How Will the War in Ukraine Further Change the Wellness Industry?

It will accelerate the pivot to social, financial and mental wellness 

By Thierry Malleret, economist

The consequences of the war in Europe are so far-reaching that they will further prompt a global rethink of what wellness is all about. In the coming years, wellness will pivot increasingly towards (1) societal and social wellness, (2) financial wellness and (3) mental health. In so doing, it will relate less to the segments of the industry that convey an image of self-centered obsessiveness: out of touch, if not tasteless, when “what is at stake in Ukraine is the direction of human history” (in the words of the historian Yuval Noah Harari).  

 The coming wellness pivots:  

(1) Our social life is a network phenomenon in which both optimism and pessimism are reinforced. For years to come, pessimism may prevail because of the return of great-power rivalry and growing polarization at home. We must therefore re-learn to live together in a harmonious fashion—a precondition for wellbeing. What sort of initiatives and programming could the wellness industry create to encourage pro-sociality?  

(2) Rising or elevated inflation will endure, impacting hard the living standards of many people around the world (such as in the United Kingdom, one of the world’s richest countries, where real incomes will fall by 4% in the coming financial year). This will distance rising numbers of people worldwide from the possibility of accessing wellness and from consuming the goods and services that the industry offers.  

(3) The war in Europe is generating fear and anxiety all over the world, making mental health an ever more prominent issue. As a result, the mental health/wellness app market will continue to rise relentlessly. By the end of this year, it is likely to reach $500 million, growing between 20% and 35%, and corresponding to just less than one-third of the global market for all health and wellness apps—a proportion that will only grow. 


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