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Wellness Investments of 2021

2020 was a year for digital wellness in the wake of COVID-19, leading to a shift in wellness investments from large-scale corporations and beyond. As we emerge from the depths of the pandemic, so do the wellness companies that have been waiting for this post-covid moment. We delve deeper into who’s investing in what in 2021…

Mental health

The Global Wellness Institute indicated four key sub-markets based on global consumer spending in 2019, amounting to $120.8 billion, which was set before COVID. This is only expected to accelerate following the pandemic, with the four main markets of mental wellness: senses, space and sleep ($49.5 billion), Brain-boosting nutraceuticals and botanicals ($34.8 billion), Self-improvement ($33.6 billion) and Meditation and mindfulness ($2.9 billion). Post-pandemic opportunities include a continued rise in mental health apps with Headspace in June adding $47.7 million to its $93 million raise in February, while Calm, also a meditation app, is targeting investment to double its valuation to $2.2 billion. Meanwhile, Lyra Health, a provider of innovative mental health benefits for employers, raised $75 million and has added over 800,000 new members to its population, bringing it to a total of more than 1.5 million. Wave Sleep, launched in 2018, rose in demand during the pandemic, offering at-home culturally-driven meditation, with a focus on ‘COVID-somnia’ – an issue that meditation apps aims to help combat.


Wellness tech

Unsurprisingly, wellness tech is here to stay. That’s mainly because both tech and wellness are rising sectors so it only makes sense to merge them for further opportunities in the market. WHOOP filled a gap in the market for more intelligent, athlete-led wellness with its next-gen wearable function valuing at $1.2 billion. Home fitness tools like Mirror, Tonal and Peloton are on top of the fitness revolution, offering an alternative to hitting the gym. The strength and personal training platform, Tonal, announced in late March that it had reached $250 million in new funding, valuing the business at $1.6 billion, ushering a new era of intelligence fitness.

Retreats

Like every industry, the hospitality sector has been hard hit since the pandemic due to a drop in tourism. But there’s hope in the post-COVID world – and it’s looking to wellness. There’s a renewed sense of immunity and personal wellbeing, with travelers instead focusing on health-oriented holidays. New trends indicate a shift from leisure trips to wellness resorts and wellness programs for a well-deserved spa or yoga break. Despite the ongoing pandemic, 2020 and 2021 saw new retreat openings throughout the year indicating there is still plenty of opportunity for investment. Wellness retreats will be more popular than ever for wellness-oriented guests.

Beauty

Customizable hair brand Function of Beauty announced a $150 million strategic minority investment in December. Other popular DIY treatments include home manicure kits, self-tanning and skincare which increased in popularity over the COVID period. Although spas are mostly open again, there was a drop in Americans going for massages since COVID, mainly due to fear of high-touch services. Popular touchless alternatives include cryotherapy, salt caves, infrared saunas and float tanks – all of which don’t require much human-to-human contact. Though, that’s not to say that spa is going anywhere anytime soon – people do miss the rejuvenating spa services which could come back into play post-COVID. Moreover, over 46% of Americans reported that they are stressed or anxious and need a way to recover.

There has never been a time in known history that so many people at one time have worn a mask. The focus has been on the eyes and brows for the past year, bringing a surge in above-the-mask beauty, with services like permanent makeup (eyebrow tinting and microblading) at a high. Lash extensions only dropped by 13% despite the close contact required. With more than half of Americans saying they feel confident after having beauty and grooming treatments, these services will inevitably come back – especially the long overdue ones like nail services.

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