When 650 wellness experts from 50 nations gather to debate the future of wellness, a uniquely informed and global view of trends unfolds. That’s what transpired at the recent Global Wellness Summit (GWS), which brought together leaders from the medical, travel, spa, beauty, fitness, nutrition, technology, financial and architecture worlds to debate where wellness is headed.
Today, at a press event held at Hearst Tower in NYC and hosted by Good Housekeeping, the organization released their top wellness trends for 2019 (and beyond)—the provocative new directions they feel will have the most meaningful—and not fleeting—impact on the $4.2 trillion global wellness industry.
1. Well fashion – way beyond athleisure
It’s striking how little attention has been paid to the intersection between “wellness” and “fashion” beyond the familiar story of athleisure disrupting the market. And how few people that are wellness/eco-minded (who have a mini-stroke if served a plastic straw) have really grappled with their overconsumption of clothes and the insanely destructive environmental impact that has. But 2019 will be the pivotal year for change, with a huge wave of sustainable, ethical, intelligent, healing, more inclusive, and meaningful fashion on the rise. A more “well” fashion market and mindset is ahead.
2. Wellness takes on overtourism
As cities get bombarded by tourists, more travelers will crave healing, serene oases in metropolises, so another major trend is the rise of the urban wellness resort. It seems counterintuitive, but some of the world’s top wellness travel brands are moving beyond their roots in idyllic locations to set up shop in big cities. And by “setting up shop” we mean deep, mindbogglingly comprehensive wellness programming served up to both hotel guests and locals.
3. Meditation goes plural
Meditation will evolve from a singular to a plural practice, from a generic concept to understanding specific types and their unique brain impacts, just as this explosive market blooms—like yoga and boutique fitness before it—into many varieties. The wellness market always pushes the “next” button (“like, meditation is so 2015”). But the meditation research and market is extremely young and just approaching an adoption and conceptual tipping-point (and there’s no expiration date on 5,000-year-old solutions). The future is meditations, more types tailored to what you need most.
4. Prescribing nature
As people continue to be overworked and overwrought, they will answer the call of nature, so to speak. And it’s a call that comes from deep within, according to scientists who have been studying this. Our bodies—and our minds—need nature. And as more evidence becomes available in mainstream media, more people will seek this “treatment,” and more physicians will be prescribing it. And the price is right, as it doesn’t cost anything to take a walk outside.
5. MediScent: fragrance gets a wellness makeover
The sense of smell is having a wellness renaissance. Once dismissed as the least relevant of the five senses, today, evidence-based studies around scent’s powerful impact on our physical and emotional wellbeing are being released fast and furiously. We expect that the neuroscience of scent will become more pervasive in everything we do, and fragrances will be used in ways we would never have dreamed of—both in public and personal spaces.
6. China – uncovering the wealth in wellness
No country will have a bigger impact on the future global wellness economy than China, suddenly an economic, political and tech powerhouse. With a population of 1.4 billion, China’s middle class will skyrocket from 430 million today to 780 million by 2025. The country already drives more than half of all global e-commerce. Wrap your mind around China’s outbound travel growth, which has expanded 20-fold since 2000—now at 145 million international trips annually, to rise to 200 million in two years, and then doubling to 400 million by 2030 (when China will represent 30 percent of the entire international travel market).
7. Nutrition gets very personalized
Enter the age of personalized nutrition where science, low-cost medical testing and new technologies identify what foods are right just for us—not only for weight management but, more importantly, to boost overall health and wellbeing. In the near future, we will know much more about what the enormous ecosystem inside each of us is telling us, including how much exercise you really need to how our bodies react to specific nutrients. Fad diet confusion, new tech, and the “power of me” will propel personalized nutrition into the mainstream.
8. Dying well
As people become aware of how environmentally toxic traditional embalmment, burial and cremation is, we’re seeing some seriously out-of-the-box, eco-friendly “burial” options. Research shows that denying death can cause serious mental issues, so more people are actively exploring death as a wellness practice, and many more online platforms, classes, festivals and events are meeting the hunger to just talk about it, such as “death cafes” now held in 64 countries. The future: a “better death” becomes an integral part of a “well life.”
The full 110- page report is available for download here.