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Global Wellness Institute: United States remains the “goliath” in wellness spending

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The five largest wellness markets are the United States ($1.8 trillion), China ($790 billion), Germany ($269 billion), Japan ($241 billion), and the United Kingdom ($224 billion).

MIAMI, FL –  A new report released by the non-profit Global Wellness Institute (GWI) is the only research to answer key questions about the wellness industry. How big is the total wellness market for each country? Which countries’ markets are growing fastest post-pandemic? How much do people spend per capita each year on wellness in each nation? What is the wellness market’s contribution to each country’s overall economy/GDP?

The Global Wellness Economy: Country Rankings is packed with data. It finds that the US remains the undisputed goliath in wellness spending, with an annual market worth $1.8 trillion, and ranking first in 9 of the 11 wellness sectors. Almost all the top-25 wellness markets have seen strong growth since the pandemic, with the UK, the Netherlands, the US, Mexico, Canada and Australia as standouts, surpassing their pre-pandemic market sizes by 120% or more. Globally, the wellness economy drives 5.6% of total GDP – so, roughly 1 in every 20 “dollars” spent by consumers worldwide is on wellness.

To put all this wellness spending in context, the research finds that annual, global per capita spending on wellness ($706) is on par with consumer out-of-pocket spending on healthcare ($711). At the regional level, per capita wellness spending is higher than consumer out-of-pocket spending on healthcare across every region except North America. And wellness spending per capita is higher than spending on clothing/shoes ($289) and hotels/restaurants ($475) all across the world (Euromonitor data). In countries like Switzerland, Iceland and the US, people spend far more: on average, over $5,300 a year on wellness.

“For countries interested in growing their wellness economy, it’s crucial to know where they stand in this massive global industry,” said Ophelia Yeung and Katherine Johnston, GWI’s senior research fellows. “It’s also important to see how different countries’ wellness markets have responded to the impacts of the pandemic.”

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Key Findings

The United States remains the undisputed goliath in wellness spending, with an annual market worth $1.8 trillion, and ranking first in 9 of the 11 wellness sectors. Almost all the top 25 wellness markets have seen strong growth since the pandemic, with the United Kingdom, the Netherlands, the United States, Mexico, Canada, and Australia as standouts, surpassing their pre-pandemic market sizes by 120% or more. Globally, the wellness economy drives 5.6% of total GDP – so, roughly 1 in every 20 dollars spent by consumers worldwide is on wellness.

To put all this wellness spending in context, GWI research finds that annual, global per capita spending on wellness ($706) is on par with consumer out-of-pocket spending on healthcare ($711). At the regional level, per capita wellness spending is higher than consumer out-of-pocket spending on healthcare across every region except North America. And, wellness spending per capita is higher than spending on clothing/shoes ($289) and hotels/restaurants ($475) all across the world. In countries like Switzerland, Iceland, and the United States, people spend far more: on average, over $5,300 a year on wellness.

The five largest wellness markets are the United States ($1.8 trillion), China ($790 billion), Germany ($269 billion), Japan ($241 billion), and the United Kingdom ($224 billion). The top ten largest markets represent 70% of the global wellness economy; the top 25 represent 86%. The vast majority of the 25 largest wellness markets have seen robust recent growth. Comparing market sizes in 2019 versus 2022, 22 of 25 countries (except Thailand, Japan, Brazil) are now larger than they were pre-pandemic, as measured in U.S. dollars.

