The Wellbeing Industry: A $1.5 Trillion Opportunity | Insights from Garmin and Google
The past year was an inflection point for wellbeing innovation. Equity funding in mental health and wellbeing tech companies alone broke new records as consumer interest and adoption of digital tools continued to surge, and as wellness offerings became increasingly integral to today’s holistic healthcare approach.
At our recent meetup, we brought together experts from Google, Garmin and Israeli startup, DayTwo to discuss emerging B2C and B2B opportunities for companies—both established players and new entrants – to meet the new needs in this growing market.
Here are some key takeaways from the event:
Mental Wellbeing takes Center Stage
Even before Covid-19 hit the global economy, consumers around the world were starting to embrace mental wellbeing tech, turning to new digital products and trends in the market, and we witnessed the rise of mental health unicorns such as Headspace and Calm – first-generation meditation and mindfulness apps.
Recent growth in this space has undoubtedly been accelerated by rising consumer demand for mental wellness solutions brought about by the pandemic. According to Industry Manager at Google, Amit Hoch, global Google searches around ‘anxiety’ have doubled in volume to almost 300 million as of June 2021 and, since the start of the pandemic, 51% of US consumers have increased their focus on mental wellbeing and stress relieving activities. At the same time, the stigma associated with mental health struggles is fading, helped along by high-profile public figures (including royalty and US Olympians) speaking out about their personal challenges with anxiety and depression.
The surge of interest in achieving and preserving mental wellbeing, aided by the disappearing taboo around the topic, is reflected in the funding mental health startups have attracted – a cool $795 million in the first quarter of 2021 in the US alone. This a critical recognition from institutional investors that the trends around mental wellbeing will last far beyond the pandemic.
More consumers are turning to technology to stay active
As well as impacting psychological health, Covid-19 affected physical health – and consumers increasingly turned to technology to monitor it. “With gyms closed, more people took up outdoor running and cycling, increasing awareness – and sales – of fitness trackers and watches,” according to Juha Villanen, head of B2B – EMEA, Garmin. This wasn’t just good news for Garmin, but also the companies that access and leverage biometric data amassed by these wearables, enabling them to create programs that improve people’s performance, wellbeing and even healthcare.
This year we also saw consumer attention turn to nurturing preventative healthy habits to improve long-term wellbeing, indicated by a 20% growth in Google searches on preventative health compared to last. Consumers increasingly demonstrated agency and engagement, using tools to get information on costs and health issues tracking their health conditions and using that data to make decisions.
Crucially, prevention is a topic that holds huge appeal for employers and health insurers, particularly when it comes to conditions such as diabetes. “A person, for example, with diabetes costs four times more in healthcare costs to an employer or insurance company,” revealed Lihi Segal, founder of DayTwo, developer of a microbiome-based precision nutrition solution for people with metabolic diseases.
By blending science and advanced technology, DayTwo provides users with personalized meal recommendations based on their unique microbiome as well as ongoing virtual care, helping them to maintain low blood sugar and reduce the need for medications. What began as a B2C solution, DayTwo now also partners with employers, payers and health insurance underwriters, as businesses realize the huge cost-saving implications of preventative healthcare.
Companies such as Garmin, Google and DayTwo are confident that as people become increasingly savvy in how they manage their health and wellbeing, brands that offer evidence-based solutions will thrive. The wellbeing tech industry finds itself in its most formative years and we expect to see continued growth and development, with startups jumping on consumer interest and investors chasing opportunities in this field. Wellbeing tech is still a blue ocean, so if you’re a startup – it’s time to dive in.