The unstoppable rise of wellness continues

A new survey has found the rise of wellness continues as consumer interest and spending grows.

After a stressful year of lockdowns and health-related fears, the meteoric rise of wellness continues.

A new survey from management consulting firm McKinsey adds to the growing body of research showing that consumers care deeply about wellness and that interest is growing.

The company surveyed more than 7,000 consumers in six countries: Brazil, China, Germany, Japan, the United Kingdom, and the United States, and found that consumers in every market reported a substantial increase in the prioritization of wellness over the past two to three years. Seventy-nine percent of respondents believe that wellness is important, and 42% consider it a top priority. McKinsey estimates the global wellness market at more than $1.5 trillion, with annual growth of five to 10%.*

Among the 10 wellness markets analyzed, revenue growth leaders from 2015–2017 were the spa industry (9.8 percent), wellness tourism (6.5 percent) and wellness real estate (6.4 percent).

The wellness categories most important to consumers

The survey identified the wellness categories that are most important to consumers as the following:

Better health — medicine and supplements, consumer medical devices, and personal-health trackers.
Better fitness — creative fitness offerings that meet the needs of consumers in their homes have seen unprecedented growth in the past year.
Better nutrition — nutrition apps, diet programs, juice cleanses, and subscription food services.
Better appearance — wellness-oriented apparel (“athleisure”) and beauty products and services, including nonsurgical aesthetic procedures.
Better sleep — half of global consumers reported a desire for more products and services to meet the need for higher-quality sleep.
Better mindfulness – meditation and relaxation apps like Headspace and Calm. More than half of consumers want to prioritize mindfulness, and want more mindfulness products and services.

Appearance is a top priority 

Better health is the most important wellness category across all countries, which makes sense, as it could be viewed as encompassing all the other categories. Better health was also the category with the highest level of spending across every market. Across other categories, appearance was the category with the second highest spending in every country except Germany, where people spend more money on fitness.

Of that money, products account for 70% of wellness spending while services account for 30% and consumers expect to increase their purchases of both wellness products and services over the next year. McKinsey expects a greater shift toward services that emphasize physical and mental health.

The research also revealed six consumer wellness-related trends that have been gaining momentum.

 1. Natural/clean products

These include skincare, cosmetics, multivitamins, subscription food services, and sleep enhancers.

2. Personalization

A substantial majority of global consumers around the world say they prioritize personalization now more than they did two or three years ago.

3. Shift to digital

 As has been noted many times, this move to digital has been “happening at the speed of ‘a decade in days.’”

 4. Influencer marketing

The…um… influence of influencers on purchase decisions continues to rise while the influence of celebrities is reportedly waning.

5. Services

Interest in services that address physical and mental health needs, like personal trainers, nutritionists, and counseling services, is on the rise.

 6. Blurring of category lines

McKinsey says, “Companies are considering how to play across the health and wellness categories and channels.” Lululemon’s acquisition of interactive home gym company, Mirror, for example.

In every category, more consumers said they will spend more on wellness in the future than those who said they would spend less. The categories in which consumers plan to increase their spend the most include memory/brain enhancers, anti-aging products, beauty supplements, non-invasive cosmetic procedures, nutrition, and meditation/mindfulness offerings.

The market demands increasingly more sophisticated, integrated wellness experiences

These findings echo what our industry leaders have been saying for years. In a recent interview with Spa Executive, global wellness expert, Sonal Uberoi said, “Wellness is the new luxury that today’s consumers are looking to our industry to provide as they pursue a state of wellbeing that allows for a fuller human experience than traditional hospitality typically provides.

“It has become standard to find a spa and gym in five-star luxury hotels, but the market now demands increasingly more sophisticated, integrated wellness experiences.

“Guests now crave a sense of connection from a hotel stay. People who are travelling less want to travel better and be nourished, healed, surprised and delighted, whatever their reason for travel – from before they arrive to during their stay and beyond.”

Hospitality companies should be paying attention to these wellness categories and considering how they can leverage wellness offerings to increase revenue and enhance guest experience.

For more on how wellness can elevate your guest experience and how to leverage these offerings, read our interview with Uberoi about her book, The Wellness Asset: How wellness can transform and future-proof your hotel.

*According to The Global Wellness Institute The global wellness economy was valued at $4.5 trillion in 2018 and the industry grew by 6.4 percent annually from 2015–2017, from a $3.7 trillion to a $4.2 trillion market. 


Is finding and retaining talent a challenge at your spa? Get insights from industry leaders, including Nigel Franklyn, Lynne McNees, Verena Lasvigne-Fox, and Daisy Tepper when you download our report: What will it take to fix the spa industry’s staffing shortage? .


Spa Executive is published by Book4Time, the leader in guest management, revenue and mobile solutions for the most exclusive spas, hotels, and resorts around the globe. Learn more at


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