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Physical activity market boosts wellness industry

The value of the global wellness industry has risen to $4.5 trillion, bolstered by the $828.2 billion ‘physical activity economy’, according to new research by the Global Wellness Institute (GWI).

‘Physical activity economy’ is defined by the GWI as including sports and active recreation, fitness, mindful movement, equipment and supplies, apparel and footwear, as well as technology.

“This new global data stream is meant to encourage business leaders and policymakers to see physical activity as a comprehensive sector, and one that’s critical in supporting lifestyles that are crucial to good health,” noted Ophelia Yeung, GWI senior researcher and report co-author.

“Yes, physical activity has become a massive $828 billion commercial segment, but the conundrum is that sedentary lives, obesity and chronic disease are all exploding right alongside the fitness market’s explosive growth.”

Katherine Johnston, GWI senior researcher and co-author, added: “When people think ‘fitness industry’ they think gyms, boutique studios, yoga and fit-tech like wearables, but there are so many ways we can get enough exercise to stay healthy – from playing sports to dancing to biking to work. And there are huge opportunities for businesses to get more people active – beyond affluent urbanites/ suburbanites, the young and the already-healthy.”

According to the data, which represents the direct consumer spend for each category (not including the vast expenditures made by governments/the public sector), sports and active recreation comes out on top at $230.1 billion. Fitness and gym follows at $108.6 billion, with mindful movement valued at $29.1 billion – the total of these three core segments makes up a 44% share of the market.

Ninety-percent of the world’s spending on recreational physical activities takes place in North America, Asia and Europe.

Elsewhere, the report also notes that the nations with the highest recreational physical activity participation rates are also the happiest. By comparing the happiest nations from the 2019 World Happiness Report to the countries with the highest rates for recreational physical activity, the Global Wellness Institute reveals there is a very striking overlap: Fourteen nations make both top-20 lists, with Nordic countries such as Norway, Iceland, Sweden, Finland and Denmark all ranking in the top 10 for ‘happiest’ and most physically active.

To access the full report click here.

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