I usually take ‘market reports’ with a pinch of salt. Having said that, this document makes some rather interesting predictions:

The size of the market for so-called alternative medicine (SCAM) is projected to expand from USD 147.7 billion in 2023 to approximately USD 1489.4 billion by the year 2033. This projection indicates a remarkable Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of 26% over the forecast period.

The market for SCAM is experiencing significant growth, fueled by increasing consumer interest in natural and holistic health solutions. This trend reflects a broader shift in societal attitudes towards health and wellness, emphasizing preventive care and natural health practices.

The market’s dynamics are influenced by various factors, including consumer preferences, regulatory standards, and evolving perceptions of health and wellness. As the popularity of these alternative therapies grows, it is crucial for individuals to consult with healthcare professionals to ensure that these non-conventional approaches are safely and effectively incorporated into their overall health regimen. The increasing acceptance of SCAM underscores a collective move towards more personalized and holistic healthcare solutions, resonating with today’s health-conscious consumers.

In 2023, Traditional Alternative Medicine/Botanicals led the market, capturing a 35.2% share, which reflects a strong consumer inclination towards these treatments. Dietary Supplements were prominent in the market, securing a 25.1% share in 2023, which underscores the high consumer demand for nutritional aids. Direct Sales were the most favored distribution channel, accounting for 43.2% of the market share in 2023, which indicates their significant impact on guiding consumer purchases. Pain Management was the predominant application area, holding a 24.9% market share in 2023, propelled by the growing acknowledgment of non-pharmacological treatment options. Adults represented a substantial portion of the market, making up 62.33% in 2023, signifying a marked preference for SCAM therapies within this age group. Europe stood out as the market leader, claiming a 42.6% share in 2023, a position supported by widespread acceptance, governmental backing, and an increasing elderly population. The regions of North America and Asia-Pacific are highlighted as areas with potential, signaling opportunities for market expansion beyond the European stronghold in the upcoming years.

Leading Market Players Are:

  • Columbia Nutritional
  • Nordic Nutraceuticals
  • Ramamani Iyengar Memorial Yoga Institute
  • The Healing Company Ltd.
  • John Schumacher Unity Woods Yoga Centre
  • Sheng Chang Pharmaceutical Company
  • Pure encapsulations LLC.
  • Herb Pharm
  • AYUSH Ayurvedic Pte Ltd.

Recent developments:

  • In December 2023, Adoratherapy launched the Alkemie Chakra Healing Line, an aromatherapy range aimed at harmonizing the seven chakras.
  • Coworth Park introduced the Hebridean Sound Treatment in October 2023, merging traditional Hebridean sounds with guided meditation to offer a novel, restorative wellness experience.
  • The World Health Organization released draft guidelines in September 2023 for the safe, effective application of traditional medicines.
  • Telehealth services, expanding significantly in August 2023, have broadened the reach of SCAM, enhancing patient access to these treatments.

27 Responses to The SCAM market will grow from currently $148 to $1489 billion by 2033

  • The worst ingredient in the soup: corrupt and/or insane politicians and judges, who push the frauds instead of stopping them.

    “We could hurt their feelings…”

  • I guess people are bored and want to spent time with people who take care of them in a pleasant manner. Why not, but still, what is missing, is the critical question: What is this person actually selling me or doing with me? A nice walk or swim, good food and pleasant social relations are good too, but do not generate 1489 billion. I think it will also be an economy about places to travel too that smell good, that are clean, that are beautiful and they come with all sorts of treatments and products that give the client a good time and seduce them with exotic and fantastic treatments… I mean, how can anyone spent 95€ for a 60min hot stone massage? So strange, but it is the economy and it works.

    • … as long as they make no therapeutic claims or prompt ill people to abandon effective treatments in favor of SCAM.

    • Ahhhh – “SELLING ME” you ask. But wait a a moment Michaela, don’t people also BUY from others with their own free will? There are always two-sides to a transaction don’t you know?

  • I guess it is a grey zone. The price and productlists of wellness resorts sound fantastic and full of promises. The client can be seduced very easily, and I guess that is where the grey zone starts. How do you react? May I report a personal case: I visited a doctor “recommended” by the dentist. The visit was about my daughters jaw. This doctor was supposed to be a specialist, but I saw on the wall diplomas of different scam treatments, among them chiropractic. I told him that I changed my mind and we left, but what happened afterwards is what I call the grey zone. He run after me at the street and threatened me. So what did I do? I decided to take a step toward him and lectured him about the unscientific therapy he wanted to sell my daughter. But I could only do that because I have educated myself about the reality of scam. This moment was crucial and the doctor stopped with his threats and left, trying to humiliate me with words. So I guess that the 1400 billion industry is going to invest also in this grey zone, the moment and place you capture the client. This can happen with a scientific educated doctor that also sells you some extra scam products, it will happen in every wellness resort when the therapist is alone with the client, and so on. It starts with every Apotheke that sells homeopathy. I wish you are more right than wrong, I don’t see where the mechanisms should come from to really protect the clients and patients.

