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The US Market for Self-Improvement Products & Services 2003-2025

  • PDF Icon


  • 333 Pages
  • July 2021
  • Region: United States
  • Marketdata LLC
  • ID: 5393508


  • Audible.com
  • Harper Audio
  • Learning Strategies Corp.
  • Nightingale-Conant
  • Option Institute
  • Simon & Schuster

The personal growth market, like many others, took a hit in 2020 due to the pandemic and recession. However, some market segments prospered as Americans read more books, listened to audiobooks and bought tons of exercise equipment/weight loss services. Competitors hosting live events, coaching and seminars scrambled to pivot to virtual delivery.

This report from Marketdata LLC is the most comprehensive business analysis that exists of the self-improvement market worldwide, since 1994. The study examines the $10.4 billion market for “self-improvement” or “personal growth” programs and products that seek to improve us physically, mentally, financially or spiritually.

Analysis of the market for:

  • Books;
  • Audiobooks;
  • Infomercials;
  • Motivational speakers;
  • Public seminars;
  • Workshops;
  • Holistic institutes;
  • Personal coaching;
  • Weight loss programs;
  • Apps;
  • Internet courses;
  • Training organizations and more.

Nature of the business, $ value/growth and outlooks for each market segment.

Major topic categories covered:

  • weight loss/exercise;
  • business/sales skills;
  • business opportunities/investing;
  • improving relationships;
  • and general motivational.

Includes the effects of the pandemic on all market segments in 2020, with 2021 forecasts.

The study analyzes market segments/industry structure, the market’s $ size/growth (2003-2025 forecast), latest trends, latest survey findings of trade associations (ICF Coaching, Audio Publishers, National Speakers Assn.), the shift to Internet delivery of content, customer demographics, in-depth profiles of 40 top motivational speakers (Tony Robbins, Deepak Chopra, Phil McGraw, Dr. Laura, Brian Tracy, Suze Orman, Tom Hopkins, Robert Kiyosaki, many others), top 100 infomercials list, and more.

Contains a 100-page chapter profiling the activities/products and revenues of the top motivational speakers, plus in-depth competitor profiles:

  • Nightingale-Conant;
  • Hay House;
  • Success Resources America;
  • Landmark Worldwide;
  • Skillpath;
  • National Seminars Group;
  • Fred Pryor/CareerTrack;
  • Selfgrowth.com;
  • Toastmasters;
  • Dale Carnegie Associates;
  • Franklin-Covey;
  • Sandler Training;
  • Omega Institute;
  • Esalen Institute;
  • Robbins Research;
  • The Chopra Center;
  • and more.


  • Audible.com
  • Harper Audio
  • Learning Strategies Corp.
  • Nightingale-Conant
  • Option Institute
  • Simon & Schuster

Introduction: Study Scope & Methodology 

Explanation of where the information came from: “primary” & “secondary” sources: methodology, definition of the self-improvement market, scope of the research   

Executive Overview of Major Findings 

  • Highlights of ALL chapters - Discussion of market nature & definition, characteristics, major developments of past two years, avg. customer profile, why demand exists for programs, customer demographic profile
  • Findings of interviews with market insiders: technology trends, marketing methods
  • Changing of the guard: older gurus retiring and dying, who will replace them?
  • How the market pivoted to virtual delivery of services in 2020
  • The explosion of SI content via Internet entrepreneurs - discussion
  • Market Size & Growth, Segments: Table/Discussion of total market size, growth rates, outlook (2003-2020, 2021 & 2025 forecasts), estd. $ size of major segments by Distribution Channel:
    • Infomercials
    • Motivational speakers
    • Seminars
    • Holistic institutes
    • Self-improvement books
    • Audiobooks
    • Personal coaching
    • Weight loss programs 

  • Market Segment Outlooks & Effects of The Pandemic: discussion of mkt size/growth and characteristics/trends for: 
    • Infomercials (retail sales by topic)
    • Motivational speakers mkt.
    • Personal coaching market
    • Holistic institutes & training organizations mkt.
    • Self-improvement books mkt.
    • Audiobooks mkt.
    • Public seminars
    • Weight loss programs

  • Status report of the U.S. Weight Loss Industry ($ size 2002-2020, performance of commercial vs. medical diet programs 2019-2021 (trends, dieter demographics/number, mkt. nature, major mkt. trends/developments, etc.)  

