Issue No. 213: Year-End Review

Heading into the final weeks of 2022, today, we’re reflecting on the industry-defining shifts impacting fitness and wellness.

The goal? Recap what we learned this year and create a cheat sheet of consumer behaviors, business strategies, and emerging opportunities for 2023.

IRL Resurgence

Fitness seekers are returning to gyms and studios, but the recovery isn’t evenly distributed. While some operators and modalities surge, others have stumbled.

Across the board, motivation (81%), instructors (74%), and accountability (61%) are bringing members back, per Mindbody. Taking notice, gyms/studios will excel by providing the real-time feedback, unique programming, and community vibes you simply can’t get at home.

Disconnected Fitness

As digital/connected fitness cools, brands are rethinking everything.

After raising billions in recent years, key players cut costs and jobs, with layoffs hitting Peloton, Tonal, Hydrow, iFIT, Zwift, Tempo, Beachbody, and others.

Hoping to correct course, companies are testing new tactics:

  • Trading DTC sales for mass distribution with retailers and Amazon
  • Prioritizing subscription revenue over hardware sales with rental programs
  • Offering smaller, more affordable products to supplement hybrid workouts

Still taking shape, creating a more open, fitness-as-a-service ecosystem could move the category from siloed content to integrated bundles.

Holistic Health

A powerful megatrend, the proliferation of wellness seemingly knows no bounds.

Already on pace to reach $7T by 2025, the sector will rise even higher as the definition of wellness evolves.

Typically viewed in isolation, consumers and companies are realizing that physical, mental, and emotional health are all intertwined. Accordingly, brands are entering new categories as consumers spend even more on holistic products and services.

More interesting, and potentially more impactful, consumer wellness is infiltrating healthcare, advancing preventative measures for chronic lifestyle diseases.

Active Nutrition

Healthy doesn’t cut it. Consumers want foods with wellness-boosting benefits.

Serving up more energy, better sleep, and improved immunity, functional food and bev boomed. Likewise, supplement makers cashed in — especially all-in-one products like Athletic Greens ($1.2B valuation) and Huel ($560M valuation).

A step further, tapping labs, wearables, and even DNA sequencing, personalized nutrition is becoming a reality.

Meanwhile, with 75% of consumers saying food is the best medicine, companies prescribing healthy meals can play a massive role in curbing our addiction to processed snacks.

Beyond Biohacking

Quantified self is becoming the status quo.

But, as this trend moves further into the mainstream, monitoring every aspect of well-being will be easy, affordable, and increasingly actionable.

Going from novelty to necessity, DIY diagnostics and 24/7 tracking are pushing deeper into healthcare but haven’t fully broken through.

Elsewhere, wellness studios and social clubs are already normalizing protocols like ice baths and IV drips. The next level of optimization, telehealth for hormone, psychedelic, and longevity therapies will become commonplace.

Looking ahead: We covered a lot of ground this year, so it’s almost impossible to pack every insight into a single newsletter.

If we missed anything you think is especially noteworthy, send me your takeaways from 2022 by replying to this email.

And, if you’re working on a health/fitness startup, you can always reach out — we invest in mission-driven founders at the earliest stages.


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