Competing in the $4.5 Trillion Global Wellness Industry


According to the Global Wellness Institute, the wellness industry is valued at $4.5 trillion. It has been steadily growing, most notably since 2017 - a trend that’s set to continue thanks to the combined elements of customer awareness, knowledge, technology and, now, Covid-19.

The net result is an industry that’s both high in global opportunity, is highly competitive and rife with misinformation. From medical practitioners to wellbeing destinations, for those wanting to access or grow their business in the private sector legitimately and competitively, the proper knowledge is imperative. 

Whether it’s navigating different regulatory environments or varying customer habits, what are the challenges and opportunities in the health and medical sector today and in the future?

Changing customer demands

Lorraine O’Connor is a CEO Whisperer whose background spans the health and medical sector worldwide from roles including CEO on the UK’s famed Harley Street in London and Director for Healthcare at a very discrete UHNW lifestyle and financial services firm. She says that for businesses entering or growing in the market today, knowledge of customer trends has never been more critical:

“The changing customer is going to be a challenge for businesses. Customer demands are changing. Social media and social engagement are different. The environment and sustainability is front and centre of peoples’ minds. Technologies are different. People are trying to address lifestyle diseases around the world, and it will be interesting to see the legacy of Covid on that trend.”

The convergence of different healthcare sectors

The discussion around health spans a broad spectrum of areas, from medical practices and the NHS to holistic treatments and aesthetics. However, professionals see a convergence of those areas, interlinking with and supporting the other. For example, there’s a greater emphasis on preventative healthcare, a growing interest in nutrition and developments in genetics. Equally, there is an increasing crossover between travel and wellness.

Lorraine says: “The great thing about working in the field of healthcare in a commercial role is that you see a lot of interesting technology coming along - HealthTech, MedTech - it’s all about innovation - in diagnostics, in terms of treatment, whether you’re in complex care and hospital services or you’re in longevity and spa, in genetics, nutrition, immunity and the technologies for driving those things, it’s interesting to consider the potential impact of all of that. How will it change the way you deliver services? Is it resulting in prevention over cure?”

Lifestyle diseases and the long-term perspective

The WHO recently released data that stated that 41 million people each year die of ‘non-communicable diseases (NCDs)’, 15 million of which are classed as premature deaths, and many of which are linked to lifestyle. Key contributors include tobacco use, physical inactivity, the harmful use of alcohol and unhealthy diets. With that in mind, and the shock to the collective system that Covid-19 has had, the growing interest in lifestyle management and inter-sector support presents a fascinating ethical and business proposition that hinges on messaging, information and strategy.

Non-emergent wellness has often been seen as the domain of the luxury market, and that is still very much in existence with retreats around the world. However, there is also a growing interest across the spectrum regarding health, giving business leaders much to think about in terms of education, price points and awareness.

“I spent years as a consultant with a Russian client and had a great experience visiting and contracting with very high-end clinics around Europe,” says Lorraine. “The whole area of complementary therapies and wellness tourism is much more acceptable in Europe than the UK and Ireland - it’s much more common to go somewhere once a year for a medical check-up and detox.”

Like many who know the health and wellness industry, Lorraine recognises that the size, scope, interconnectivity, and thirst for support means that for anyone entering the market, it’s both a big opportunity and highly competitive. The key is in listening to the market and creating a strategy that looks to the future.

Find out more about Lorraine and the gigCMO team.


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