5 Wellness Trends to Watch in 2023
With each passing year comes a fresh batch of wellness trends. Some stay, some go, some reappear years later (who knew ankle weights would make such a comeback?). One facet of the wellness industry that stands the test of time: its ability to impact our lives in profound ways. In fact, 3 out of 4 consumers say wellness is more important than ever. As you might guess, we couldn’t agree more.
At Mindbody + ClassPass, we keep a constant pulse on what’s happening in the world of wellness. We stay closely connected to thousands of fitness, beauty, and wellness brands. We also conduct one of the industry’s most comprehensive research studies: our annual Mindbody Wellness Index.
This year, we surveyed more than 17,000 consumers to find out how their relationships with wellness continue to evolve—and what that means for the year ahead. Without further ado, here are the 5 wellness trends we expect to see in 2023.
1. Strength in numbers: The rise of the wellness collective
The past few years have underscored the importance of connection in our day-to-day lives—and we’re not talking internet connection. Consumers will continue to look to fitness, beauty, and wellness businesses as a source of community. Nearly half (43%) of all consumers say that community is a very important part of wellness experiences, with men more likely to say this than women.
Is this growing desire for community due to the increasingly remote workforce? Perhaps. For many, wellness businesses have become the quintessential “third place,” a term coined by urban sociologist Ray Oldenburg defining a space outside of the home and office—which is now often one and the same—where people gather and meet new people. Today, more than a third of consumers are likely to choose wellness businesses that are well known for their community-building activities, and nearly a quarter say they’re more focused on their health and wellness to feel connected to other people.
There’s a correlation between connectedness and wellness. Consumers who use beauty and integrative health services report feeling more connected to their communities than those who don't. Similarly, the more active consumers are, the more socially connected they feel, too.
2. From the ground up: Going back to our roots
Today’s consumers are looking to reconnect with nature. Nearly 40% of Americans say they're embracing a more natural lifestyle, with men more likely than women to grow their own food, choose holistic remedies and supplements, and aim to become more self-reliant. When it comes to clean beauty, however, women are more conscious. They're more likely to visit a salon or spa that uses natural products and try natural anti-aging techniques like facial massage and sculpting tools (we’re looking at you, gua sha).
To improve their mental health, consumers are opting for rest and the great outdoors. Nearly 40% say they spend time outside to support their mental wellbeing while 24% go for nature walks or forest baths, a Japanese practice of intentionally taking in nature through all five senses.
Consumers also look to reduce stress and improve cognitive function with the help of plants and herbs. More than 4 in 10 Americans have either tried or are interested in trying adaptogens, mushrooms that can reduce negative effects of stress on the body, or nootropics, medical-grade supplements that can support brain performance. Millennials and especially millennial men are most likely to try these options for optimal health.
3. Big female energy: The year of the woman
Whether it's going to a #WomensOnlyGym or taking advantage of the body’s hormonal shifts, the data is clear: women are tapping into their feminine power like never before.
Thirty-nine percent of women say they prefer women-only gyms or fitness studios, which may be why the number of women who experience “gymtimidation” has decreased this year. Those who are still too intimidated to work out in a gym or fitness studio claim getting in better shape first and seeing more real and diverse bodies in fitness promotions will help. Don’t underestimate the power of a good outfit, though; 24% of women say finding the right ‘fit (i.e., proper fitness attire or sportswear) will make them feel less intimidated. This is especially true among Gen Z and millennials.
In years past, even talking about periods was taboo. Well, not anymore. Cycle syncing, or aligning diet, exercise, and other lifestyle habits—even skincare products—with the stages of the menstrual cycle is becoming increasingly mainstream. Thirty-five percent of women between 18-50 structure their workouts based on their menstrual cycle, with Gen Z and Millennials most likely to do so.
The number of women who say they’re sexually fulfilled is also on the rise. This could be due to the growing number of women who actively seek to improve their sexual wellness with enhancement therapies, coaching or workshops, and the like. And while there’s still room for improvement across the board—or in this case, bed—men and women report being equally sexually fulfilled.
4. Longevity wins: Functional fitness for a longer, more fulfilled life
Is longevity the new weight loss? All signs point to yes. Consumers report being less concerned with using exercise to control their weight and more concerned with living longer. In fact, almost a third of consumers (29%) say they exercise because they want to live a long and healthy life—a significant increase from last year.
One specific way consumers are optimizing their health: functional fitness, a type of strength training that prepares the body for day-to-day activities like squatting, bending, pushing, and lunging. More than half (51%) of general consumers engage in movement that prepares the body for daily living, with millennial men the most likely to do so.
Workout recovery is also a top priority. In fact, nearly half (47%) of consumers say practices like stretching and restorative yoga are very important to them. More than one third of general consumers have tried or are interested in trying ice baths while over a quarter (26%) of consumers practice biohacking for peak physical and mental performance.
5. Introducing "Gen W”: aka the wellness generation
For Gen Z and millennials, wellness isn't hours spent on cardio machines and crash diets. Wellness is connected, emotional, and inclusive—the foundation of a well-lived life.
In almost every way, Gen Z and millennials engage with wellness more than their mature counterparts. To start, they spend the most on fitness, salon, spa, and wellness services. They're most likely to work out at least once a week and eat the daily recommended servings of fruits and vegetables. Younger generations prioritize their mental wellbeing more than other generations, too.
Gen Z and Millennials are also most interested in the community aspect of wellness, with more than a quarter who say they’re focused on wellness to feel connected to other people. As a result, they’re most likely to exercise at group fitness studios, go to wellness camps or retreats, and frequent communal bath houses and hot springs.
Gen Z and millennials also expect wellness to be a part of the workplace. They're more likely to say wellness benefits or perks are important when choosing an employer than other age groups.
Are these wellness trends here to stay? Only time will tell. In the meantime, stay tuned for more on where we’ve been (check out our recently released 2022 Look Back Report) and where we’re headed in 2023.