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Global Wellness Institute Study: $3.4 Trillion Global Wellness Market is Now Three Times Larger than Worldwide Pharmaceutical Industry

Following annual summit, industry leaders unveil milestone study, new clearinghouse for evidence-based research on wellness therapies, and 2015 launch of wellness industry think tank

New York, NY – September 30, 2014 With consumer demand for wellness services and products higher than ever, a landmark study released today by The Global Wellness Institute reveals that the global wellness market is now worth $3.4 trillion, making it nearly three times larger than the $1 trillion* worldwide pharmaceutical industry.

The study, The 2014 Global Wellness Economy Monitor, was unveiled today in the wake of the 8th Annual Global Spa & Wellness Summit, which drew more than 400 industry leaders from 45 nations to Marrakech, Morocco in mid-September to chart the future of the global wellness industry.

Conducted by the independent, non-profit research firm SRI International, the study confirms wellness as one of the world’s largest and fastest-growing industries. To assess the size of the industry, SRI identified and evaluated ten major wellness sectors: alternative and complementary medicine; beauty and anti-aging; fitness and mind-body; healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss; preventative and personalized health; spa; thermal and mineral springs; wellness real estate; wellness tourism; and workplace wellness.

Wellness sectors seeing the most significant growth since 2010 are:

  • Healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss (108 percent increase to $276.5 billion)
  • Preventative and personalized health (78 percent increase to $243 billion)
  • Complementary and alternative medicine (65 percent increase to $113 billion)
  • Beauty and anti-aging (51 percent increase to $679 billion)

Other highlights of the study include:

  • The spa industry grew 58 percent from $60 billion in 2007 to $94 billion in 2013, with 47 percent increase in spa locations from 71,762 to 105,591
  • Wellness tourism expanded to $494 billion in revenues, rising 12.5 percent from 2012, significantly outpacing SRI’s original growth forecast of 9 percent
  • The first-ever assessment of the thermal and mineral springs sector, which accounts for $50 billion in revenues and spans 26,847 properties worldwide

According to Susie Ellis, Chairman and CEO of the Global Wellness Institute, the research reflects a seismic shift in both personal behavior and government policy worldwide.

“We are at a pivotal movement where people worldwide are taking steps to change the way they live, work, and play, while at the same time governments are finally recognizing the value of investing in prevention to lower healthcare costs,” said Ellis. “The study confirms that the wellness industry can play a critical role in leading efforts in ensuring that people worldwide have access to the best services, products, and information that promote health and well-being.”

“The double-digit annual growth across all wellness sectors is a direct result of prevention-challenged traditional healthcare systems and an obesity and chronic disease crisis that simply cost people and governments too much,” said Ophelia Yeung, senior consultant, Center for Science, Technology & Economic Development, SRI International.

In conjunction with the debut of the research, Ellis announced the 2015 launch of the Global Wellness Institute, a new think tank that will be dedicated to developing research, education, resources, and initiatives that promote innovation and sustainable growth in the global wellness industry. It will serve as an umbrella organization that oversees the Global Spa & Wellness Summit and the Global Wellness Tourism Congress, which brings together tourism ministers and wellness tourism experts at an annual conference and at regional roundtables to shape strategies for advancing the fast-growing travel category. The 9th Annual Global Spa & Wellness Summit will take place alongside the 3rd Annual Global Wellness Tourism Congress in Mexico City in 2015.

As a preview of the work that the Global Wellness Institute will develop and implement, Ellis unveiled, the world’s first comprehensive clearinghouse of evidence-based research on wellness approaches. Created for industry professionals and consumers, the portal provides in-depth overviews of scientific research on the full range of wellness therapies – from acupuncture, massage, and meditation to nutrition counseling, sauna, and yoga. As part of the launch, the Global Wellness Institute announced a partnership with Scientific American, which will bring the publication’s trusted coverage of science, technology information, and policy to both and other Global Wellness Institute initiatives.

“We are excited to develop a custom content partnership with Global Wellness Institute to help elucidate the science behind many areas of wellness for a growing global audience”, notes Jeremy Abbate, Vice President, Global Media Alliances for Scientific American. “Topics such as meditation, nutrition, acupuncture, yoga and others have, in recent years, been studied in a very rigorous way and with the highest levels of academic scrutiny. We are in an era where wellness is becoming a much more serious and important enterprise than ever before.”

The Global Wellness Economy Monitor was underwritten with support from the following industry leaders: Spafinder Wellness 365, Delos LLC, Massage Envy, Natura Bissé, MINDBODY, Biologique Recherche, Bon Vital, ESPA, Jhana, Noel Asmar, The Body Holiday and WTS International.

*IMS Institute for Healthcare Informatics estimate for 2014

To learn more about the Global Wellness Institute (GWI), visit:

About the Institute: The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) is an international think-tank that brings together leaders and visionaries from private and public sectors to positively impact and shape the future of the wellness industry. The GWI is the umbrella organization that runs both the Global Spa & Wellness Summit (GSWS) and the Global Wellness Tourism Congress (GWTC). The GWI is considered the leading global research and educational resource for the $3.4 trillion spa and wellness industry., the world’s first online portal to the medical evidence for common wellness approaches, is also a GWI initiative.

To learn more about The Global Wellness Summit (GWS), visit:

About the GWS: The Global Wellness Summit (GWS) is an international organization representing senior executives and leaders joined by a common interest in driving economic development and understanding of the spa and wellness industries. Delegates from diverse sectors, including hospitality, tourism, health and wellness, beauty, finance, medical, real estate, manufacturing and technology attend the organization’s annual Summit, which is held in a different host country each year and attracts attendees from over 45 countries. The GWS is considered the leading global research and educational resource for the $3.4 trillion spa and we
llness industry. It’s known for introducing major industry initiatives such as the Global Wellness Tourism Congress, whose global forums bring public and private stakeholders together to chart the course of the fast-growing wellness travel sector, and, the world’s first online portal to the medical evidence for common wellness approaches.