Global wellness economy soars 12.8% to $4.2 trillion, according to GWI data

The global wellness economy is booming, growing 12.8% in the past two years to reach a market value of $4.2 trillion, according to the Global Wellness Institute’s (GWI) 2018 Global Wellness Economy Monitor Report. 

The wellness industry grew 6.4% annually from 2015–2017, which is nearly twice as fast as the global economic growth during this time (3.6%), the report found, and the top revenue growth leaders from this time period (per annum) were: spa industry (9.8%), wellness tourism (6.5%), and wellness real estate (6.4%). 

With wellness expenditures at $4.2 trillion, the sector is now more than half as large as the total global health expenditures ($7.3 trillion) and has put the wellness industry on the map as a big player, representing 5.3% of all global economic output. 

The 10 sectors that make up the global wellness ecosystem are:

“All 10 wellness sectors are dynamic and interconnected, intrinsically linked to the wellness economy as a whole. In the face of longer lifespans, rising chronic disease, stress, and unhappiness, we are re-examining our lives and refocusing our attention on what makes us well – particularly the places and manner in which we live, work, and travel,” the report states. 

“The wellness economy mirrors those shifting priorities, alongside a growing recognition of the critical impact of external environments on our health and wellbeing.”

Why the focus is on wellness real estate 

Wellness real estate, in particular, is a fast-growing segment, with more than 740 wellness lifestyle real estate and community developments built, partially built or in development across 34 countries as of November 2017, the report found. 

This includes master-planned communities, multi-family housing, urban districts and missed-use projects, resort- and spa-based real estate.

Wellness real estate GWI 

Why workplace wellness matters

Less than 10% of the global workforce benefits from workplace wellness initiatives, only those who work for the world wealthiest economies or work for large multinationals, the report found. 

In North America, 54% of employed workers in this region had access to workplace wellness programmes and services last year, while only 5% did in South America. In Europe, a quarter (25%) of employees enjoyed these benefits, while only 8% in the Middle East–North Africa region did, 5% Asia-Pacific and 1% in sub-Saharan Africa. 

Employer expenditures on workplace wellness programmes and services by region in 2017:

Employer expenditure GWI 

The importance of wellness tourism

At $639 billion, wellness tourism is now a significant and fast-growing segment of global tourism, expanding from $563.2bn in 2015. Travellers made 830 million wellness trips in 2017, which is 139 million more than two years ago (2015), the data found.

“While some expenditures are made on wellness-focused activities (such as visiting a hot spring, getting a massage, or taking a meditation or fitness class), others are “generic” travel expenditures (such as transportation, food and lodging, shopping, etc.),” the report says. 

“As more consumers incorporate wellness into their lifestyles, there are many opportunities for all businesses to infuse wellness into their offerings and capture spending by wellness travellers.” 

Wellness tourism

The GWI defines wellness as the active pursuit of activities, choices and lifestyles that lead to a state of holistic health. This report was released today at the 12thannual Global Wellness Summit, which is being held at Technogym Village in Cesena, Italy. 

 You can download the full report here