Global wellness market now worth $4.5 trillion

New Global Wellness Institute (GWI) data on the international physical activity sector has pushed the global wellness industry worth to $4.5 Trillion (£3.5 trillion). 

Its major study for 2019: Move To Be Well: The Global Economy of Physical Activity is the first comprehensive study encompassing the entire physical activity market, currently valued at $828bn (£642bn).  

It reports on the worth of six sectors: fitness at $109bn (£84.6bn) sports and active recreation at $230bn (£178bn), mindful movement at $29bn (£22.5bn), apparel and footwear at $333bn (£258bn), equipment and supplies at $109bn (£84.5bn) and fitness technology at $26bn (£20bn). 

With this new data, wellness jumps to a $4.5 trillion (£3.5 trillion) global market. 

The 180-page report takes an in-depth look at consumer spend within all six markets at global, regional and national levels and reveals the big emerging trends and business opportunities across countries as well as market growth projections. 

The physical activity economy will grow 6.6% annually from 2018–2023, to surpass $1.1 trillion (£854bn). 

Asia-Pacific will overtake North America as the largest market, accounting for 40 per cent of all global growth through 2023. China and India together will drive nearly one-third of growth, while the US will account for one-quarter.

Mindful movement, which includes yoga, tai chi and Pilates is growing 12.4% annually, and is the fastest-growing sector.

Fitness technology will be the second growth leader (8.6% a year) through to 2023. 

The study shows that technologies that make exercise more fun, affordable, personalised, portable, social and trackable are seeing an extraordinary uptake by consumers all over the world, even in countries that haven’t had developed gym or fitness offerings. 

The three biggest fit-tech segments are wearables and trackers at $14.7bn (£11.4bn), streaming and on-demand fitness at $6bn (£4.6bn), and apps at $2.4bn (£1.8bn). 

Asia is now the world’s biggest fit-tech market, worth $10.8bn (£8.4bn) and North America ranks second, at $8.6bn (£6.7bn).

The three national leaders are the US at $8.1bn, (£6.3bn), China at $6.6bn (£5.1bn), and India at $1.8bn (£1.4bn). Collectively, they account for over half of the physical activity tech market. 

“This new global data stream is meant to encourage business leaders and policymakers to see physical activity as a comprehensive sector, and one that’s critical in supporting lifestyles that are crucial to good health,” said Ophelia Yeung, GWI senior researcher and report co-author. 

“Yes, physical activity has become a massive $828bn (£642bn) commercial segment, but the conundrum is that sedentary lives, obesity and chronic disease are all exploding right alongside the fitness market’s explosive growth.”

Katherine Johnston, GWI senior researcher and co-author, believes the report reveals a huge opportunity for businesses to get more people active. 

“When people think ‘fitness industry’ they think gyms, boutique studios, yoga and fit-tech like wearables, but there are so many ways we can get enough exercise to stay healthy, from playing sports to dancing to biking to work,” she commented. 

The report looks at what percentage of the population of 150 nations regularly take part in sports and active recreation, fitness or mindful movement. 

Market size and the highest rates of recreational physical activity participation don’t often correlate but there is an overlap in countries that have the highest physical activity rates and those who appear on the 2019 World Happiness Report.

Australia and Taiwan lead the world with 84 per cent recreational physical activity participation rates, while Nordic countries such as Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark all rank in the top 10 for “happiest” and most physically active. 

Jumeirah Beach Hotel in Dubai has recently launched a new partnership with Embody Fitness through its lifestyle and wellness club The J Club.