The Motivational Speakers Market 

  • Discussion of number of professional speakers in the U.S., avg. earnings, estimated income for the top 17 speakers (table) - from speaking engagements, books, consulting, training, list of top speakers’ bureaus, how speakers operate
  • Effects of the pandemic, how speakers shifted to virtual services, effect on earnings 
  • Market size: 2019 & 2020, 2021 & 2025 growth forecasts
  • “State of the Speaking Industry: 2020 Report” - major findings
  • NSA outlook, discussion of industry trends
  • Avg. yearly earnings per motivational speaker, % from products/speaking/other services
  • Overview/size of corporate training market
  • List/ranking of top 101 self-improvement experts, compiled by Self-Improvement Online
  • List of 50 most popular public speakers in 2019


  • Size of the total professional speaking market: 2005-2025F
  • Speaking fees by person: top speakers 
  • Estimated annual income of the top speakers: 2016 & 2020

In-depth profiles of top self-improvement experts/celebrities - descriptions of their organizations, biographies, revenue estimates/actual when available, products/services offered, books authored, speaking fees, consulting, specialties, headquarters address, websites, for:

Anthony Robbins, Oprah Winfrey, Joel Osteen, Eckhart Tolle, Gabby Bernstein, Jack Canfield, Mark Victor Hansen, Deepak Chopra, Suze Orman, Marianne Williamson, Brendon Burchard, Brian Tracy, Dr. Phil McGraw, Dr. Laura Schlessinger, Robert Kiyosaki, Robert Allen, John Gray, Iyanla Vanzant, Les Brown, Tom Hopkins, Spencer Johnson, Barbara DeAngelis, John Kabat-Zinn, Danielle LaPorte, Mastin Kipp, Lewis Howes, John Maxwell, Jay McGraw, Paul McKenna, Tim Ferriss, Dave Ramsey, Gary Vaynerchuck, Mel Robbins, Malcomb Gladwell

The Personal Coaching Market 

  • Definition & summary of the market, number of active coaches in U.S., worldwide, coaching specialties, differences between coaching and consulting, corporate vs. personal coaching, most common myths about coaching, phone coaching
  • Results of 2020 ICF consumer awareness studies, why people use coaches, why they don’t, their objectives, by sex, age
  • Status report of the market, topics in demand, corporate vs. consumer customers
  • Findings of interview with ICF President: mkt. trends, growth, outlook, status
  • The market’s major trade groups and periodicals (address list)
  • Coaching metrics: Avg. annual earnings, fees, no. of clients, outlook, extensive operating ratios
  • Market $ size and projected growth, 2008-2019 2020, 2021, 2025 estimates & forecasts - PricewaterhouseCoopers Survey findings, consumer attitudes & awareness of coaching services, publisher estimates
  • Profiles of top coaches: Bernie Siegel, Colleen Bracken, Diane Brennan, Pat Mathews, Pat Boney, Kay Cannon
  • List of major coaching periodicals

The Direct Response Market: Infomercials 

  • Discussion & analysis of infomercials as a sales/advertising medium, reasons for growth in popularity and doubling since 1996, emerging trends, mkt. size, 2016-2020, status report, $ media billings by topic, why infomercials are popular
  • Effects of the pandemic & recession on sales, why the market help up well and grew in 2020
  • Demographic profile of infomercial buyers from: Electronic Retailing Assn. (by sex, age, income, why they buy, how much, how often, top motivating factors, DRTV demographics 
  • List of top 100 long and short-form infomercials, top 100 (Jordan Whitney) - show name, products, distributor
  • 2021-2025 publisher growth forecast, historical share of total info. Sales by self- improvement programs, analysis of 2018-2019 top shows and categories 
  • List of top infomercial producers
  • List of leading infomercials of past decade (producer, $ sales, etc.)     
  • List, brief descriptions of other infomercials for: weight loss, relationships, general motivational, business opportunities


  • 2009, 2013, 2015, 2016, 2018 media billings, by topic    
  • Estd. $ mkt. size (retail sales) 2011-2020, by major categories (exercise equipment, diet plans, business/financial, general motivational) - self-improvement topic

The Self-Improvement Books Market and New Age Bookstores   

  • Status of book buying in 2020 - Why the book publishing market soared during the pandemic
  • Data from NPD Group (NPD Bookscan) and StatShot Annual Report
  • Discussion of anti-self-help book publishing trend, examples of recent bestsellers
  • List of bestselling self-improve. books in 2019, 2018, 2016 (units sold, $ sales, authors)
  • Summary of “new age” bookstores mkt.: chains vs. independents, how many in the nation, products sold, growth, customers, specialties. estd. sales, share of sales by major topics 
  • Publisher $ estimates of size of self-improvement books mkt., 2003, 2005, 2007, 2009, 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020, the major book distribution channels
  • Discussion of increased focus by publishers on male and Millennial readers
  • Discussion/analysis of the diet books market, buyer demographics, what makes a bestseller, $ mkt. value, list of best-selling diet books since mid-1980s

The Self-Improvement Audiobooks Market      

  • Market status and growth (2011-2025 forecasts), strong unit sales growth in 2018-2020, buyer demographics, popularity rank for 14 topics, where audiobooks are purchased, segments, total audiobook sales vs. share for SI audiobooks, major competitors
  • Latest 2020 APA consumer survey results on market growth, audiobook formats, sales trends, comparisons to earlier surveys, NPD Group survey findings
  • Consumer spending on audiobooks was very strong in 2020, discussion
  • Audiobook Buyer Demographics
  • Latest audiobook user surveys by Consumer Electronics Assn., APA, etc. (frequency of use, no. bought, where listened to, etc.) - why the publisher estimates differ from APA’s
  • Self-improvement audiobooks mkt. size vs. total spoken audio mkt.
  • Leading publishers address list (address, phone, key titles published): Harper Audio, Simon & Schuster, New Star, Nightingale-Conant, Random House, TIME Warner, etc.) 

