The Global Wellness Industry Hits $3.72 Trillion


KITZBüHEL, Austria  The global wellness industry is now worth $3.72 trillion, according to new research released by the Global Wellness Institute.

Rising by 10.6% over the last two years, the latest figures provide fresh evidence that wellness is one of the world’s largest, fastest growing, and most resilient markets.

“Recent years have been marked by global economic contraction and disruptive geopolitical events, but a ‘wellness economy’ just keeps rising, with an upward trajectory that seems unstoppable,” commented Ophelia Yeung, Senior Research Fellow at the Global Wellness Institute.

Among the ten wellness markets analysed in the study, the fastest growing categories from 2013-2015 include preventive/personalised medicine and public health, fitness and mind-body, wellness lifestyle real-estate, wellness tourism, and healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss.

Yeung predicts that consumers, governments and employers will continue to spend big on these sectors due to a number of driving factors including the emergence of a global middle class, the rapidly increasing aging population, and a growing subset of consumers seeking experiences rooted in meaning, purpose, authenticity and nature.

“A profound shift in the way people consume wellness is underway,” added Katherine Johnston, Senior Research Fellow, GWI.  

“And the spend on proactive healthy choices – on wellness – will continue to comprise a greater percentage of massive multi-trillion industries, whether real-estate, food and beverage, or travel.”

Global wellness industry

Image: GWI


Highlighting some of the most prominent categories covered in the study, below, we’ve rounded up the facts and figures that demonstrate why the wellness industry now represents 5.1% of all global economic output.

Wellness Tourism

  • From 2013-2015, wellness tourism revenues grew by 14%, which is more than twice as fast as overall tourism expenditures (6.9%) for the same period.
  • World travelers made 691 million wellness trips in 2015, 104.4 million more than in 2013.
  • Wellness tourism now accounts for 15.6% of total tourism revenues – nearing 1 in 6 of total “tourist dollars” spent. That’s, in part, because wellness travelers spend much more per trip: international wellness tourists spend 61% more ($1,613/trip) than the average international tourist, and the premium for domestic wellness travelers is even higher: $654 per trip, 164% higher than the typical domestic tourist.
  • Wellness tourism is responsible for 17.9 million jobs worldwide.

Spa Industry

  • The spa economy, including spa facility revenues ($77.6 billion), and also education, consulting, associations, media, and event sectors that enable spa businesses ($21 billion), grew to a $98.6 billion market in 2015.
  • Spa locations jumped from 105,591 in 2013 to 121,595 in 2015.
  • Since 2013, the industry has added 16,000 spas, more than 230,000 workers (to reach 2.1 million), and $3.5 billion in revenue.
  • The modest 2.3% annual revenue growth rate (2013-2015) is largely due to the U.S. dollar currency conversion from large spa markets across Europe and Asia. If global spa facility revenues are converted to the Euro, the market actually grew a robust 25%: from €56 billion to €70.1 billion.

Workplace Wellness

  • As the cost of unwell workers skyrockets (reaching 10-15% of global economic output), employers are spending more on employee wellness each year.
  • The global industry grew 6.4% from 2013-2015, to $43.3 billion. But two-thirds of that spend is concentrated in North America ($16.2 billion) and Europe ($16.1 billion).
  • The Global Wellness Institute estimates that with only 9.5% of today’s workforce covered by a workplace wellness program, this remains a wellness market with some of the largest growth opportunity.

Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate

  • The market for residential, hospitality, and mixed-used real estate that incorporates wellness elements (i.e., human, social and environmental health) into its design, construction, amenities and services, was one of the fastest-growing wellness sectors from 2013-2015: growing 19% to $118.6 billion.



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