Top 25 National Wellness Markets 

Numbers refer to market size and annual growth rate 2020-2022:

  • United States       $1.8 trillion—14%
  • China                   $790 billion—8.9%
  • Germany              $269 billion—16.8%
  • Japan                   $241 billion—minus 3.9%
  • UK                       $224 billion—19.4%
  • France                 $172 billion—11.6%
  • India                    $132.5 billion—16.5%
  • Canada               $128 billion—13.5%
  • Korea                  $113 billion—9.4%
  • Italy                     $112 billion—7.9%
  • Australia              $110 billion—12.9%
  • Brazil                  $96 billion—18.2%
  • Russia                $94.5 billion—13.2%
  • Spain                  $83 billion—12.4%
  • Mexico                $74 billion—25.2%
  • Netherlands        $50 billion—12.1%
  • Switzerland         $50 billion—14.5%
  • Indonesia            $49 billion—5.9%
  • Turkey                $45 billion—14%
  • Taiwan                $43 billion—5.1%
  • Austria                $42 billion—13.9%
  • Philippines          $41 billion—8.9%
  • Poland                $39 billion—11.1%
  • Thailand             $35 billion—8.5%
  • Sweden              $30 billion—7.5%

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The five largest wellness markets are the US ($1.8 trillion), China ($790 billion), Germany ($269 billion), Japan ($241 billion) and the UK ($224 billion). The top ten largest markets represent 70% of the global wellness economy; the top 25 represent 86%. The vast majority of the 25 largest wellness markets have seen robust recent growth. Comparing market sizes in 2019 vs. 2022, 22 of 25 countries (except Thailand, Japan, Brazil) are now larger than they were pre-pandemic, as measured in US dollars. But it’s important to note that currency depreciation impacts data for countries like Japan, Brazil, and some eurozone countries like Germany, France and Italy. For instance, the Japanese yen fell by 19.8% against the US dollar in 2022, so if it looks like its wellness market shrank by 3.9% annually from 2020 to 2022 in dollars, it actually grew 6.6% each year when measured in yen. And with the euro depreciating by 12.3% against the dollar in 2022, if GWI’s data shows that Germany’s wellness economy grew by 16.8% from 2020 to 2022, it grew by 21.7% when measured in euros.

Wellness Spending Per Capita: Top 12 Countries 
  • Seychelles         $8,097
  • Switzerland        $5,737
  • Iceland               $5,523
  • Aruba                 $5,361
  • United States     $5,321
  • Austria               $4,683
  • Australia            $4,218
  • Norway              $4,197
  • Denmark            $3,846
  • New Zealand     $3,689
  • UK                     $3,342
  • Canada              $3,287

Spending on wellness is (no surprise) highest in wealthy countries that also rank in the top 25 for GDP per capita, including Switzerland, Iceland, the US, Austria and Australia. And those countries have seen significant recent growth in wellness spending (per capita): in the US that spend has risen $1,636 – and in Switzerland $1,365 – from 2020 to 2022.

While it may be surprising to see small countries like the Seychelles and Aruba so high on this list (the Maldives and the Bahamas also rank in the top-25), it’s because these islands are major high-end wellness tourism destinations, with a huge portion (50-90%) of their wellness spending coming from inbound wellness tourists rather than locals. The impact of the wellness market (heavily dominated by inbound wellness tourism) on these countries’ economies is staggering: in the Seychelles the wellness market accounts for 42% of the total economy, while in the Maldives that number is 22.6%.

The ratio of how much the wellness economy contributes to GDP is highest in North America (6.9%) and Europe (5.8%) – and lowest in the Middle East-North Africa region, at 3.3%. North America and Europe’s wellness markets have been growing faster than the overall economy. Among the top-25 wellness markets, some of the countries where wellness makes up a bigger percentage of GDP are the Philippines (10.1%), Austria (9%), the UK (7.3%), the US (7%) and South Korea (6.8%).

Co-Founder & Chief Editor - TravelDailyNews Media Network | Website | + Posts

Vicky is the co-founder of TravelDailyNews Media Network where she is the Editor-in Chief. She is also responsible for the daily operation and the financial policy. She holds a Bachelor's degree in Tourism Business Administration from the Technical University of Athens and a Master in Business Administration (MBA) from the University of Wales.

She has many years of both academic and industrial experience within the travel industry. She has written/edited numerous articles in various tourism magazines.

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