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Global Wellness Institute Identifies Opportunities for Growth in $3.4 Trillion Wellness Industry

Wellness industry leaders gathered in New York City to debate what the growing wellness economy means for investors, tourism, real estate, technology, and more

New York, NY – December 9, 2014 – The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) held its first roundtable discussion in the United States at the Cultural Services of the French Embassy in New York City on November 19th.

The invite-only discussion moderated by travel news journalist Peter Greenberg drew executives from leading wellness-related companies and organizations, including Atout France, Carol’s Daughter, Delos, Everyday Health, InterContinental Hotels Group, Pegasus Capital Advisors, Pravassa Wellness Travel, Reboot with Joe, Red Door Spa Holdings, Robert D. Henry Architects, Serenbe, Spafinder Wellness, Inc., SRI International, Well-Being Travel, Wellness Interactive, and WTS International.

With the global wellness industry now worth $3.4 trillion according to the 2014 Global Wellness Institute study, the roundtable focused on what the rapidly growing wellness economy means for investors, businesses, and consumers. (See chart below for estimated global market size for all wellness industry sectors including fitness and mind-body, beauty and anti-aging, wellness tourism, and wellness real estate.)

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. It is the umbrella organization for both the Global Spa & Wellness Summit, which will be held in Mexico City from November 13-15, 2015, and the Global Wellness Tourism Congress (GWTC).

According to Susie Ellis, Chairman and CEO of the Global Wellness Institute, the wide-ranging and lively discussion highlighted five key opportunities for growth in the wellness industry:

Democratization of wellness
The wellness industry overall is benefiting from the fact that wellness is no longer just a priority for one specific age, gender or economic group. Brands like Massage Envy, now a billion dollar business, have introduced millions of new consumers to the benefits of massage, opening the door for them to explore other wellness services, and expanding the customer base for all wellness companies. “Consumers are more exposed, practitioners are more exposed, and it just creates opportunity for everybody in the value chain,” said Richard Dantas, CEO of Carol’s Daughter. Paul Scialla, CEO of Delos, a company that focuses on health and wellness in design and construction, agreed: “We think health and wellness in the built environment should be a right, not a privilege.”

Millennials represent major growth opportunity 
Roundtable participants agreed that millennials worldwide represent a major new audience for wellness-related companies as they are generally more interested in wellness and are spending money differently than baby boomers. “We have whole generations of people who have grown up in societies where they can’t necessarily afford the mortgage or the car payment,” said Katherine Johnston, Senior Economist at SRI International. In light of that, millennials are spending more on less expensive luxuries like fitness, spa, and travel.

Workplace Wellness: Focus on your employees’ wellbeing not your ROI
The idea of workplace wellness goes back to the idea of relationships, in this case, the relationship between the employer and employee. Employers need to work harder to create programs that fully engage their employees, rather than focusing only on the reduction of future healthcare costs. “What we’re looking for is complete engagement,” said Todd Walter, CEO of Red Door Spa Holdings. “And the way that we think we get that engagement is by truly caring about our people and demonstrating that we authentically and genuinely care about their wellbeing. When we stopped measuring the potential ROI and focused solely on our employee’s well-being, the program became hugely popular.”

More points of entry for consumers
The rise of both spas at airports and wellness rooms at hotels is providing more points of entry for brands to connect with consumers and give them an opportunity to experience the benefits of wellness services. “You see points of entry that would not have been there before because people are spending their time, either willingly or unwillingly, and there’s an opportunity to use wellness as a revenue generator,” said Greenberg.

Build trust with authenticity and hope
In order for wellness-related companies to expand their reach, participants concurred that the industry must do a better of job of alleviating misconceptions and fears by building trust–putting a human face on wellness and using inspiring language and evidence, not jargon, to support the benefits of wellness. At the end of the day it comes down to hope,” Joe Cross, said founder of Reboot with Joe. “My audiences do not want to hear me roll off data points about what smoking does to you…they want to hear that they have a chance to make a change and that they can do something about it.” Clare Martorana of Everyday Health agreed that “finding that authentic voice of hope should come from real people, rather than coming from a corporate entity.”

Leaders participating in the roundtable discussion were:

Joe Cross, Founder – Reboot with Joe
Richard Dantas, CEO – Carol’s Daughter
Peter Ellis, Chairman – Spafinder Wellness Inc. 
Susie Ellis, Chairman & CEO – Global Wellness Institute
Tiana Gamaz, Marketing & Promotions Manager, Atout France
Adam Glickman, Head of EVEN Hotels – IHG—InterContinental Hotels Group
Bob Henry, Principal, Robert D. Henry Architects
Katherine Johnston, Senior Economist – SRI International
Nazlie Latefi, Chief Scientific Officer, Pegasus Capital Advisors
Clare Martorana, EVP and General Manager – Consumer Health and Wellness Everyday Health
Kimberly Matheson Shedrick, Senior Vice President – WTS International
Anne Marie Moebes, Executive Vice President – Well-Being Travel
Marie Nygren, Co-Founder – Serenbe
Linden Schaffer, Founder – Pravassa Wellness Travel          
Paul Scialla, Founder – Delos
Todd Walter, President & CEO – Red Door Spa Holdings  
Desiree Watson, President & CEO – Wellness Interactive, Inc.

The Cultural Services of the French Embassy donated its meeting room for the discussion, while lunch was provided by EXKi , a fair-trade certified, upscale, “quick-casual” restaurant that uses locally sourced, organic ingredients.

Global Wellness Industry Grows 74% Over Last Four Years: from $1.9 Trillion to $3.4 Trillion

Wellness Sectors, 2013     Estimated Global Market Size*
Beauty and anti-aging    $1,025 billion
Healthy eating, nutrition, and weight loss       $574 billion
llness Tourism
    $494 billion
Fitness and mind-body    $446 billion
Preventive and personalized health    $432 billion
Complementary and alternative medicine     $186 billion
Wellness lifestyle real estate    $100 billion
Spa Industry    $94 billion
Thermal/Mineral Springs    $50 billion
Workplace wellness    $40 billion

*Estimates by SRI International, drawing upon additional data from Nutrition Business Journal, IHRSA, Markets and Markets, Global Industry Analysts, IBISWorld, Cushman & Wakefield, Kaiser Family Foundation, PWC, WHO, and others.

About the Global Wellness 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.