Science-based beauty and wild water experiences among top 2023 wellness trends

Published 11th Aug 2023 by PB Admin

Science-based beauty, natural water experiences and social spaces are some of the top trends shaping the wellness industry.

The Global Wellness Summit has released The Future of Wellness 2023 Trends: Mid-Year Update, which highlights key industry shifts impacting the wellness economy.

Nancy Davis, creative officer and executive director of the Global Wellness Summit, said, “[This report] shares what’s been resonating in the news and in the world, and it’s a testament to the depth and breadth of the report that most of the trends have staying power – and I mean for years.”

The trends featured in the report are: 

Wellness and beauty

This trend looks at the evolution from greenwashing and “clean beauty” to today’s medical and tech-forward product development. 

There’s been a movement that is fuelled by beauty consumers who are demanding education, transparency, results-driven beauty technologies, science in ingredient formulations, and biotech formulations that are far more effective than natural extracts. 

The beauty and wellness industries have the opportunity to change the way consumers view synthetic ingredients by using science and technology to secure supply chains and pave the way for innovations, said the report.

Wellness and gathering

One of the biggest wellness trends for 2023 is the development of new spaces and experiences that bring people together in real life for social connection.

The recent wellness market has led with me-time experiences and digital wellness – both lonely journeys of self-care – but the pandemic has proven to be the breaking point.

Social wellness clubs with different vibes and price-points will surge, where group bonding comes first, and the wellness experiences serve as social icebreakers. 

Empatho-delics/actives that drive human openness are predicted to rise, such as the psychedelic psilocybin (also known as “magic mushrooms”).

Wellness and travel

Travellers are now seeking much deeper cultural experiences and showing interest in going to the source of ancient healing and knowledge to learn how they care for the land and for themselves, said GWS.

In Japan, traditional ryokans, or hot springs inns, are having a renaissance as nature-based experiences that shift with the seasons. 

Resorts are exploring new menus of from-the-source wellness, whether traditional Arabic and Islamic medicine in the Middle East or Druidry in England. 

India, which gave the wellness world yoga, is poised to lure travellers back to the source with an upcoming centre for traditional medicine partnered by the World Health Organization.

Wellness and water

The pandemic spurred a demand for in-nature experiences that shows no signs of lessening. 

In 2023, people will jump into the world’s wild waters for some “blue wellness”, with a global surge in new-look hot springs destinations and wild and cross-country swimming.

Hot springs are now poised to be the next big thing in wellness, with developers combining live entertainment, watery wellness classes, restaurants and bars, with traditional soaking. 

This social, affordable wellness is also pulling in a younger, more diverse crowd.

On the cold side of the trend, there is surging interest in wild, cold and cross-country swimming. 

Wild swimming groups are offering inclusive group swims that foster connection, and more global resorts are offering guided wild swimming programmes. 

Cross-country swimming is starting to take off, and people are even building wild swimming ponds instead of the old concrete swimming pools.

Wellness and sports

Savvy hospitality brands are responding to demands from wellness-focused clients looking beyond the basement gym, in search of pro-athlete-level equipment, fitness classes and wellness programming, whenever and wherever they travel. 

Some hotel brands are even creating facilities that cater to entire amateur or professional sports teams, expanding the function of the hotel and ensuring professional quality for the rest of their visitors. 

The global sports market is predicted to hit $20 billion (£15.7bn) by 2027, and we’re going to see new, creative, profitable intersections between sports and wellness. 

Sports of all types are being seen as a strategy to attract and connect with wellness-oriented consumers. 

Check out how to partner with a fitness practitioner to boost your spa offering. 

Wellness and senses

The senses have always been present in wellness, and now, with a better grasp on evidence, brands are accessing multiple senses simultaneously to better support wellbeing outcomes, amplify wellness experiences and influence behavioural change – such as using multiple sensory cues in a harmonious way to deepen meditation. 

Wellness brands, spas and retailers are experimenting with playful combinations of light and sound, light and taste, and so on, to build connection and more meaningful moments. 

Read our top tips on how to scent scape your salon or spa.

Wellness and biohacking

Biohacking is the attempt to control biology and defy disease, decay and death. 

The idea isn’t new; our ancestors developed low-tech hacks such as fasting, isolation, chanting, yoga, martial arts, body temperature manipulations and traditional medicines to increase their health and wellbeing. 

However, there is a new trend in biohacking featuring technology that allows us to manipulate molecules, modify genes, manage microbes, create living robots, regenerate body parts, seamlessly monitor and track health metrics, and manipulate our sensory inputs, said GWS. 

Other wellness trends in the report include:

  • Wellness and workplace – superficial wellness at work schemes are being replaced with more meaningful solutions like protected time off and acknowledging women’s health needs.
  • Wellness and cities – urban wellness infrastructure is the combination of capital improvements and business opportunities that holistically address social, mental and physical health. 
  • Wellness and governments – more governments are moving towards pursuing diversified policies aimed at improving physical, mental, work, environmental and even financial wellbeing, from healthy eating campaigns to funding regenerative agriculture and biodiversity protection.
  • Wellness and weight – this trend explores studies of how white cell/brown cell transformation could work to tackle obesity as well as heart disease, cancers, dementia and more.
  • Wellness and faith – more companies are now tapping into the full identity of their employees by including religion as a full-fledged part of their diversity, equality and inclusion commitments.

Summarising the trends, Skyler Huber, senior cultural strategist for TBWA Worldwide and a contributor to the report, commented, “Overall there’s a push towards a more accessible, less intimidating era of wellness where we’re really throwing out the wellness rulebook and instead favouring whatever feels good, and this is being driven by the younger crowd.

“There’s a pushback against the more aesthetic version of wellness where people are posting their wellness routines which look perfect and curated. Now, people want a more attainable version of wellness.

“We’ll continue to see the push for harder science, but in the lifestyle realm we want wellness to be the softer antidote to what science has traditionally been seen as – a bit sterile and less inviting.” 

Find out more about the the Global Wellness Summit’s The Future of Wellness 2023 Trends: Mid-Year Update report here.

Which of these trends have you tapped into in your business? Let us know in the comments…

Don’t miss: How leading spa directors are transforming treatments into wellness experiences and the complementary therapies that could boost your business.

PB Admin

PB Admin

Published 11th Aug 2023

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