Five growing health and wellness market trends In Asia

Health and wellness is the new lifestyle status symbol for millennial Asians, says Hong Kong-based editor and green entrepreneur Sonalie Figueiras. Here, she identifies five of the fastest growing health trends in the region.

Veganism on the rise
Plant-based lifestyles are growing in popularity across Asia with China’s vegan market expected to grow over 17% by 2020.1 In Singapore, business is booming for vegan retailers and plant-based F&B (food and beverage) outlets.4 Over in Hong Kong, 22% of the population reports practicing some form of plant-based diet, not to mention that the number of vegetarian and vegan restaurants has more than doubled in the past couple years. In a further vote of confidence for the region, the Bill Gates-backed Beyond Meat Burger chose the city as its first international launch market after the plant-based patty’s US debut and sales are booming, “more than double the projections”2 and Pret A Manger launched its Veggie Pret fridge and menu concept, made famous in Hong Kong before Europe and the US.8

China wellness story
Health and wellness are the new lifestyle status symbol for millennial Asians with China leading the way. As juice company V Cleanse founder and CEO explains:  “If you were born in the 80s and live in a first- to third-tier Chinese city, chances are you’re into healthy living.”3 In fact, wellness spending in China is expected to reach USD 70 billion. Alibaba’s Hao Li adds: “Across China there is a growing interest in personal health, fitness and overall wellbeing, and we see very strong demand from our customers in these categories,” said Alibaba’s Hao Li.”7

Healthy and organic food boom
Young Chinese don’t trust their government’s ability to ensure their food supply is safe. Case in point, China experienced more than half a million food safety violations in first half of 2016 alone, pushing the digital generation to focus on quality brands with verified supply chains and launch food startups to meet the demand10. Organic plays right into that mindset. As of 2018, China will become the world’s largest importer of organic food products.9 On the export side, India boasts the world’s highest concentration of organic producers.11 Across Asia, two thirds of Asian consumers believe in superfoods for treating ailments.12 Thailand is a market to watch, with strong recent domestic demand for healthy food and a large range of innovative local brands, while Indonesia and Vietnam also have established consumer bases.15

“Organic plays right into that mindset. As of 2018, China will become the world’s largest importer of organic food products”

Natural beauty matters
Thanks to rising disposable incomes, beauty-centric cultures and media headlines about the dangers lurking behind synthetic ingredients, Asian consumers are increasingly willing to spend on clean labels and natural products. To wit, 69% of Southeast Asians prefer products made with fresh, natural and/or organic ingredients and the market for organic cosmetics is expected to be worth USD1 billion by 202013– plenty of room to manoeuvre in a region that accounts for close to 50% of global skin care sales.16

Only the beginning for Asia’s yoga market
A 5,000-year-old practice from South Asia, yoga is now India’s most significant cultural export according to the country Prime Minister Narendra Modi14 who created the annual International Yoga Day in 2014 to further cement yoga’s identity on the world stage. Yoga is a USD6 billion affair in Asia including events, studios and products. In India particularly, the AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy) market grosses over USD 1.8 billion annually.17 Globally the market is worth USD 80 billion so there’s plenty of room to grow, not to mention that yoga penetration per capita is still low compared the US, the world’s largest yoga market, where over 10% of the population or 30 million people now practice yoga regularly6 versus 10 million people in China on a population of 1.37 billion5. Asian consumers are also big spenders on yoga apparel- global yoga retailer giant Lululemon is aggressively pursuing the region with store openings in Hong Kong, Singapore, Seoul and a launch on Tmall in China with the CEO stating that Asia was far exceeding expectations for sales.5

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About the Author

Sonalie Figueiras

Health Journalist & Green Entrepeneur

Sonalie Figueiras is the founder and editor-in-chief of Green Queen, Hong Kong’s largest health and wellness media platform and the founder and CEO of Ekowarehouse the global sourcing platform for certified organic products. With over a decade of experience in publishing, SEO, digital marketing, organic trade and health journalism, she is a wellness industry veteran with a keen eye for market trends and a regular on the speaking circuit.

Articles by Sonalie Figueiras

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