Table: Estimated U.S. Retail Sales of All Audiobooks & self-improvement audiobooks: 2009-2025F

Company profiles: Nightingale-Conant, Audible.com, Centerpointe Research Institute

Holistic Institutes & Training Organizations 237-283: (Self-improvement workshops, seminars, courses, retreats, training organizations)

  • Discussion of overall market status and 16 U.S. centers’ philosophies, course offerings and prices, enrollments, growth since 1960s, nonprofit/for-profit status, specializations, estd. & actual revenues/budgets, workshop topics in demand, mkt. size and 2023 forecasts
  • Status of the market in 2020, pandemic devastate most facilities closed by lockdowns
  • Address List of top centers in the U.S., directors’ names, 2018 attendance for each center
  • Table: Estim. revenues in 2013, 2016, 2018, 2019, 2020 for the top institutes and training organizations

Holistic Institutes

Descriptive profiles and background, sample courses, no. attendees, for leading facilities: Omega Institute, Esalen Institute, New York Open Center, Oasis Center, Naropa, Option Institute, Wainwright House - 2019 financial statements/budgets/expenses by type

  • Training Organizations
  • Franklin-Covey Co. - profile, history, training/consulting vs. retail business, financials: 2008-2020
  • Sandler Training - profile, services, history, estd. revenues 
  • Dale Carnegie Training - profile, services, history, estd. revenues
  • Toastmasters International - profile, services, history, actual revenues
  • Hay House - profile, services, history, estd. revenues

The Public Seminars Market

  • Discussion/analysis of large group vs. small group seminars, difference in cost structure, profitability, fees, individual speakers doing public seminars, mkt. size and status report, why this is a difficult model to make profitable, estd. mkt. size., IRS Form 990 fiscal 2016-2020 actual revenues/expenses/profit statements)
  • Discussion: Pandemic’s effect on the market was significant, some shifted to virtual events

Table: The Leading Public Seminar Competitors: Revenues for 2011-2020

Company Profiles: (Description of company operations, courses, specialties)

  • Fred Pryor/CareerTrack (Park University)
  • Learning Strategies Corp.
  • Skillpath Seminars (Graceland Univ.)
  • National Seminars Group (Rockhurst Univ.)
  • Landmark Education
  • Success Resources America (formerly: Peak Potentials)

Status Report of The U.S. Weight Loss Market 

  • Summary/status of the industry in 2019-2020 recent and emerging trends, publisher forecasts, why commercial diet companies held up better than medical programs in 2020
  • 2020 Performance of leading commercial, medical, online chains (Medifast, NutriSystem, Jenny Craig, Weight Watchers - public & private companies)
  • Discussion of major industry trends, major mkt. developments since 2019
  • Reasons why commercial diet companies are growing again, untapped mkts., lack of customization, poor manage
  • 2020 performance of: commercial programs, medical programs
  • Discussion and $ size of the digital (virtual) weight loss market
  • Discussion of the weight loss apps market


  • The publisher estimates of the 10 major segments of the diet industry, $ values (1989 to 2020)  diet soft drinks, artificial sweeteners, health clubs, commercial programs, medical programs by type, low-cal foods, retail meal replacements, diet pills, diet books, etc.)
  • Comparative $ size of commercial vs. medical weight loss programs markets
  • Revenues of commercial diet centers, market share of top chains (2010-2020)
  • The Largest U.S. Weight Loss Companies & Brands, by Sales: 2020
  • Revenues of the commercial weight loss chains: 1989-2025F

Reference Directory of Information Sources
(Names, addresses, phone, key contacts at relevant trade groups, journals, periodicals in the field)           

  • Audible.com
  • Audio Publishers Association
  • CareerTrack (Park University)
  • Centerpointe Research Institute
  • Dale Carnegie Training
  • Esalen Institute
  • Franklin-Covey Co.
  • Fred Pryor/CareerTrack
  • Harper Audio
  • Hay House
  • ICF Coaching
  • Jenny Craig
  • Landmark Worldwide
  • Learning Strategies Corp.
  • Medifast
  • Naropa
  • National Seminars Group (Rockhurst University)
  • National Speakers Association
  • New Star
  • New York Open Center
  • Nightingale-Conant
  • NSA
  • NutriSystem
  • Oasis Center
  • Omega Institute
  • Option Institute
  • PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC)
  • Random House
  • Robbins Research
  • Sandler Training
  • Selfgrowth.com
  • Simon & Schuster
  • Skillpath Seminars (Graceland University)
  • Success Resources America (formerly: Peak Potentials)
  • The Chopra Center
  • The Electronic Retailing Association
  • TIME Warner
  • Toastmasters International
  • Wainwright House
  • Weight Watchers