The emergence of intravenous drip clinics may have the support of Instagram stars, but the investment potential in this area is still up for debate.
The affluent and controversial world of IV therapy has been disrupting the health and wellness industry for nigh on a decade now, with celebrities like Rihanna sharing social media posts as far back as 2012 showcasing her personal use of IV drips.
In the past few years, the number of influencers and social media stars touting the efficacy of this emerging wellness technology has dramatically increased, with the likes of Chrissy Teigen, Cara Delevigne, and Lady Gaga publishing images of them hooked up to IV bags.
Consequently, the demand for franchise brands offering these kinds of services has also skyrocketed. Names like REVIV and The Hydration Room have steadily increased in the States, but this is far from a U.S.-only phenomenon. While America remains the most prevalent market for the trend, it’s shortly followed by Canada, Australia, and even the U.K.; with all markets seeing a sharp increase in popularity following this year’s newfound focus on personal wellbeing, as a result of the pandemic.
“I think vitamin nutrient therapy has become more popular as our general health interest and knowledge has expanded,” says Bianca Estelle, an IVNT specialist and the clinical director of U.K.-based franchise Vitamin Injections London. “Consumers nowadays take a lot more control over their own health and we’ve seen the rise of groups such as ‘biohackers’, alongside those who educate themselves on nutrition and supplementation.”
For the uninitiated, hooking yourself up to an IV bag to receive a painstakingly measured dose of vitamins may seem a tad extreme – what happened to ‘an apple a day’? But the figures show that many consumers are already supplementing their diet with vitamins and minerals; the U.S. National Institutes of Health states that one-third of Americans take some form of supplement, and in the U.K., 34 per cent of the population take daily vitamins.
With this established consumer base and a growing awareness of the practice, the IV vitamin therapy market is predicted to be worth around £447m in the U.K. by 2023. Globally, that figure could be as high as $54.5bn, with a compound annual growth rate of six per cent.
A Maryland miracle
You’d be forgiven for thinking that IV drip therapy is a relatively modern concept, considering it’s only in the past five or so years that most brands operating within the space have been established.
In fact, the practice of mixing various nutrients and delivering them through an IV drip can be traced back to a Baltimore physician by the name of Dr. John Myers, who in the 1960s, began experimenting with the methodology.
Vitamin nutrient therapy has become more popular as our general health interest and knowledge has expanded”
Myers’ studies were based on the fact that vitamins and supplements taken orally can be broken down by the stomach, resulting in a limited amount being absorbed by the body. Conversely, vitamins delivered through an IV are allegedly absorbed in much higher percentages; often cited to be as much as 90 to 95 per cent.
This groundwork is the reason why almost all IV drip franchises offer a ‘Myers’ Cocktail’ as part of their menu, and a supposed grounding in scientific research is why brands like the aforementioned Hydration Room has served upward of 45,000 patients since its founding in December 2014.
The Hydration Room, in particular, requires all franchise owners to be medical professionals – though this isn’t a requirement across all organizations within the industry, which could contribute to the dubious view some consumers and investors have of IV drip businesses.
From sous vide food prep to entirely new build-outs, F&B proves to be as dynamic as ever
With the creation of UClean in 2016, Aunabh Sinha set out to disrupt centuries of established systems