Self-Improvement Market Recovers from the Pandemic, Worth $13.4 Billion in the U.S.

Smiling woman reading book and holding cup with coffee on the bedThe self-improvement market in the United States is robust, and has recovered from the pandemic. The market’s value is estimated to have declined just 7.4% during 2020, then recovered to a 12.2 % gain in 2021 and another 11.6 % gain in 2022.

Self-improvement is big business, as Americans constantly seek out services to improve their lives — spiritually, financially, and for health reasons. The market is primarily female, but men are getting more involved.

Nearly all segments of the market improved in 2022, with especially strong growth
posted in the personal coaching, books, and audiobooks market segments. There was a shift to virtual delivery of services and more focus on male clients and Millennials.

Top Things to Know About the Self-Improvement Industry

  • Self-improvement market size: Marketdata estimates that the self-improvement market in the U.S. was worth $13.4 billion in 2022. The market bounced back about 24% in two years, fueled by growth in personal coaching services, self-help books and audiobooks, and self-help apps.
  • Self-improvement apps: This market is exploding and is estimated by Marketdata to be worth at least $762 million in the United States in 2022, projected to grow to nearly $1 billion by 2027. Meditation apps such as Headspace and Calm have built large followings, and the Noom weight loss app takes in more than $400 million a year.
  • Personal coaching: This market was worth $2.08 billion in 2022 — up a very strong 77% from 2020 levels. Americans, especially Millennials, embraced coaching more widely, and the number of coaches grew.
  • Self-help books: As Americans hunkered down at home during the pandemic, print book sales in the United States in 2020 had their best year since 2010Self-help book sales in the U.S. increased by 13% in 2019, with over 40 million units sold and personal transformation, relationships, and motivational books being the top-selling categories.
  • Audiobooks: The self-improvement audiobooks market benefited from the boom in print book sales in 2020, as homebound consumers turned to them for safe recreation. Following strong gains in 2020, 2021 should have also been one of growth for self-improvement audio. We estimate a 12% gain in sales, to $606 million. Marketdata analysts think that sales grew 10% more in 2022, to a value of $667 million.
  • Holistic institutes: These 15 facilities were devastated by the pandemic. Revenues plummeted from $135 million in 2019 to just $54 million in 2020, rising moderately in 2022. One facility went out of business.
  • Motivational speakers: The United States professional speaking “industry” in 2023 is worth about $1.77 billion. For an elite group of 17 top motivational speakers, 2022 revenues are estimated at $368 million.
  • Training organizations: Firms such as Dale Carnegie Training, Sandler Training, Franklin-Covey, and Toastmasters, catering to businesses, had sales of $687 million in 2022.

Learn More Self-Help Industry Statistics

For more information, be sure to read Marketdata's comprehensive new report The Market for Self-Improvement Products & Services, which covers motivational speaking; personal coaching; infomercials; self-improvement books and new age bookstores; self-help audiobooks; holistic institutes and training organizations; public seminars; self-improvement websites, apps, and online courses; and the weight loss market.

About the Author:  John LaRosa is the President of Marketdata LLC and is the author of 100+ industry and market studies. His research appears in top media outlets including ABC, CNN, Fox, ForbesUSA TodayThe Wall Street JournalThe New York Times, and a variety of trade journals. 

Topics: Media Industry Insights