Skip main navigation

Exploring the major wellness sectors

In this article, we will explore the types of businesses that operate within individual categories of the wellness industry.

The global wellness economy is a $4.5 trillion industry made up of 11 distinct categories [1].

Let’s take a closer look:

The global wellness economy is a .5 trillion market, broken into 11 sub-categories

Let’s dig into each of these individual categories, exploring the types of businesses that operate within them, how they are evolving, and their value.

This should further demonstrate just how diverse and far-reaching the wellness industry has become.

Wellness Tourism

Value: $639 billion

Defined as travel associated with the pursuit of maintaining or enhancing one’s personal wellbeing [2], the wellness tourism segment is made up of everything from dedicated wellness retreats to hotels or travel destinations offering wellness-focused services and amenities.

Examples: Sha Wellness Clinic, Westin Hotels, No1 Bootcamp

Fitness and Mind-Body

Value: $595 billion

From boutique fitness and premium gyms to fitness apps and connected equipment, the global fitness industry continues to grow, as consumers gravitate towards healthy living underpinned by the desire for convenience, connection and community.

Examples: Equinox, Aaptiv, Moreyoga, Crunch

Wellness Lifestyle Real Estate

Value: $134 billion

Including smart in-home solutions, evidence-based building standards or in-house wellness amenities, a new breed of hybrid buildings that change and respond to the way we live dominate this category.

Examples: Delos, Life Time Living, Serenbe

Workplace Wellness

Value: $48 billion

Reimagined by disruptive companies taking a more holistic and nuanced approach to what constitutes a healthy workforce, workplace wellness continues to move up the boardroom agenda, influencing not only HR but commercial strategy too. Businesses integrating new technology and offering alternative approaches are propelling the category forwards.

Examples: Hero, Gympass, Biobeats

Mental Wellness

Value: $121 billion

Distinct from mental health, the GWI defines mental wellness as an internal resource that helps individuals to think, feel, connect and function –– an active process that helps us build resilience, grow, and flourish. The category is made up of four key sub-segments:

  • Sense, spaces and sleep
  • Brain-boosting nutraceuticals and botanicals
  • Self-improvement
  • Meditation and mindfulness

Examples: Headspace, Lyra Health, Shine

Thermal/Mineral Springs

Value: $56 billion

A category made up of revenue-earning businesses associated with the wellness, recreational and therapeutic uses of waters with special properties –– the majority being traditional bathing and swimming facilities. [3].

Examples: Blue Lagoon Iceland, Kusatsu Onsen, Evian Resort

Personal Care, Beauty and Anti-Aging

Value: $1.083 billion

Consumers taking a holistic approach to their health have changed the face of beauty and personal care in recent years, with both categories now inextricably linked with wellness.

Today, the desire for natural ingredients, eco-friendly practices and functional properties is unlocking new opportunities for savvy brands.

Examples: Lola, Honest, Pai, Hims

Healthy Eating, Nutrition and Weight Loss

Value: $702 billion

The increasing adoption of healthy habits has driven cataclysmic change across the food and beverage industry globally – manifesting itself in everything from ‘clean eating’ to the call for more transparency in sourcing and supply chains. Innovation in ingredients and formats continues to upset the apple cart in categories ripe for disruption.

Examples: Impossible Foods, Bulletproof, Rude Health, Weight Watchers

Spa Economy

Value: $119 billion

Including dedicated spas, hotel services, on-demand offerings and more, the spa industry lends itself to substantial crossover and convergence with other wellness categories. Today, boutique-style massage chains, apps providing on-demand at-home treatments, and swanky services within hotels and social clubs, are all helping to bolster its growth.

Examples: Urban, Corinthia Hotel, Remedy Place

Preventative and Personalized Medicine and Public Health

Value: $575 billion

As recognition has grown around the interdependency between health and wellness, the separate industries have started joining together to form a more holistic and empowered approach to primary care. This shift in thinking has led to an increase in concepts, giving consumers direct access to credible healthcare solutions in affordable, relatable, and convenient formats.

Examples: Parsley Health, Kindbody, Tia

Traditional and Complementary Medicine

Value: $360 billion

Bringing ancient, alternative, and sometimes taboo practices to the masses, an uprising of brands focusing on everything from homeopathic, naturopathic and chiropractic practices, to energy healing, traditional/herbal remedies and supplements, make up this category.

Examples: Modern Acupuncture, Floatworks, Chillhouse


[1] What is the Wellness Economy?

[2] Global Wellness Tourism Economy

[3] Global Wellness Economy Monitor

This article is from the free online

Your Future in the Wellness Industry

Created by
FutureLearn - Learning For Life

Reach your personal and professional goals

Unlock access to hundreds of expert online courses and degrees from top universities and educators to gain accredited qualifications and professional CV-building certificates.

Join over 18 million learners to launch, switch or build upon your career, all at your own pace, across a wide range of topic areas.

Start Learning now