UK wellness economy data released by Global Wellness Institute

By Wendy Golledge


By Wendy Golledge

09 December 2022

The Global Wellness Institute (GWI) has revealed data on the UK Wellness Economy for the first time.

The United Kingdom is the latest country to be highlighted on the non-profit organisation’s unique Geography of Wellness platform.

Launched earlier this year, the platform provides extensive country-level data within each sector and sub-sector of the wellness economy. It showcases a country’s wellness assets and the data that is specific to 11 sectors of the Global Wellness Economy.

The UK’s wellness economy

Therme Group has partnered with the GWI to facilitate dedicated research on the United Kingdom’s current position within the $4.4 trillion wellness economy.

This country report is the first detailed measurement of the size of the UK’s wellness economy and data, and how it ranks globally.

It shows the trajectory of the wellness economy from 2017 to 2019 and the impact of the pandemic in 2020. It also contains global and regional comparisons to show where the UK stands in line with its peers and competitors.

Therme Manchester is being developed by the Therme Group

Strong and growing

According to the GWI data, the United Kingdom’s wellness economy grew from $149.6 billion in 2017 to $158.4 billion in 2020, ranking it #5 out of the 218 economies measured worldwide and #2 in Europe.

The research reveals the highest spike in the UK wellness economy occurred pre-pandemic in 2019, when it was valued at $167.8 billion.

Now that all the wellness categories hit hardest during the Covid-19 pandemic have reopened – namely physical activity, spas, thermal/mineral springs and wellness tourism – the UK’s wellness economy is back in a strong position and once again growing.

Indoor swimming pool
The indoor pool at Fairmont Windsor Park

A key highlight was the UK’s proportional increase in mental health awareness, as well products and services in this sector.

The meditation and mindfulness sub-sector grew by 34% from 2019 to 2020, to a market size of $52.4 million, while the senses, spaces and sleep sub sector grew by by 18% to $1.6 billion.

A deep dive into spa

  • The number of day spas / clubs and salons in the UK has increased from 2,303 in 2017 to 2,268 in 2020


  • There are 1,1,34 hotel and resort spas, 77 destination spas or hotel resorts and 153 medical spas


  • Revenues decreased across the board in 2020, with day spas / clubs and salons going down from $1.4 billion to $867 million


  • Hotel / resort spas lost almost $135 million in 2020, with revenue down to $820 million


  • In 2020, medical spas revenue was $106m, destination spas or hotel resorts was $278 million and thermal/mineral springs spas was $15.6 million.


  • In total there are now 3,671 UK spas.

UK rankings out of 218 countries

Overall wellness economy
$158.4 billion – ranking #5

Spas (including day, hotel, resort, destination, medical and thermal facilities)
$2.1 billion – ranking #6
3,671 establishments

Thermal/mineral springs
$0.02 billion – ranking #48
4 establishments

Wellness tourism
$9 billion – ranking #9

Personal care and beauty
$37 billion – ranking #4

Wellness real estate
$14.7 billion – ranking #4

Physical activity
$34.6 billion – ranking #5

Public health, prevention and personalised medicine
$18 billion – ranking #4

Healthy eating, nutrition and weight loss
$32 billion – ranking #5

Mental wellness
$3.6 billion – ranking #6

Workplace wellness
$3bn billion – ranking #4

Traditional and complementary medicine
$5.8 billion – ranking #9

The Spa Bath House The Royal Crescent edited
The Spa Bath House at The Royal Crescent

A vibrant and varied industry

Speaking about the UK market, the report states that “there is a vibrant array of spas, fitness centres and wellness therapies to nourish the mind, body and soul.”

It continues: “For those who love the outdoors, there are endless easily accessible experiences rooted in nature.

“There is also a growing movement to revive the grand tradition of thermal bathing in the UK – a history that includes Roman-era thermae and Victorian bathhouses.

“Companies, such as Therme Group, are part of this movement, which aims to create large and inclusive urban wellness resorts that provide communal bathing experiences to enhance wellbeing in communities across the UK.”

The GWI estimates that the global wellness economy overall  grew from $4.3 trillion in 2017 to $4.9 trillion in 2019, or by 6.6% annually, a growth rate significantly higher than global economic growth.

In 2020, the wellness economy fell by 11.0%, to $4.4 trillion due to the pandemic.

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