Self-help has been around for more than a century for one specific reason: the industry gives people confidence. Even if it’s only a reminder of something they should be doing, such as “take responsibility for your choices,” the industry is full of healthy, encouraging advice to help people stay strong against the negative tides that may come their way. This industry offers a $9.6 billion market for motivational “self-improvement” programs and products that seek to improve us physically, mentally, financially or spiritually.
Trends in the Self-Help Industry
The self-help industry in the United States has been in decline since 2007.
There really is only one contributing factor to this overall decline within the industry. Infomercial products brought in $1.5 billion worth of revenues in the U.S. in 2007. In 2011, the amount was $898 million. Every other category within the industry has had stable, but static, revenues over the same period of time.
Self-Help Industry Facts
1. The average purchaser of a self-help product is an affluent woman, between 40 – 50 years of age, living on either the East Coast or the West Coast.
2. 70% of all customers within this industry are women.
3. Because there is no trade industry association in this field, it is easy for many entrepreneurs to start their own self-help trade, which means a scam is easy to begin and perpetrate.
Takeaway: There’s no doubt that the self-help industry gives people better confidence about themselves, their families, their jobs, and even just the world at large. Several big names power the industry, some might call them gurus, and their message is essentially consistent. When no one else is telling you that you have any worth or at least if it feels that way and one of these self-help giants comes along and says you do, it becomes attractive to listen to that message.
Additional Interesting Industry Statistics
1. The primary method of success within this industry is to have multiple distribution channels for products and advice, from podcasts to books to speaking engagements.
2. The focus within this industry has shifted more from a spiritual sense to a practical sense – people want real skills to develop that they can use to better their own lives.
3. A top motivational speaker or self-help guru can command a $50,000 fee for a live presentation.
4. There are over 5,000 professional speakers that tour the United States every year.
5. The average personal coach who encourages these self-help traits on a one-to-one level earns a minimum of $40,000 per year when working full-time.
6. Health and fitness equipment drive infomercial sales today, with weight loss programs being a close second. Personal development has fallen into fourth place behind these and business development products.
7. The vast majority of self-improvement books that are published today are diet books.
Takeaway: The industry is changing because people have found that developing their spiritual side only leads to specific benefits. The physical side must also be developed and the self-help industry is within that transitory period right now. With the focus on diet, health, exercise, and how to make smart choices, practical skills will develop and the spiritual side will be abandoned. Eventually the pendulum will swing the other way again and a greater focus will likely be on spiritual matters in the future.