How digitisation and customisation are driving the growth of India’s Ayurveda industry

Ramesh Vangal, Chairman, Kerala Ayurveda; Param Bhargava, Founder, The Ayurveda Co.; and Jatin Gujarati, Business Head, Vedix; shed light on how going digital and customisation options have fuelled the growth of Ayurveda.
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India’s Ayurveda industry is booming. Valued at Rs 335 billion in 2019, it is expected to reach Rs 1042.07 billion by 2025 as more and more people become aware about the importance and benefits of ayurvedic products – especially in the time of the pandemic.

The industry has numerous large and small players, and the number is growing.

Ramesh Vangal, Chairman, Kerala Ayurveda, says Ayurveda is part of India’s heritage and is a way of life with three primary elements: products, education, and services. There are big opportunities for the Ayurveda market in the US and in the ‘digital’ space. The US is the focus area because it is “a pathway to the rest of the world”. Kerala Ayurveda has an active service business with education, and about 3,000 trained and qualified practitioners in the US.

“The entire ecosystem of Ayurveda is not an alternative lifestyle, but it is the mainstream. Allopathy is emergency care,” Ramesh says.

Jatin Gujarati, Business Head, Vedix, says business increased by almost 50 percent month on month in the last couple of months. He adds that acceptance has never been an issue for the Ayurveda market as people were always open to the idea; approachability and affordability were key concerns.

“Ayurveda is a lifestyle that has to be lived,” he says, adding that digital has been a boon for the Ayurveda ecosystem.

Tracking growth in the business

Param Bhargava, Founder, The Ayurveda Co., says the company has raised its first seed round and is eyeing more growth. The company, which claims major growth on a month-on-month basis, launched with the beauty and personal care segment and has also launched Ayurvedic makeup.

The beauty and skincare segment has immense potential for growth. The Ayurveda Co has around 70-80 unique SKUs, and has launched in the US market through Amazon.

Param says Ayurveda is trending in the millennial space as that demographic has now started adopting it. “The Ayurveda economy will be really large and more brands coming into the space will increase its adoption.”

Ramesh shares that in the recent past Kerala Ayurveda has branched out of therapeutic products and developed a range of over-the-counter (OTC) and natural products with an investment in skincare. The skincare segment has seen a lot of traction for the company, which is trying to evolve into a hybrid model to expand business.

“We have got the finest Ayurvedic healing resorts in the world in Bengaluru,” he says. He adds that around 50 percent customers who buy their products repeat their purchases.

Customising and building relationships

Vedix has always been about “customised Ayurveda” as the founder believes that “different people have different needs”. The startup’s tech-enabled platform allows customers to answer a set of questions and provides a regimen that is right for their condition and needs, Jatin shares.

About 95 percent of sales come from the Vedix website, and their products are now available on Amazon as well. “Sales have all been through our website, and all subscription-driven,” Jatin says.

Param adds that The Ayurveda Co. is a very young D2C brand, with its own website and a presence on Amazon, Flipkart, Nykaa, Myntra, etc. “We are India’s first science-backed Ayurveda company. We are bringing yoga and meditation practitioners to drive traffic to our website, and plan to launch an app for consultation and services,” Param says.

Aiming high for the road ahead

Ramesh concludes by saying that Kerala Ayurveda has grown 30-40X in the last couple of years primarily through digital. The company believes that Ayurveda has the potential to take it to a higher level, and wants to leverage the brick-and-mortar model and build it into OTC or other forms. “It is a responsibility to get this category into what I think is the largest opportunity in the world,” he says.

Jatin adds that they aim to expand into more categories, deepen existing categories, and establish more relationships. “We are looking at expanding the brand globally in markets like the US or Middle East.”

Param says The Ayurveda Co. aims to grow the OTC segment and become a Rs 100 crore D2C Ayurvedic brand in the next 24 months. “We have been building the beauty and natural makeup segment as the first layer of growth, and want to expand into other categories such as health and wellness. We are firm believers of Ayurveda. The journey was very personal for us,” Param says.

Edited by Teja Lele Desai

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