Wellness Industry Statistics & Facts

The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) is recognized as the leading source for authoritative wellness industry research. Since 2007, the GWI has commissioned and published numerous research reports on the global wellness economy, including our flagship publication, the Global Wellness Economy Monitor. All reports are available free to the public. Data highlights from recent studies are below. To download all GWI research, including special reports for certain industry sectors and geographic areas, visit Wellness Industry Research.

Global Wellness Economy

GWI is the first and only organization to conduct comprehensive, objective, and global research on the wellness industry. We first defined and measured the wellness economy and its component sectors in 2014, and these figures are updated and released every 2-3 years in the Global Wellness Economy Monitor. Our most recent report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID (released in December 2021), provides data for 2020.

Global Wellness Economy

  • The global wellness economy was valued at $4.9 trillion in 2019 and then fell to $4.4 trillion in 2020, due to the widespread impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • As we emerge from the pandemic, GWI predicts that the wellness economy will return to its robust growth. We project 9.9% average annual growth, with the wellness economy reaching nearly $7.0 trillion in 2025.
  • The wellness economy represented 5.1% of global economic output in 2020.

The wellness economy includes eleven sectors:

  • Personal Care & Beauty ($955 billion)
  • Healthy Eating, Nutrition, & Weight Loss ($946 billion)
  • Physical Activity ($738 billion)
  • Wellness Tourism ($436 billion)
  • Traditional & Complementary Medicine ($413 billion)
  • Public Health, Prevention, & Personalized Medicine ($375 billion)
  • Wellness Real Estate ($275 billion)
  • Mental Wellness ($131 billion)
  • Spas ($68 billion)
  • Workplace Wellness ($49 billion)
  • Thermal/Mineral Springs ($39 billion)

Wellness Real Estate

GWI’s 2018 report, Build Well to Live Well, was the first research to size and analyze the global and regional market for wellness lifestyle real estate and communities. The study captures the central role that the built environment plays in driving our health and well-being, and it serves as an extensive resource guide for those seeking more information on how and why to build for wellness. Updated data and analysis for this sector are available in GWI’s 2021 report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID.

  • Wellness real estate was a $225 billion market in 2019, and it saw explosive growth during the pandemic, reaching $275 billion in 2020.
  • The pandemic has created a major shift in the construction and real estate industry toward wellness, and in 2020, wellness real estate continued to grow by over 22%, even as overall construction output shrank by 2.5%.
  • Wellness real estate was the fastest-growing sector in the wellness economy in 2020.
  • Wellness real estate represented about 2.4% of global annual construction output in 2020.
  • GWI conservatively estimates that there are over 2,300 wellness residential projects around the world (either built, partially built, or in development).
  • GWI estimates that the sales price premiums for wellness residential developments average 10-25% over conventional residential developments.

Physical Activity

In 2018, GWI released Move to be Well: The Global Economy of Physical Activity. This report defined and measured six sub-sectors that comprise the vast economy of physical activity: fitness, sports & active recreation, mindful movement, equipment/supplies, apparel/footwear, and technology. Updated data and analysis for this sector are available in GWI’s 2021 report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID.

  • The physical activity economy reached $874 billion in 2019 and then fell to $738 billion in 2020 (due to the pandemic). GWI projects that this sector will recover and grow to $1.2 trillion in 2025.
  • Asia-Pacific is the largest regional market for physical activity, at $247 billion in 2020.
  • Among the three categories of recreational physical activities:
  • Sports & active recreation is the largest ($200 billion in 2020).
  • Mindful movement was growing the fastest prior to 2020 (+14.7% from 2018-2019) and shrank the least during the pandemic (-11.2% from 2019-2020), as millions turned to yoga for at-home exercise and stress reduction.
  • Among the three supporting sectors:
  • Sports apparel & footwear is the largest ($293 billion in 2020).
  • Fitness technology exploded in 2020 (+29.1% growth), as millions of consumers switched their exercise-related spending to workouts via digital platforms.

Mental Wellness

GWI’s 2020 report, Defining the Mental Wellness Economy, was the first study to define and measure mental wellness as a global industry and to identify and benchmark its key sub-segments. Updated data and analysis for this sector are available in GWI’s 2021 report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID.

  • Mental wellness was first measured as a $122 billion global market in 2019. It grew by 7.2% during the pandemic, reaching $131 billion in 2020.
  • The United States is the largest market ($66.6 billion in 2020), followed by China, Japan, Canada, and Germany.
  • The mental wellness market encompasses four sub-sectors:
    • Senses, spaces, & sleep ($57.3 billion in 2020)
    • Brain-boosting nutraceuticals & botanicals ($39.0 billion)
    • Self-improvement ($31.4 billion)
    • Meditation & mindfulness ($3.5 billion)

Workplace Wellness

In 2016, GWI released The Future of Wellness at Work. The study provided a broad examination of the current state of wellness in the global workforce, and it presented a new vision for wellness at work, with actions that will help improve workforce health and unleash human potential. The most recent data and analysis for this sector are available in GWI’s 2021 report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID.

  • Workplace wellness was a $52 billion market in 2019, and it shrank to $49 billion in 2020. Several short-term and long-term structural shifts, in addition to COVID-19, account for the decline in workplace wellness spending in 2020.
  • GWI estimates that only 10% of the world’s workers have access to workplace wellness programs and services, mostly concentrated in North America and Europe.
  • GWI estimates that workforce unwellness (chronic disease, work-related injuries and illnesses, work-related stress, and employee disengagement) may cost the global economy 10-15% of economic output every year.

