Spa and wellness now a US$3.4trillion industry

The global spa and wellness sector is now a US$3.4trilion industry, according to new figures from research firm SRI International, presented on the second day of the 2014 GSWS.  

Senior SRI analysts Katherine Johnston and Ophelia Yeung presented the data in a preview of the Global Spa & Wellness Economy Report, which will be published at the end of the month.

The report offers an update on the Global Spa Economy Report, carried out by SRI International on behalf of the GSWS and presented at the 2008 summit. The spa and wellness industry is now divided into four segments: spa industry, wellness tourism, wellness lifestyle, products and services, and thermal and mineral springs.

The wellness lifestyle, products and services segment alone is now valued at US$2.806billion, while wellness tourism is a US$494bn industry. This growth, Yeung explained, is driven by consumers assuming greater responsibility for their own health and wellbeing. Wellness tourism has grown at a rate of 13% in the past year, one per cent higher than forecast by SRI at the 2013 GSWS in Delhi, India. 

The spa segment is now a US$94bn business, US$26bn higher than in 2008, with 105,591 spas in operation around the world. Asia has the greatest number of spas, with more than 32,000 facilities across the continent.

The emerging markets in the Middle East and Africa have demonstrated the highest growth rate, with the spa sector expanding by a remarkable 186% in Africa and 134% in the Middle East and North Africa. However, the growth rate in these nascent markets are, Yeung explained, starting from “a low growth base.”

Latin America has seen a growth of 86%, while the market has expanded by 65% in Asia.  The European spa market has grown by 62% , with the sector expanding by 35% in the US.

The significant growth in emerging markets is, Yeung commented, driven by a growing middle class with an increasing disposable income. She said: “The growth of the middle class is driving the growth of the spa industry.”

Europe leads the global spa sector in terms of revenue, representing US$29.8bn of global revenue, followed by the US$18.8bn Asian spa industry.

Thermal and mineral springs are now a US$50bn global industry, with over 26,00 establishments in 103 countries.  While only a minority, 6,504 of these establishments offer spa treatments, this part of the market accounts for the majority, US$32bn of revenue. 

The majority of thermal and mineral springs businesses, 20,343 facilities, do not offer spa treatments. However, these facilities account for a smaller, US$18bn of global revenue.

The report reveals that a growing number of nations are now investing in and promoting their natural springs, as consumers increasingly look to natural products and treatments for their health and wellbeing solutions.