Apr 15, 2021|

China’s Wellness Industry is Thriving: McKinsey Report


by Kelly Dawson

Consumers worldwide overwhelmingly indicate a growing preference for natural and clean products, particularly in China, according to a report released on April 9 from global consultancy and market research firm McKinsey. The report, which surveyed 7,500 respondents in six countries including China, also found that consumers in China reported the highest share of wellness spending online, followed by those in Japan.

The rise in the global wellness economy has been accelerated by the pandemic, with McKinsey estimating the value of the global wellness market at more than $1.5 trillion, with annual growth of 5 to 10 percent.

Consumers everywhere are increasingly viewing wellness through a broader lens that encompasses not only products but also services, including telemedicine appointments like those offered by JD’s healthcare arm, JD Health. In 2020 the company’s annual active user accounts reached 89.9 million, an increase of 33.7 million YOY; and average daily consultations exceeded 100,000, which is more than 5 times that of 2019, according to the company’s recent release of financial results in 2020.

More than 50 percent of Chinese respondents to McKinsey’s survey indicated that they would spend more on service categories in the coming year, twice that of respondents in Western countries. “We’ll definitely see accelerated growth in the demand for wellness services,” said McKinsey analyst Eric He, in comments accompanying the report.

China is leading the market in terms of pioneering new technologies related to the wellness industry, according to the McKinsey report, helped in great part due to an advanced e-commerce infrastructure and high technology adoption rates among new consumers.

China is a “testing ground for new products, new consumer-engagement models, and even new business models,” said He. “Building a digital-led business is more likely here in China than anywhere else globally. We have the highest e-commerce adoption ratio and a very sophisticated digital ecosystem that covers almost every aspect of Chinese daily life.”

Also reflecting the growth of the wellness industry is a spike in sales for products in the health, wellness and self-care categories. For example: During JD Worldwide’s Black Friday shopping festival in 2020, sales of self-care products increased YOY by over 180%.

While consumers are increasingly focused on health and wellness, their assessment of their own improvements in wellness levels have simultaneously fallen behind their hopes and expectations in every country except China and Brazil, according to the report, perhaps indicating that Chinese consumers are more satisfied with market offerings.

The wellness industry is “here to stay,” the report concludes.  “If the pandemic has taught us one thing, it’s that physical and mental health will remain a priority for millions of people across the globe for a long time to come.”