Wellness Tourism

GWI first defined and measured wellness tourism in 2013, bringing attention to the rise of wellness tourism worldwide and defining it as “travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal well-being.” Our updated 2018 Global Wellness Tourism Economy report provided extensive data and analysis that captured the explosive growth of wellness tourism and its transformation of nearly every aspect of travel. The most recent data and analysis for this sector are available in GWI’s 2021 report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID.

  • Wellness tourism was a $720 billion market in 2019 and then fell to $436 billion in 2020, due to the widespread travel disruptions during the pandemic.
  • GWI projects that wellness tourism will grow rapidly in the coming years as the world emerges from the pandemic (+20.9% annual growth), with the market reaching $1.1 trillion in 2025.
  • World travelers made over 600 million international and domestic wellness trips in 2020, down from 936 million trips in 2019.
  • International wellness tourists on average spent $1,601 per trip in 2020, 35% more than the typical international tourist. Domestic wellness tourists spent $619 per trip, 177% more than the average domestic tourist.
  • Secondary wellness travelers accounted for 92% of wellness trips and 90% of wellness tourism expenditures in 2020. Secondary wellness tourism involves trips where wellness is not the primary motivation for the trip, but where wellness affects some choices and activities because the traveler would like to maintain good health and/or their wellness lifestyle during the trip.

Spa Industry

GWI has measured the spa industry at the global, regional, and country levels since 2007. The most recent data and analysis for this sector are available in GWI’s 2021 report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID.

 

  • In 2020, there were over 160,000 spas, earning $68 billion in revenues.
  • Prior to 2020, spa revenues were growing by 8.7% annually. Spas were hit hard by the COVID-19 pandemic, and the sector shrank by 38.6% from 2019-2020.
  • GWI projects that spa revenues will recover quickly to pre-pandemic levels and will reach $151 billion in 2025.
  • The top five markets in 2020 were: United States ($15.1 billion), China ($6.3 billion), Germany ($5.7 billion), Japan ($4.2 billion) and France ($2.7 billion).
  • The largest categories of spas are hotel/resort spas ($27.8 billion in 2020) and day/club/salon spas ($23.7 billion).

Thermal/Mineral Springs

GWI has measured the thermal/mineral springs industry at the global, regional, and country levels since 2013. The most recent data and analysis for this sector are available in GWI’s 2021 report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID.

 

  • There are an estimated 34,099 thermal/mineral springs establishments operating in 130 countries.
  • Thermal/mineral springs businesses earned $64 billion in revenues in 2019 and then fell to $39 billion in 2020, due to the pandemic.
  • GWI projects that thermal/mineral springs revenues will recover quickly to pre-pandemic levels and will reach $90 billion in 2025.
  • GWI estimates that at least 115 new thermal/mineral springs establishments opened from 2018-2020, across every region of the world. At least 25 new projects opened in 2021, and over 140 projects are in the pipeline for future openings/development.
  • The thermal/mineral springs industry is heavily concentrated in Asia-Pacific and Europe, which together accounted for 96% of industry revenues and 94% of establishments in 2020.
  • Top markets include China ($12.3 billion in 2020), Japan ($9.2 billion) and Germany ($5.2 billion).

Healthy Eating, Nutrition, & Weight Loss

The most recent data and analysis for this sector are available in GWI’s 2021 report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID.

 

  • The healthy eating, nutrition, & weight loss sector grew from $912 billion in 2019 to $946 billion in 2020. It is one of the only wellness sectors that maintained a positive growth trajectory during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • GWI cautions that the growth in this sector in 2020 should not be interpreted as “consumers were eating healthier during the pandemic” – and, in fact, the opposite may be the case. This sector captures spending on certain categories of foods, beverages, and supplements that are labeled and marketed as healthy, but that is not necessarily an indicator of healthy diets.
  • The largest sub-sector is healthy-labeled foods & beverages ($680 billion in 2020), followed by vitamins & supplements ($137 billion) and weight loss products & services ($128 billion).

Traditional & Complementary Medicine

The most recent data and analysis for this sector are available in GWI’s 2021 report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID.

 

  • Traditional & complementary medicine (T&CM) was a $432 billion market in 2019 and then fell to $413 billion in 2020, due to pandemic business shutdowns and supply chain disruptions that affected retail sales, product manufacturing, and provider visits.
  • T&CM services/practitioners represent 54% of the market ($222 billion in 2020), while T&CM medicines/products represent 46% ($191 billion).
  • Asia-Pacific is by far the largest regional market for T&CM ($295 billion in 2020).

Public Health, Prevention, & Personalized Medicine

The most recent data and analysis for this sector are available in GWI’s 2021 report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID.

 

  • Public health, prevention, & personalized medicine generated $375 billion in spending globally in 2020.
  • Spending in this sector grew by 4.5% in 2020, due to many governments and healthcare systems ramping up their public health/prevention expenditures during the pandemic.
  • This sector includes two sub-sectors: public health & prevention ($344 billion in 2020) and personalized medicine ($31 billion).
  • North America is the largest regional market ($132 billion in 2020).

Personal Care & Beauty

The most recent data and analysis for this sector are available in GWI’s 2021 report, The Global Wellness Economy: Looking Beyond COVID.

 

  • Consumer spending on personal care & beauty fell from $1,097 billion in 2019 to $955 billion in 2020.
  • This sector was adversely affected by COVID-19 with the shutdown of service and retail outlets; supply chain disruptions; reduced demand for cosmetics/grooming products in an era of working from home and social distancing; and overall global economic decline.
  • The three largest regions for personal care & beauty expenditures are all similar in size: Asia-Pacific ($276 billion in 2020), Europe ($274 billion), and North America ($263 billion). On a per capita basis, expenditures are highest in North America.