Asia-Pacific’s physical activity market expected to increase by 56% by 2023
Thursday, 17th October 2019
Source : The Global Wellness Institute™ (GWI)

New Global Wellness Institute research on the $828 billion global physical activity economy reveals Asia will be, by far, the #1 growth leader through 2023, Asia also world’s top market for fitness technology.

The Global Wellness Institute™ (GWI), a nonprofit research and educational resource for the world wellness industry, today released a major research study: Move to Be Well: The Global Economy of Physical Activity.

The data-packed, 180-page report finds that the “physical activity economy”– which includes 1) fitness, 2) sports & active recreation, 3) mindful movement, 4) equipment, 5) apparel/footwear, and 6) technology - is now a $828 billion world market, to grow to $1.1 trillion+ by 2023. Access the full report at globalwellnessinstitute.org/industry-research. With this new data, wellness jumps to a $4.5 trillion global industry.

The research finds that Asia-Pacific is now the #2 physical activity market, valued at $240 billion annually, or roughly 30 percent of the global market. But Asia will be the overwhelming growth leader from 2018-2023, with a market expanding 9.2% annually, to reach $373.3 billion by 2023 (when it will overtake North America as the world’s largest market). Asia-Pacific will account for a staggering 40 percent of all global market growth from 2018-2023; China and India together will drive nearly one-third of all growth.

The report goes in-depth on the Asian consumer spend within all six markets, participation rates for Asian nations, the emerging trends and business opportunities across Asia—while providing insight into the public and private sector initiatives that can help bring more movement to populations across the region. 

Top-10 Recreational Physical Activity Markets in Asia
Market size & global rank (among top 20)

  1. China: $109.3 bil. - 2
  2. Japan: $43.9 bil. - 3
  3. South Korea: $23.5 bil. - 7
  4. Australia: $16.7 bil. - 10
  5. India: $13.4 bil. - 13
  6. Taiwan: $7.7 bil. -19
  7. Hong Kong: $4.1 bil.
  8. New Zealand: $3 bil.
  9. Thailand: $2.9 bil.
  10. Indonesia: $2.6 bil.

Four of the top ten recreational physical activity markets in the world are in Asia: China, Japan, South Korea and Australia. The US and China are by far the world’s largest consumer markets, together accounting for 45 percent of all global expenditures.

China’s physical activity sector is experiencing explosive recent growth with support from the government, a proliferation of gyms and fitness studios in Tier 1 cities and widespread adoption of fitness apps and other online platforms. Japan, Hong Kong, Taiwan, South Korea and Singapore have highly developed, competitive physical activity markets.

Governments in these markets are also active in promoting physical activity through public education campaigns (e.g., South Korea’s Program 7330 and Singapore’s Active Health program). Southeast Asian countries, such as Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, and Indonesia, have small physical activity markets, lower levels of participation, and the lowest fitness industry penetration rates across Asia.

Top-10 Asian Markets for Participation Rate (%) in Recreational Physical Activities

  1. Australia 84%
  2. Taiwan 84%
  3. New Zealand 84%
  4. Mongolia 75%
  5. South Korea 74%
  6. Japan 70%
  7. Singapore 65%
  8. Hong Kong 58%
  9. French Polynesia 58%
  10. Vanuatu 54%

When it comes to recreational physical activity participation rates, many Asian markets shine. Six rank among the top 15 worldwide: Taiwan, New Zealand, Mongolia, South Korea, Japan and Singapore.


1) Sports & Active Recreation
Globally, the sports and active recreation market is the largest physical activity sector (worth $230 billion) because these activities are the most accessible, affordable and prevalent across every region and population group. Asia-Pacific’s market is worth $83 billion annually, with a 30 percent participation rate and a $66/year average participant spend.

Top-5 Asian Markets for Sports & Active Recreation
Participation Rate & Market Size

  1. China (44%) - $42.3 bil.
  2. Japan (67%) - $13.3 bil.
  3. South Korea (71%) - $10.9 bil.
  4. Australia (77%) - $6.7 bil.
  5. Taiwan (81%) - $2.8 bil.

Worldwide, Taiwan ranks #1, New Zealand #3, and Australia #4, for participation in sports and active recreation – all with 75 percent or higher participation rates.

2) Fitness & Gym
The $109 billion global fitness industry is fast and furious in its growth and devising new approaches, whether indoor spinning, HIIT or CrossFit. The average global participant spends $384 yearly on fitness/gyms. Asia-Pacific’s fitness market is worth $22.7 billion annually (with a $494/year spend per participant).

