Fitness (fitness)
Founded by dot-com millionaire Anthony Geisler, Xponential Fitness — the largest curator of boutique fitness brands in the world, including PureBarre, AKT, CycleBar and StretchLab, is headed to Austria, Germany and Saudi Arabia in 2020.
The thriving franchise organization, offering diversified fitness concepts in eight verticals with over 1,325 studio locations open and operating, already has a presence in Canada and the US, with studios also slated to open in Japan and South Korea.
And the company’s aim, to propel boutique fitness brands into nationwide chains, is unlikely to stop there.
“Since its inception in 2017, Xponential Fitness has been on a mission to procure the best boutique fitness brands and bring them under our umbrella,” said Anthony Geisler, CEO of Xponential Fitness recently. “Xponential Fitness now has a stronghold on the boutique fitness industry that spans across multiple verticals, from Pilates to barre and yoga and running,” he added.
Having created a business that transforms fitness concepts into professionalised brands, Xponential Fitness’ impact on the industry is continuing to grow, on a global scale. Read More
The Nue Co. (supplements)
Having secured $9 million in investment in 2019 to help scale its offering and drive personalisation, premium supplement brand The Nue Co. has revealed it is now doubling down on data-capture to better understand its customers and offer more effective recommendations.
“Our aim has always been to develop formulas that make a genuine difference to our customers’ lives. We quickly learnt that the best way to do this was to invest in data-capture and take a personalised approach to health. Since every body, every gut and every sleep pattern is different, there is no such thing as one size fits all,” founder Jules Miller recently told Welltodo.
Distinct from most direct-to-consumer brands, which tend to prioritise tech over product, the three-year-old startup’s personalised and product-led approach has already helped to address the two largest pain points in the supplement industry: retention and brand loyalty — it currently boasts a repeat purchase rate of over 3x the average in the luxury beauty market.
Coupled with Miller’s savvy and switched on approach to NPD and wellness — the latter of which she believes won’t have a specific look and feel in the future — it’s no surprise the brand continues to set the bar for innovation and disruption. And in 2020 it aims to raise that bar even higher.
“We will continue to grow and innovate, releasing products that make us question our relationship with supplements; and the wellness industry as a whole,” Miller told Welltodo.
“As we scale, we want to delight and surprise our customers, making the practice of wellbeing something that resonates with people in a way that hasn’t been achieved before.” Read More
Canopy Growth Corp (CBD)
Last month, Canadian Cannabis powerhouse Canopy Growth unveiled its new portfolio of ‘Cannabis 2.0’ products, aimed at tapping into the global CBD market, which is expected to reach $20 billion by 2024.
“With the coming of Cannabis 2.0, our goal is to provide customers with the best quality products, and I truly believe that through the hard work and dedication of our team, we have delivered just that,” explained CEO Mark Zekulin.
Quatreau, a collection of four better-for-you beverages, and a forthcoming range of gummies both target the wellness-focused consumer.
However, perhaps more noteworthy is the company’s 2019 acquisition of British beauty brand This Works, for £43 million — a move that will facilitate the development of a range of skincare and sleep aid products infused with CBD.
According to Bruce Linton, Chairman & Co-CEO at Canopy Growth, he believes CBD has the potential to disrupt the cosmetic and sleep solution industries and has been working for years to build and establish the right entry point into the opportunity.
This Works’ acquisition is a key aspect of a multi-faceted hemp and CBD strategy for the firm, as it continues to expand across the EU and other key regions via the introduction of new CBD-infused products and brands to the global beauty, wellness, and sleep solution space. Read More
2019 was a busy year for premium lifestyle and fitness brand Equinox. From the opening of The Equinox Hotel in New York — giving guests access to the largest-ever flagship Equinox club, IV drips a sleep coach and a next-generation SoulCycle studio to the launch of Equinox Retreats — one of a kind luxury travel experiences grounded in fitness and lifestyle.
However, it wasn’t all highs for the 30-year-old fitness stalwart, which found itself on the receiving end of widespread criticism after the company’s chairman Stephen Ross hosted a fundraiser generating 13 million for Trump’s 2020 re-election campaign.
The news led to protests outside its gyms and widespread outrage across social media, as people including model and TV host Chrissy Teigen and actress Sophia Bush, declared they would be cancelling their memberships.
More recently, a scathing article from the New York Times thrust the brand back into the spotlight, following accounts of a toxic work culture and poor treatment of its staff. But despite its recent bad press, the thriving business continues to expand.
Commenting recently on plans to open a fifth London site in Soho, as well as entering the Middle East market, Chairman Harvey Spevak told the Evening Standard: “This is a seminal moment for Equinox, marking a period of extensive global expansion.” Read More
Nuggs, which claims to be the world’s first plant-based chicken nugget startup is the brainchild of 19-year-old tech entrepreneur Ben Pasternak.
Having only just entered the high-growth plant-based meat market, the six-month-old DTC brand has already raised $7M in funding led by McCain Foods. And, according to Pasternak has a competitive edge over frontrunners such as Beyond Meat and Impossible Foods due to its ability to understand what the younger consumer wants.
After over a year of research and development, Nuggs says it has developed a nugget that uses an advanced texturized pea protein technology to create a product with the best texture, crunch and taste. It’s operations, meanwhile, take a similar approach to a technology startup.
Mirroring the model favoured by app developers, Nuggs says it will release updates to the nuggets as the formula is constantly improved upon, based on user feedback.
“Nuggs is the intersection of food and the internet,” said Pasternak, in a recent statement. “We set out to make the best nugget period, a chicken nugget simulation is just the baseline.”
With McCain’s production and commercial expertise now behind the brand, the aim is to accelerate its growth and deliver market scale. Read more about Nuggs in our 2020 Consumer Wellness Trends Report.
Biobeats (mental health)
Biobeats, an AI & Biofeedback app, designed to teach people where their stress comes from and how to manage it, has already won the backing of actor Will Smith, Oxford Sciences Innovation, White Cloud and IQ Capital.
Founded by Nadeem Kassam, who previously sold advanced wearable watch Basis to Intel for $100m, and Dr David Plans who is the startup’s CEO, the brand targets the corporate wellness market.
Its latest product, the BioBase app, is the only science-based corporate wellness and stress management solution in the world. It harnesses the current turning point in digital health solutions, comprising an eight-week course of coaching topics, exercises and surveys personalised by an AI system to challenge how individuals deal with stress and its effects on mental health. The system creates an ever-improving cycle of evidence-based interventions, by finding patterns that link stress to health risks and physical outcomes.
“For BioBeats, our vision is to disrupt the way stress is viewed and treated on a global scale,” said Plans in a statement last year.
“Our approach focuses on challenging the conventional approach to addressing the pandemic of stress and its relation to mental health, cardiovascular disease, and other poor health outcomes. We are truly at a turning point in the digital health revolution, and this latest round of funding will help us achieve remarkable advances for our platform.”
Next year the startup has ambitions to “completely change the perception of mental health worldwide towards an informed, data-driven part of overall health, and to offer the world a platform that can work across services, school systems, healthcare delivery platforms, and workforce management. In other words, to prevent mental suffering globally using real-time data and artificial intelligence,” Plans recently told Prolific.