Wellness market hits $5.6 trillion as 'gray areas' with healthcare grow

Global wellness drew $5.6 trillion in revenue in 2022 and is poised to generate $8.5 trillion by 2027, according to a new report from industry group Global Wellness Institute, as overlaps with healthcare expand. 

The institute accounts for 11 dimensions of wellness with the largest being personal care and beauty ($1.09 trillion); healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss ($1.08 trillion); and physical activity ($976 billion). Wellness tourism and real estate, traditional and complementary medicine, public health and personalized medicine, and mental wellness make up other subsectors.

"If the market was worth a record $4.9 trillion in 2019, and then shrank 11% to $4.4 trillion in the pandemic year of 2020, the research indicates that the wellness economy has seen recent, economy-defying momentum," the institute notes. 

North America surpassed Asia-Pacific to become the largest regional wellness economy in 2022 with $1.9 trillion in revenue. Wellness spending per capita is highest in North America, at $5,108 a year, higher than that per capita spending in Europe and significantly higher than in the rest of the world. By comparison, U.S. health expenditures — including both public and private spending on healthcare — were about $13,400 per person in 2022. 

In the United States, wellness offerings and healthcare offerings are increasingly intermingling. The Global Wellness Institute notes that the COVID-19 pandemic accelerated the integration of wellness and medicine, creating more gray areas between the two. 

"Many diagnostics and procedures that used to take place only at hospitals and medical clinics are increasingly showing up on the menus of destination spas and wellness resorts (e.g., lymphatic drainage, gut microbiome assessments, sleep analysis, blood analysis, genetic testing, musculoskeletal assessments, oxygen therapy, etc.)," the report states. "At the same time, medical centers and hospitals are beginning to incorporate wellness as part of post-surgery recovery and rehabilitation, adding offerings like yoga, meditation, exercise, nutrition, energy healing, bodywork, etc." 

Not all categories of wellness have experienced a boom since the pandemic. Some shrank throughout the global health emergency and have not recovered to their pre-pandemic levels, including workplace wellness, wellness tourism (distinct from medical tourism), and spas. 

"With consumers, the medical world, and governments now placing a much bigger value on prevention and wellness, the GWI forecasts that the wellness economy will grow at an impressive 8.6% annual pace through 2027, when the market will reach $8.5 trillion — nearly double its 2020 size."

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