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01 Dec 2021

Global wellness economy will be worth US$7trn by 2025
BY Megan Whitby

The report was presented live today at the first day of the GWS, where the GWI invited industry figures on-stage to help visually represent the new wellness economy monitor and its 11 sectors

The report was presented live today at the first day of the GWS, where the GWI invited industry figures on-stage to help visually represent the new wellness economy monitor and its 11 sectors

The global wellness economy will grow by 9.9 per cent annually and reach US$7trn by 2025, according to new research by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI).

Named The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond Covid, the report was unveiled on 1 December – the first day of the 2021 Global Wellness Summit (GWS).

The paper provides new market data on the overall wellness economy and for each of its 11 sectors, as well as exploring how COVID-19 impacted the industry, which markets fared best and worst and what the future holds for the sector.

“We estimate that the global wellness economy grew from US$4.3 trillion in 2017 to US$4.9 trillion in 2019,” said GWI senior research fellows and report co-authors, Ophelia Yeung and Katherine Johnston.

In 2020 however, this figure dropped by 11 per cent in 2020 to US$4.4trn due to the significant economic impacts from the pandemic but the GWI is predicting a healthy bounceback over the next four years.

The GWI's 2020 values for the 11 sectors are as follows – in order of size – with physical activity at US$738bn, spa at US$68bn and wellness real estate at US$275bn:

• Personal Care and Beauty - US$955bn
• Healthy Eating, Nutrition and Weight Loss - US$946bn
• Physical Activity - US$738bn
• Wellness Tourism - US$436bn
• Traditional and complementary medicine - US$413bn
• Public Health, Prevention and Personalised Medicine - US$375bn
• Wellness Real Estate - US$275bn
• Mental Wellness - US$131bn
• Spas - US$68bn
• Workplace Wellness - US$49bn
• Thermal / Mineral Springs - US$39bn

“This research update is crucial, because 2020 is the watershed year that will forever divide history – and the trajectory of the wellness economy – into ‘before’ and ‘after’ COVID-19,” said Yeung.

“When we analyse how different wellness markets performed in the last year, it’s natural to want to compare them and label winners and losers. But there is no question that wellness – as a concept, as a lifestyle priority, and consumer value – is a big winner from the pandemic.”

Yeung and Johnson worked alongside GWI research fellow Tonia Callender to produce the report.

Growth in the GWI’s 11 sectors
As part of the investigation, researchers highlight how each sector’s value was affected during 2019-2020, in light of the pandemic.

Wellness Real Estate exhibited the highest growth rate (22 per cent), followed by Mental Wellness (7.2 per cent), Public Health, Prevention and Personalised Medicine (4.5 per cent) and Healthy Eating, Nutrition and Weight Loss (3.6 per cent).

The sectors which shrank the most include Wellness Tourism (-39.5 per cent), spas (-38.6 per cent) and thermal/mineral springs (-38.9 per cent).

Elsewhere, Personal Care and Beauty (-13 per cent) and Physical Activity (-13 per cent) recorded a slight loss. However, fitness technology as a sub-sector exhibited significant growth of 29.1 per cent, as many consumers swapped their spend on in-person training for digital workout solutions.

Future sector growth
Looking ahead, the report predicts that Wellness Tourism (20.9 per cent), Thermal/Mineral Springs (18.1 per cent), Spas (17.2 per cent) and Wellness Real Estate (16.1 per cent) will be the top four fastest-growing sectors between 2020-2025.

“The growth rates for these sectors may seem abnormally high, but it’s because they reflect a period of rapid post-pandemic recovery in 2021 and 2022, and then taper off to a growth trajectory similar to their pre-pandemic levels,” explain the authors.

Other sectors that maintained positive growth during the 2020 pandemic, including Wellness Real Estate and Mental Wellness, are projected to continue their robust growth trends in the coming years.

Global winners in wellness
This year was the first year the GWI included regional breakdowns in the report, which indicated that Asia-Pacific was the largest region for wellness spending in 2020 at US$1.5trn.

North America (US$1.3trn) and Europe (US$1.1trn) follow closely behind.

Together, these three regions account for 90 per cent of the entire global wellness economy.

Using this newly expanded dataset on the wellness economy by region and by country, the GWI will launch a new report in January 2022 that compares, ranks and analyses the wellness markets in countries around the world.

To read the full version of the report, click here click here.



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