New Global Wellness Institute research has revealed that the worldwide wellness market is growing at an all-time high historic rate, almost twice as fast as the global economy. The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) 2019 report found a 12.8% wellness growth rate from 2014 to 2017 while researching extensive regional and national data across multiple wellness sectors. 

Read our 2019 ClassPass Trend Report for more info about what’s happening with wellness and what to expect for next year.

According to the GWI study, the fastest growing and highest revenue sectors of the expansive wellness industry include the following:

  • Personal Care, Beauty, & Anti-Aging: $1.1T
  • Physical Activity: $828B
  • Healthy Eating, Nutrition, & Weight Loss: $702B
  • Wellness Tourism: $639B
  • Preventive & Personalized Medicine and Public Health: $575B
  • Wellness Real estate $134B
  • Workplace Wellness $48B

Rising technology is also impacting the wellness world expansion tremendously. Technology has already elevated to fitness space, and is now allowing us to start taking control of our own health in our own homes on our own timelines. You can wear trackable devices to monitor your nutrition, sleep and physical activity. Women can wear bracelets to track their own hormone levels and you can access your own digital personal trainer or spin instructor at home with spin bikes or interactive mirrors. Even cosmetic companies are utilizing science technology to create anti-pollution serums and at-home IV drips. Let’s take a closer look at a handful of sectors where wellness is booming.

Personal care, beauty and anti-aging abound

The beauty and skincare wellness sector has a 4.1% average growth rate over the past few years. We live in a world of easy-to-access at-home beauty products, beautifying cosmetics, collagen supplements and thousands of skincare remedies with big promises. People are afraid to grow and look older and “skinfluencers” are quickly taking over social media. More and more skincare brands are developing skin serums and creams using the newest developments such as anti-pollution serums and plant-based skincare called “retin-alts.”The at-home IV drip market is predicted to reach $13.79B alone by 2024. 

Larissa Jensen, a beauty industry analyst at the NPD Group says, “The skin-care market is becoming increasingly fragmented and crowded. “In the prestige channel, skin-care brands outside of the top 20 now own the largest share of market sales. On average, the last two years have seen over 100 new brands debuting in department and specialty stores.” There is no doubt that this market will continue growing as more consumers are now turning to CBD moisturizers and $300 organic skin serums to feel and look their best. 

Physical activity is the driving force behind the massive wellness growth

In the GWI study, they created a master wellness category called “Physical activity” which includes not only fitness but all the sectors that accompany physical movement for wellness. The “physical activity economy” is the driving force behind the overall wellness industry’s growth. In all, this sector of the wellness industry accounts for consumer spending on sports and recreation ($230B), fitness ($109B), mindful movement ($29B), equipment and supplies ($109B), apparel and footwear ($333B), and technology ($26B). By 2023, the physical activity sector is expected to exceed $1.1T in value.

Healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss are national priorities

Eating well, nutritional awareness and weight loss are leading motivations in the wellness market. There are new trends and diets appearing every year, such as gluten-free, plant-based, organic, the Keto diet and even the Flexitarian diet. There are also developing technologies that enable consumers to lose weight through virtual coaches, smartphone applications like MyFitnessPal, and through websites and communities like Weight Watchers. Researcher David Bosshart, a keynote speaker at the 2018 Global Wellness Summit (GWS) has a specific take on this movement, “We are confused about what we eat, where we eat, and when to eat it. We define ourselves by what we’re eating, but, even more so, by what we don’t eat. Food may have moved to the center of our lives, but we are overwhelmed by our choices.” The choices will just keep getting greater and greater. 

Wellness tourism is taking off

Wellness tourism is defined as traveling for the purpose of health and well-being through physical, psychological or spiritual activities. People are flying all around the world to participate in yoga, fitness, and meditation retreats. 

The GWI study says, “World travelers made 830 million wellness trips in 2017, 139 million more than in 2015 — and these trips now represent 17% of total tourism expenditures. Wellness tourism growth is very much a tale of developing markets, with Asia-Pacific, Latin America-Caribbean, Middle East-North Africa and Sub-Saharan Africa all clocking robust gains, and accounting for 57% of the increase in wellness trips since 2015.”

Asia is the leading wellness tourism destination and China and India are the fastest-growing wellness tourism markets as of 2019.

Wellness real estate developments build momentum

Wellness lifestyle real estate is defined as homes that are proactively designed and built to support the holistic health of their residents. A “wellness community” is a group of people living in close proximity who share common goals, interests and experiences in pursuing wellness across its many dimensions. The Global Wellness Institute believes, “that residential real estate is the next frontier that will be radically transformed by the wellness movement. Our homes, communities and surrounding environment directly affect our daily behaviors and lifestyles, and together these determine up to 80-90% of our health outcomes. Since our homes are typically our most important personal investment and expenditure, it is only logical that they should also be an investment in our health and well-being”. 

Workplace wellness is a growing priority to keep employees healthy and happy

Workplace wellness initiatives incorporate physical activity into employee workdays, where employers are now giving their employees fitness passes, discounted gym memberships or even building gyms onsite at their offices. Office perks have also expanded from free coffee and solid health benefits to ergonomic stand-up desks, organic snacks and eco-friendly practices. Companies like Google even use Biophilic Design which is the practice of connecting people and nature within built environments and communities. These workplace wellness practices are known to improve focus and mood, and physical well-being. Currently, Europe is the fastest growing spender on workplace wellness.

The wellness industry is only going to keep growing larger year over year. Katherine Johnston, a senior researcher from GWI states, “Once upon a time, our contact with wellness was occasional: we went to the gym or got a massage. But this is changing fast: a wellness mindset is starting to permeate the global consumer consciousness, affecting people’s daily decision-making – whether food purchases, a focus on mental wellness and reducing stress, incorporating movement into daily life, environmental consciousness, or their yearning for connection and happiness. Wellness, for more people, is evolving from rarely to daily, from episodic to essential, from a luxury to a dominant lifestyle value. And that profound shift is driving powerful growth.”

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