The Surprising Resilience and Growth of the Global Wellness Economy

The wellness industry has proven its staying power, as evidenced by the recently published report from the Global Wellness Institute (GWI). Despite the challenges brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic, the global wellness economy is not only on the path to recovery but is also experiencing a surge. This news comes as a welcome relief and a reminder of the importance of wellness in our lives.

According to the GWI report, consumer spending on wellness is expected to continue its upward trajectory, with an estimated annual growth rate of 8.6 percent. By the end of this year, the global wellness economy is projected to reach $6.3 trillion, and by 2025, it is expected to surpass $7.4 trillion. The growth is set to continue, with a forecasted value of $8.5 trillion by 2027, nearly double its size in 2020.

The sectors that have experienced the highest growth rates since 2020 include wellness tourism, spas, physical activity, and mental wellness. Looking ahead, strong gains are expected in areas such as wellness real estate, thermal/mineral springs, wellness tourism, and mental wellness.

The GWI report, a culmination of 10 months of research, offers valuable insights into the future of the wellness market. Led by Ophelia Yeung and Katherine Johnston, senior research fellows at the Global Wellness Institute, the report outlines a holistic view of the wellness economy and its impact on individuals’ well-being.

When defining the wellness economy, Yeung and Johnston emphasize that it comprises eleven industry sectors that support people in living healthy lifestyles and moving towards holistic health. It encompasses a vast consumer marketplace, offering an array of products, services, and experiences focused on wellness and preventive health. However, they also stress that wellness does not necessarily require substantial financial investment and can be achieved through various free activities and lifestyle choices that prioritize health and well-being.

The research further highlights the significance of the wellness movement, driven by a historic consumer shift. Despite the setbacks caused by the pandemic, consumer spending on wellness has shown resilience and even intensified. The report raises important questions about the impact of this spending and whether it truly improves individuals’ health and well-being, as well as whether the wellness economy is reaching those who need it most.

The unexpected speed and strength of the wellness economy’s recovery have surprised experts. Despite the challenges posed by the pandemic, many wellness sectors have rebounded swiftly, reflecting the vitality of the industry and the increasing demand for wellness offerings.

Two sectors that have been particularly influenced by current trends are wellness tourism and mental wellness. The pandemic has prompted travelers to view their trips through a wellness lens, seeking experiences that contribute to their mental well-being. As for mental wellness, the pandemic has led to heightened awareness and interest in mental health, helping reduce the stigma surrounding these issues. Spending in this sector has grown significantly, and consumers now recognize the impact of various activities and lifestyle choices on their mental well-being. This growth extends beyond the measured industry sector, permeating other areas of the wellness economy.

The GWI report offers a comprehensive and encouraging outlook on the wellness industry, showcasing its resilience and potential for continued growth. As individuals increasingly prioritize their well-being, the wellness economy is poised to play a significant role in shaping a healthier future.


Q: What is the wellness economy?
A: The wellness economy encompasses eleven industry sectors that support individuals in leading healthy lifestyles and pursuing holistic health through various products, services, and experiences.

Q: Are wellness-related activities and expenses essential for well-being?
A: While the wellness economy offers diverse options, it’s important to note that well-being can be achieved through activities that do not necessarily require financial investment. Activities such as spending time with friends or enjoying nature can support overall health and well-being.

Q: How has the pandemic impacted wellness tourism and mental wellness?
A: The pandemic has made travelers more intentional about their trips, with many seeking experiences that contribute to their mental well-being. Additionally, the pandemic has led to increased awareness and interest in mental health, resulting in growth across various sectors within the wellness economy.