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The wellness economy - Which companies are promoting healthier lifestyles?

The COVID-19 pandemic has raised our awareness of the importance of healthy habits and lifestyles. Companies that develop innovative products and services in this area are attracting investors' attention.

What is Wellness? Wellness is defined as the pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of overall health. The wellness economy encompasses all those institutions that promote activities for a healthier lifestyle.

As a result of the COVID-19 pandemic, society now gives greater priority to health concerns. Having a healthy lifestyle in all aspects (physical, mental, environmental) provides better defences against disease. According to the World Health Organization's Guidelines on physical activity and sedentary behaviour, a healthy lifestyle could prevent about 5 million premature deaths per year.

In addition, the social distancing, remote work and travel restrictions that arose from the pandemic led to people venturing out of the house less and, consequently, companies working on online solutions focused on mental health, preventive medicine or simply healthier eating have expanded.

There is a plethora of investment opportunities within the industries that make up the wellness economy: personal care, exercise, healthy eating and nutrition, tourism, mental wellness, wellness-related real estate, traditional and alternative medicine, public health, prevention and personalised medicine, occupational wellness, and activities such as spas, hot springs and mineral springs.

In this area, we have identified three key innovations that are driving growth in wellness-related industries:

Main innovations in Wellness-related industries

1. Wearables or portable devices

Wearables are electronic devices and gadgets that are worn somewhere on our body, interfacing with it continuously and generating information about our body's behaviour. The market for these devices has grown steadily in recent years because, in addition to being attractive to athletes, they are also beneficial for people with health problems. Softtek expects this market to attain 614.31 million units by 2025, with a compound annual growth rate of 19.1% between 2020 and 2025.

2. Organic food

Organic food is food that seeks to care for biodiversity and an ecological balance and to protect agricultural resources during farming. Due to multiple concerns about food safety, animal welfare and environmental issues, consumer demand for organic food is growing rapidly. According to the Organic Trade Association, sales of organic products in the US expanded by 12% year-on-year in 2020.

3. Online fitness

Online fitness refers to fitness services delivered via digital platforms which, at the same time, represent a virtual means of social contact. These business models are characterised by digital subscription and delivery. Yoga, meditation, cycling and running are just some of the options. The percentage of fitness consumers using mobile apps to meet health and fitness goals increased from 50% to 75% following the COVID-19 outbreak, as Jonathan Harrop reported in his article 3 predictions for the health & fitness mobile app market.

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