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Wellness now a US$4.2 trillion global industry

Wellness now a US$4.2 trillion global industry
October 9, 2018

The global wellness industry grew 12.8% in the last two years, from a US$3.7 trillion market in 2015 to US$4.2 trillion in 2017, according to an in-depth research report, the 2018 Global Wellness Economy Monitor, released at weekend during the 12th annual Global Wellness Summit being held at the Technogym Village in Cesena, Italy.

The all-new data, presented by the Global Wellness Institute, covers the 10 markets that comprise the global wellness economy - providing fresh evidence that wellness remains one of the world’s biggest and fast-growing industries.

Key data from the Global Wellness Economy Monitor shows that:

• From 2015-2017, the wellness economy grew 6.4% annually, nearly twice as fast as global economic growth (3.6%).*
• Wellness expenditures (US$4.2 trillion) are now more than half as large as total global health expenditures (US$7.3 trillion).**
• The wellness industry now represents 5.3% of global economic output.

Commenting on the findings, Katherine Johnston, GWI Senior Research Fellow advised “once upon a time, our contact with wellness was occasional: we went to the gym or got a massage. 

But this is changing fast: a wellness mindset is starting to permeate the global consumer consciousness, affecting people’s daily decision-making – whether food purchases, a focus on mental wellness and reducing stress, incorporating movement into daily life, environmental consciousness, or their yearning for connection and happiness.

“Wellness, for more people, is evolving from rarely to daily, from episodic to essential, from a luxury to a dominant lifestyle value. And that profound shift is driving powerful growth.”

The Monitor also focuses on five markets.

Wellness Real Estate
Real estate that incorporates intentional wellness elements into its design, materials and building, and its amenities and programming, is growing fast as more people want to bring more health into the places where they spend the majority of their time. 

For comparison, the US$134 billion wellness real estate market is now about 1.5% of the total annual global construction market and about half the size of the global green building industry.

There are now more than 740 wellness real estate and community developments built or in development across 34 countries - a number that grows weekly.

Workplace Wellness
Valued at US$47.5 billion, the workplace wellness market remains very small in comparison to the massive economic burden and productivity losses (10-15% of global economic output) associated with an unwell and disengaged workforce. Only 9.8% of world employees are covered by a workplace wellness program (321 million people), and programs are heavily concentrated in high-income countries in North America, Western Europe and Asia.

Wellness Tourism
The US$639 billion wellness tourism market’s annual growth rate of 6.5% from 2015-2017 is more than double the growth rate for tourism overall (3.2%). World travellers made 830 million wellness trips in 2017, 139 million more than in 2015 - and these trips now represent 17% of total tourism expenditures. Wellness tourism growth is very much a tale of developing markets, with Asia-Pacific, Latin America-Caribbean, Middle East-North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa all clocking robust gains, and accounting for 57% of the increase in wellness trips since 2015.

Over the past five years, Asia is the top gainer in both wellness tourism trips and revenues (growing 33% in two years, to 258 million annually). China and India rank first and second for growth worldwide, adding over 12 million and 17 million wellness trips respectively from 2015-2017.

Spa Industry
The spa economy, which includes spa facility revenues (now US$93.6 billion yearly), and also education, consulting, associations, media and event sectors that enable spa businesses (now US$25.2 billion), has grown to a US$118.8 billion market. Spa locations jumped from 121,595 in 2015 to over 149,000 in 2017, employing nearly 2.6 million workers. The 9.9% annual revenue growth for spas is much higher than the pace from 2013-2015 (2.3%). From 2015-2017, the hotel/resort spa category added the largest number of spas and revenue, and has now surpassed day/salon spas as the industry’s revenue leader.

Thermal and Mineral Springs
The thermal/mineral springs market continues to clock strong growth as more people turn to water for stress relief, healing and community. The market grew from US$51 billion in 2015 to US$56.2 billion in 2017, while facilities jumped from 27,507 (in 109 countries) to 34,057 (in 127 countries) – employing 1.8 million workers. The market is intensely concentrated in Asia-Pacific and Europe, which account for 95% of revenues.

Ophelia Yeung, GWI Senior Research Fellow added “in the face of longer lifespans, and rising chronic disease, stress and unhappiness, we only see growth for wellness ahead.

“But the wellness market isn’t just growing, it’s extremely dynamic. We believe that the three sectors that represent the core spheres of life will see the strongest future growth - wellness real estate, workplace wellness and wellness tourism - while other sectors will also grow as they support the integration of wellness into all aspects of daily life. And wellness markets will become less siloed and more interconnected, converging to offer solutions and experiences in the places where people live, work and travel.”

Held from 6th to 8th October, the 12th annual Global Wellness Summit has attracted more than 630 industry leaders from 50 nations.

Click here to view the full report.

*Global GDP data: IMF, World Economic Outlook Database, April 2018 Edition
**Global health expenditures data: WHO, Global Health Expenditures Database. 2015 data most recent year available.

Related Articles

5th October 2018 - Urban Land Institute event explores multiple elements of ‘the business of wellness’

5th October 2018 - $100 million hot springs resort planned for Gippsland Lakes

28th July 2018 - Evolution Wellness acquires Fivelements health resorts

6th June 2018 - IHRSA Report shows 22 million members at fitness clubs across key Asia-Pacific markets

15th June 2018 - Wellness to meet fashion at 2018 Global Wellness Summit

9th April 2018 - Global Wellness Summit announces ‘Shaping the Business of Wellness’ as 2018 theme

23rd March 2018 - New Zealand set for massive wellness sector growth

14th March 2018 - Tony de Leede launches Club W concept, a new ‘third space’ for women’s wellness

14th February 2018 - Tony de Leede to co-chair 2018 Global Wellness Summit

31st January 2018 - Researchers explore wellness benefits of residential retreats

29th October 2017 - Arts on prescription can help deliver wellness outcomes

23rd October 2017 - Technogym to host Global Wellness Summit in 2018

6th August 2017 - Belgravia Leisure’s Hepburn Wellness Group wins four World Luxury Spa Awards

3rd August 2017 - Tony de Leede appointed to Global Wellness Summit Advisory Board

2nd July 2017 - Groundbreaking study shows the wellness benefits of swimming

5th May 2017 - 300,000 annual visitors enjoy wellness benefits of Moree Artesian Aquatic Centre

29th January 2017 - Significant growth in international wellness tourism

12th December 2016 - Fashion connects with wellness, experiences and ‘athleisure’

20th October 2016 - Mornington Peninsula hot springs to be exploited for wellness tourism

10th June 2016 - Fitness industry says ‘yes’ to Global Wellness Day

4th February 2015 - Fitness and wellness holidays a growing trend

5th October 2014 - Anantara launches innovative new wellness concept

16th April 2014 - Back in Motion Health Group maximises opportunities in expanding wellness market

14th April 2014 - Deloitte predicts significant growth for health and wellness industries

29th October 2013 - Wellness tourism and spa sectors urged to unite

16th September 2008 - ATEC acts on wellness tourism


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