Nikita Mishra
Sep 22, 2023

State of wellbeing in APAC in 2023: 1 in 3 hit all-time lows

Lululemon’s latest Global Wellbeing report delivers a stark wake-up call: wellbeing remains frozen since peak pandemic, mental health taboos persist even for Gen Z's, and workdays are lost to these struggles.

State of wellbeing in APAC in 2023: 1 in 3 hit all-time lows

“Everyone is struggling with wellbeing, one way or the other, certain groups are experiencing it more than others.”

“We are now facing the “Wellbeing Dilemma”, which is the result of a troubling paradox: The prioritisation of wellbeing is not resulting in an improvement in wellbeing.”

Those are just some of the headline-worthy findings from Lululemon’s third Global Wellbeing Report. The largescale report looks at well-being through three lenses: Physical, mental and social.

Conducted on over 14,000 respondents across 14 markets (South Korea, China, Thailand, Hong Kong, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand, Japan, US, Canada, UK, France, Spain, Germany) through Edelman Data and Intelligence in the May to June, 2023 period, the report delves into the findings while drawing comparisons to Lululemon's initial survey conducted at the peak of the pandemic in 2021, shedding light on how the needle has—or hasn't—moved.

It also analyses what Lululemon is calling ‘The Wellbeing Dilemma’ with 67% globally considering wellbeing a top priority, but 44% say that achieving it is impossible. Celeste Burgoyne, president of Americas and global guest innovation at Lululemon, attributes this to two factors: “People feeling overwhelmed by wellbeing choices and the barriers they face.” Barriers to prioritising wellbeing, including cost and time, and a feeling of hopelessness post-pandemic.

Campaign has exclusive access to the report’s APAC findings, scroll below for a concise analysis on the state of wellbeing in the region.

Key findings

  • More than 64% of people in the APAC region place wellbeing as their top priority, yet 90% cannot achieve their desired state.
  • One in three respondents reports their wellbeing currently at its lowest point ever and the same number feels they do not have time to think about it.
  • Social pressures led 42% in APAC to feel the need to pretend to be happy even when not.
  • Men, particularly, express significantly lower wellbeing compared to women. 44% of men in APAC wish they wouldn't be judged for showing an interest in improving their mental health.
  • Mental health remains a taboo even for Gen Z. In fact, it’s a significantly higher barrier for the Gen Z cohort to the older generations, with 3 in 5 in the region wishing they could express how they actually feel, instead of always pretending to be fine.
  • In Hong Kong, employees miss an average of eight workdays annually due to low wellbeing.
  • 68% of employees believe their employers are responsible for their wellbeing, but more than half feel that employers are not doing enough.


The fact that one in three respondents claims their wellbeing has hit an all-time low underscores a complex situation and the contradiction reflects the ‘Wellbeing Dilemma’ highlighted in the report.

Lack of awareness around mental health issues and the desire for self-preservation has spiked and more people are acknowledging wellbeing as a top priority, but the fact that only a small fraction (15%) feel they have attained the level they aspire to, points toward a troubling concern.  This aspiration-achievement gap is a significant concern, clearly there are significant societal barriers preventing realisation.

Again, gender disparity in wellbeing, with men reporting significantly lower levels, also points to societal pressures and a lack of emotional expression and empathy as contributing factors. This insight highlights the need for targeted interventions to address these specific challenges faced by men.

Gen Z's reluctance to seek help for mental health, despite appearing open about their feelings, is an eye-opener. The cycle of persistent stigma surrounding mental health can only be broken with a more open dialogue, especially among younger generations.

The impact of low wellbeing on Hong Kong employees, as evidenced by an average of eight missed workdays per year, is a concerning statistic. This places additional stress on workplaces, highlighting the importance of employer initiatives to support employees.

The belief among 68% of employees that employers are responsible for their wellbeing, coupled with the perception that in 71% cases employers are falling short, also spotlights the pressing need for more comprehensive and holistic corporate wellness programs.

Ahead of World Mental Health Day on October 10, Lululemon will kick off its ‘Find Your Wellbeing’ campaign, commencing with a four-day event in Seoul, Korea and a series of activities around the region.

Lululemon’s insights show three ways to solve the plummeting mental health markers.

“There’s three key areas that we see that have a real positive impact on mental well-being: working out and exercising with a community,” Burgoyne said. “People prioritising and spending time with loved ones is something that definitely has a positive impact and then supporting people in working to express all their emotions and not just the positive.”

Campaign Asia

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