Self-Improvement Market Growth Slows As Recession Takes Toll

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New market study forecasts $11 billion market to grow 6.2%/year to 2012

Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., a leading independent market research publisher since 1979, has released a new 7th edition business analysis, a 316-page report entitled: The U.S. Market For Self-Improvement Products & Services. This is the ONLY publicly available study about this $11 billion business. The study traces the market from 2000-2012, examining these markets: Infomercials, Holistic Institutes, Self-Help Books & Audiobooks, Motivational Speakers, Websites, Seminars, Personal Coaching, Weight Loss and Stress Management Programs. See for details or to order the study.

"There is no shortage of demand for products and programs that cater to Americans' desire to make more money, lose weight, improve their relationships and business skills, cope with stress, or obtain a quick dose of motivation. Now more than ever, Americans are turning to gurus for help in a variety of areas. They want to be more in control of their work, emotional and financial lives. An elite handful of multi-millionaire celebrities have leveraged their names to build multi-media empires consisting of: books, tapes, CDs/DVDs, seminars, workshops, websites and online 'universities', personal coaching, infomercials, and consulting," according to Research Director, John LaRosa.

Major Findings:

  •      Market Value… The total U.S. self-improvement market was worth $11.06 billion last year, versus $9.73 billion in 2005 -- a 13.6% two-year gain. However, with the recession, we estimate the market will grow a much more modest 2.8% this year, to $11.37 billion. We forecast 6.2% average yearly gains from 2009 to 2012.
  • Infomercials… Self-improvement infomercials last year generated an estimated $1.52 billion in retail sales in 2007, representing about 50% of ALL shows (worth $3.02 billion). For 2008, Marketdata projects lower sales of $1.44 billion.
  • Audiobooks Market… This is now a $2.45 billion segment that grew a strong 12% in 2007. The APA says that 24+ million Americans now listen to audiobooks. Of this total, self-improvement titles account for $457 million--or about 17% of all audiobook sales. CDs now make up 78% of sales, as cassettes fell to only 3%, by format.
  • Books… Last year's book sales were boosted by the DVD and book: "The Secret". This book and movie phenomenon had $300+ million in sales, helped by Oprah Winfrey's endorsement. Marketdata estimates that self-improvement book sales are now growing 8.3%/year, and will be worth $875 million in 2008.
  • Motivational Speakers… This segment's sales, for the top 11 speakers, plus the operations of Franklin Covey Co., are estimated at $354 million last year. All 5,000 U.S. speakers take in more than $1 billion per year. The big names are still big, and Suze Orman has been in heavy demand lately, due to the financial crisis. "The Secret" spawned several newly successful gurus that offer seminars based off the book's law of attraction.
  • Gaiam Inc.… This company is emerging as a major force in the market. The company grew from $142 million in 2005 to $263 million in 2007, via smart acquisitions, varied distribution channels and new products. Gaiam markets via the Internet, retailers, catalogs, and subscription clubs, serving both corporate and consumer market. The combination of books, DVDs, gifts, wellness programs, fitness, and mind/body products has been a winner.
  • Self-improvement customers are most likely female, middle-aged, affluent, and live on the two U.S. coasts.

More study findings can be found at Marketdata's new website:

About The Study:
The U.S. Market For Self-Improvement Products & Services, published in Oct. 2008, is an independently researched "off-the-shelf" study. The study is 316 pages in length, costs $2,295, and is also sold by individual chapters at lower cost. 10% discount for online orders. The study contains 41 detailed tables. A free table of contents is available by mail, email or fax. Contact: Marketdata Enterprises, Inc., 8903 Regents Park Drive, Suite 120, Tampa, FL 33647, (813) 907-9090. A 31 pp. Overview of major findings is available to the public for $79.

Contact Information

John LaRosa, Research Director
Marketdata Enterprises, Inc.
Fax: 813-907-3606


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