But there are powerful opportunities to expand Asia’s fitness industry: it accounts for only 19 percent of the region’s recreational spending activity (vs. 30 percent for the average global market), and there is only a 1.1 percent fitness participation rate in Asia (vs. 3.7 percent, on average, globally).

Top-5 Asian Markets for Fitness & Gym
Participation Rate & Market Size

  1. Japan (8%) - $5.6 bil.
  2. China (1%) - $5.5 bil.
  3. Australia (24%) - $3.9 bil.
  4. South Korea (9%) - $2.6 bil.
  5. India (0.3%) - $1 bil.

3) Mindful Movement
In our frenetically paced and stressful world, the demand for slower, mindful movement—which includes yoga, tai chi, qigong, Pilates, stretch, barre, etc.—is skyrocketing. Asia is the source of the most important mindful movement approaches, and these practices are spreading like wildfire throughout the world.

The global mindful movement market is now $29 billion, with $16.9 bil. for yoga, $5.4 bil. for tai chi and qigong, and $6.7 bil. for Pilates, barre and other modalities. Asia’s mindful movement sector is valued at $10.9 billion, with a 4.5% participation rate and an annual spend/participant of $58.

Top-5 Asian Markets for Mindful Movement
Participation Rate & Market Size

  1. China (7%) - $5.8 bil. – 2nd largest world market
  2. Japan (6%) - $1.9 bil. – 3rd largest world market
  3. Australia (17%) - $900 mil.
  4. India (4%) - $700 mil.
  5. South Korea (5%) - $700 mil.

4) Fitness Tech
The global fitness tech market, worth $26 billion, makes exercise more fun, affordable, personalized, portable, social, gamified and trackable, and is seeing extraordinary consumer adoption worldwide. The US ($8.1 billion), China ($6.6 billion), and India ($1.8 billion) are the world leaders, accounting for over half of the physical activity tech market.

Asia-Pacific is the world’s #1 market at $10.8 billion, because across the region techsavvy consumers are wild for the latest wearables and trackers, which make up 69 percent (or $7.4 billion) of the total Asian fitness tech market. Streaming and on-demand fitness is the second largest Asian market at $1.9 billion.

Top-5 Asian Markets for Fitness Technology
Market size & world rank

  1. China: $6.6 bil. - 2
  2. India: $1.8 bil. - 3
  3. Japan: $500 mil. - 7
  4. South Korea: $400 mil. - 10
  5. Australia: $300 mil. - 12

China’s fitness wearables/apps market is #1 in the world ($4.6 billion) and an estimated 68.5 million Chinese people actively use fitness wearables and online platforms. Asian tech companies (e.g., Samsung, Sony, Huawei, Xiaomi, Codoon, Lerbyee, Honor, GOQii ViTAL, Fastrack, etc.) are some of the leading innovators in the region’s extraordinary fittech space.

5) Apparel & Footwear
The global physical activity apparel and footwear market is worth a vast $333 billion. North America is the largest market ($123 billion), followed by Asia-Pacific at $87.5 billion.

Top-5 Asian Markets for Apparel & Footwear
Market size & world rank

  1. China: $40.1 bil. - 2
  2. Japan: $14 bil. - 3
  3. India: $7.8 bil. - 7
  4. South Korea: $7 bil. - 9
  5. Australia: $3.5 bil. - 16

6) Equipment & Supplies
Equipment and supplies supporting physical activity (sporting goods and fitness training equipment) is a $109 billion global segment, and Asia is the 2nd-largest market at $27.6 billion. The US and China together comprise 44 percent of the market.

Top-5 Asian Markets for Equipment & Supplies
Market size & world rank

  1. China: $10.4 bil. - 2
  2. Japan: $8.8 bil. - 3
  3. Taiwan: $2.2 bil. - 9
  4. South Korea: $1.9 bil. - 10
  5. Australia: $1.5 bil. - 12

About the Global Wellness Institute: The Global Wellness Institute (GWI), a nonprofit 501(c)(3), is considered the leading global research and educational resource for the global wellness industry and is known for introducing major industry initiatives and
regional events that bring together leaders to chart the future. GWI positively impacts global health and wellness by advocating for both public institutions and businesses that are working to help prevent disease, reduce stress, and enhance the overall quality of life. Its mission is to empower wellness worldwide.


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