A Return to Wellness — Charting the Wellness Industry Recovery

The COVID-19 pandemic effectively put the world on pause, significantly impacting the wellness industry. Fitness businesses, salons and spas closed their doors. People retreated inside their homes. More than a year later, while coronavirus is still very much here, signs are positive as markets reopen, and consumers begin getting back to, or in some cases finding new, wellness routines.

We’ve all wondered when we’d get back to normal — or find a relatively feasible new normal, at least. When can salons, spas, gyms, and other health and wellness centers expect business to go back to its pre-COVID days? Are we close to recovering? Are customers anywhere close to booking appointments the way they used to before the pandemic?

The Mindbody data science team dug into the data, looking at metrics like monthly bookings, herd immunity, and vaccination rates to see where health and wellness businesses currently stand, and what the days ahead will potentially bring us.

We believe the data tells a powerful story of rebound and recovery.

As restrictions are lifting across the United States, our research is showing us that the wellness industry is on the road to recovery. In states where COVID restrictions have lifted, booking numbers are reaching pre-COVID levels.

Consumers are realizing that wellness is more important than ever, and we’re seeing pent-up demand from consumers who appear eager to get back to their fitness and wellness routines.

Between March and April of 2020, Australia (like most of the world) saw a massive drop in daily consumer bookings. Starting around May, they were making the climb back to normality. Between July and November, they were much closer to 2019’s pre-COVID numbers. But getting into November, they actually surpassed 2019’s numbers.

They started 2021 off strong and are holding steady, relative to the previous two years. Like what we saw globally, Australia is on trend with historical numbers, however, they have already exceeded 2019 booking numbers. After the initial quarantine and a secondary July-November (limited largely to Victoria) Australia has bounced back as expected.

We know that getting vaccinated is playing a role in how quickly different parts of the world are able to overcome COVID-19. Our data shows us that most of our businesses are in regions where vaccinations are higher than the 33% average rate. This is promising news for these business owners, who can expect continued progress.

This also reaffirmed that higher vaccination rates are likely correlated with regions being able to get back to business as usual.

As we start reaching herd immunity, we can forecast that immunization will continue to play a vital role. Herd immunity is achieved at a vaccination rate of 70%. At this rate, we project that monthly bookings will continue to rise and eventually surpass 2019 numbers.

A decrease in vaccinations will negatively impact bookings, whereas any increase will play out positively for businesses across the globe.

Looking at Mindbody clients as a whole, we’re projecting consumer visits in October to surpass 2019’s October visits by 2.6%.

Low-impact/high-vaccine areas — including Alabama, Iowa, and New Hampshire — are also expected to see higher visits in 2021. The same applies to high-impact/low-vaccine areas, like Australia, Canada, and France.

For high-impact/high-vaccine areas (including California, Florida, and New York) and low-impact/low-vaccine areas (Ireland, Mexico, and Spain), October 2021s average daily consumer visits will likely be slightly lower than 2019’s.

Looking at the data as a whole, we’re left with a few key takeaways:

  1. The trajectory is looking promising for health and wellness businesses.

Only time will tell with certainty what’s going to happen to businesses across the world. However, the numbers speak for themselves, and the data is indeed showing us that while 2020 was an incredibly challenging year for all of us, 2021 is promising brighter days ahead.

Visit the 2021 Mindbody Wellness Index to learn more about wellness trends in the United States.

Source information:

*Mindbody Data Science | Our World in Data Vaccine Data

**Data & projections based on March 02, 2021

*** CRAN r forecast package (tslm) for projections (documentation)

VP, Data Science and Mindbody. Alex has worked in the Data and Analytics world for over 17 years building models and data warehouses.