  • Some 1500 billion dollars in 10 years’ time? That would mean an average of $185 per year for every man, woman and child on this planet. Which I think is not realistic.

    Assuming that perhaps 20% of the world’s population spends significant amounts on SCAM, then that one-fifth would spend almost $1000 per year per person – again rather steep …

    The last time I saw predictions like this was when ‘investment mortgages’ were all the rage here, some 20 years ago — where mortgage brokers and insurance companies convinced people to invest their money (via said institutions of course), with expected growth rates of 8% annually, for 20 years in a row. Yeah, right(*).

    And these people expect consistent growth rates even three times higher?

    *: After 10 years, it turned out that most people actually lost money on this scheme, with those Big Companies laughing all the way to the bank.

  • Critics of so called alternative medicine (whatever that means in the real world) seem to conveniently ignore the fact that no one forces a lay-person to spend their money on non-conventional medical or health related treatments and therapies. We all have something called FREE WILL and if some folks don’t take the time to make a considered purchase before spending their money, then that is the risk they take. The gold-plated ear-seeds (Dragon’s Den) mentioned on this blog a few weeks ago is a classic example of consumer naivety (CN).

    • “The gold-plated ear-seeds (Dragon’s Den) mentioned on this blog a few weeks ago is a classic example of consumer naivety (CN).”… or for the BBC misleading the public.

    • @Michael Grant
      “We all have something called FREE WILL”

      OH NO! Children have no choice, because they are the belongings of their parents.Which even includes mutilating their genitals.

      Old people can not get out of the fangs of people controlling them, manipulating them, lying to them.

      And the rest? Is victim of excessive manipulation by MDs, naturopaths, advertising, apothecaries, all that crap, which profits from selling junk to unsuspecting victims.

    • Critics of so called alternative medicine (whatever that means in the real world) seem to conveniently ignore the fact that no one forces a lay-person to spend their money on non-conventional medical or health related treatments and therapies. We all have something called FREE WILL…

      We also have something called “informed consent”.

      • Absolutely agree Mojo – as you say INFORMED consent means the lay-person needs to be provided with all the information they need in order to conduct their own due diligence.

  • Part of the problem is the expectation. We expect health services to The delivery of mainstream medicine can be woeful. Often there is no help or cure but when patients experience a narrative given poorly by mainstream medicine they turn to SCAM . My GP spent the entire length of my appointment ( all.of 10.mins) moaning about the demand on NHS and how awful.his job was. If I didn’t know better I could be seduced by SCAM.

    • change GP!

      • And vote for politicians who will fund the NHS properly

        • Bit naive… it is funded ‘properly’ but there is so much waste… NHS will absorb all money and still need more. Nature of the beast.

          My GP is very well paid – I am not complaining or begrudging that but sometimes I question the narrative delivered.

          • I don’t think its naive to realize the NHS is underfunded.

            The fact that your GP is ‘very well paid’ (your opinion) doesn’t mean its not underfunded.
            The fact that it will absorb more money doesn’t mean its not underfunded now.

            It’s true that just giving more money – without trying to tie it to better services and outcomes – might just result in more managers being hired that do nothing rather than it going to clinical services, but that’s no reason to not do it.

            Maybe the ‘narrative’ that you should be questioning is the ‘there is so much waste’ one you are getting from sources like the daily fail.

      • It is difficult enough to get an appointment with your existing GP Edzard – to change your BP is a significant challenge!

      • Rather disturbingly he is an excellent GP in.many areas, but it is easy to see why some people who maybe less informed than myself could turn to SCAM.

  • There is much ado about the seriously negative health effects of ultraprocessed foods.
    Are not food supplements and herbal remedies little more than ultraprocessed foods?

    • Ahh, processed foods! Some folks seem to forget that their own digestive system and microbiome is a very effective food processor that enables a human – even you – to benefit from the nutrition your diet may or may not contain.
      While on the subject, my company supplies whole raw foods which some incorrectly describe as ‘supplements.’ To infer that raw, ENZYME ACTIVE foods and raw food supplements are ultra-processed is very silly. And you forgot to mention that licensed medicines are also ultra-processed – you won’t find them in Nature!
      And there is nothing wrong with Organically grown herbs and spices – humans have consumed them long before SCAM was ever dreamed of.

  • The projected figures into 2033 are unlikely. Such huges figures with the data appearing to be exponential would imply possibilities of some sort of a CAM take over of conventional medicine happening in the 2030s. That isnt going to happen with all the breakthoughs occuring in conventional medicine. I expect more of a plateauing out of the graph into 2030 and beyond. Still large increases are likely and with any expansion still being of major significance the sector will need some controls which may not be easilly forthcoming from the authorities with all this public support.
    Us CAMists see that CAM driven by social media is increasing in popularity all the time and there is not a lot anyone can do about this. Those who dont like it can always decide not to use it.

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