The promising future of the Indian wellness industry

With the increase in popularity of telemedicine and remote-patient monitoring, healthcare and the wellness industry are gaining an aggressive online presence.
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India is a land where opportunities are aplenty, and competition is ever-present, which makes everyday life tedious and constant. This has led to increasing cases of anxiety, depression, high blood pressure, and insomnia, which gave way to the rise of the wellness industry. 

Although the industry captured global attention between 2015 and 2017, a study conducted by McKinsey & Company found that the wellness industry is currently valued at $1.5 trillion globally.

In fact, the report — produced after analysing 7,500 consumers in six countries (including India) — has offered keen insights into consumer behaviour. When it comes to wellness consumers, their trends can be grouped into six categories:

Health: People are investing in many remote medical devices that can constantly monitor their state of well-being. With the increase in popularity in digital wearables, telemedicine, and remote patient monitoring services, this trend is bound to increase.

Fitness: People are exercising more — whether it’s jogging, going to the gym, investing in a pedometer, FitBit, etc.

Nutrition: Dieting has always been a significant part of being healthy. An increase in dietary food, supplements, and nutrition coaches has been observed in recent years.

Aesthetics: With a major chunk of India’s youth getting invested in social media, aesthetic well-being has seen a sharp increase. This includes investments in specific athleisure clothing apparel, skincare products (collagen supplements, face masks), and plastic surgery. 

Sleep: Burning the midnight oil is counterproductive. There has been a steady increase in consumers willing to invest in sleep medications, specialised mobile applications that track their sleep and the state of their sleep, ASMR generating devices, white noise devices, and other products that can enable a consumer to maintain a healthy sleep cycle. 

Mindfulness: Introspection, understanding the body and its processes to the molecular level, and figuring out ways to implement clarity of thought and methods for improving focus have been huge draws for the wellness industry. Further, with central government’s schemes like AYUSH and the introduction of International Day of Yoga by the United Nations, this particular trend has seen enormous growth.

Impact of these trends on the future of the Indian wellness industry

Organic Products

According to APEDA, India has become one of the largest producers of organic products. A growing number are actively investing monthly in organically grown produce, organically processed meat, wood-pressed or cold-pressed oil, cosmetics made from organic materials, and clothes made from pure cotton instead of manufactured materials.

People becoming more conscious of what they put in their bodies has led to a steady increase in organic shops across India. 

Exercise, dieting, and nutritional supplements

From using simple Calcium supplements and energy drinks to adhering to a strict diet regimen, today’s consumers are genuinely worried about falling sick, which has led to an increase in purchasing supplements.

In fact, an increasing number of consumers have started buying vitamin, Zinc, and Iron tablets to shore up immunity. Indians have also begun consuming gluten-free cereal, cold-pressed juices, Kale products, Avocados, and other food products recommended to be healthier alternatives.

We have also become BMI-conscious, and an increasing number of them have started investing in gyms, yoga/cardio classes, exercise-wear, sports wearables, etc. 

Constant increasing demand for oxygen

Even before the second COVID-19 wave, pure oxygen was a necessity due to the rising concerns of pollution in Indian cities. As per the ‘World Air Quality Report, 2020’, 22 of the world’s 30 most polluted cities are in India, with Delhi ranked as the most polluted capital city globally.

Moreover, people who indulge in extreme physical workouts exercise or suffer from high-altitude sickness, need oxygen handy to maintain their wellbeing.

Transitioning to digital platforms

With the increase in popularity of telemedicine and remote-patient monitoring, healthcare and the wellness industry are gaining an aggressive online presence. There are many online exercise videos, fitness, meditation, and motivational apps, power coaches, and so much more.

Investing in social media influencers

With the increase in online dependence, the voice of social media influencers is soon to be gospel when it comes to maintaining a fit body and healthy mind. Much like how mainstream celebrities endorse various products, the wellness industry has seen great rewards in deploying online influencers to support their products.

Alternatives to allopathy

In India, the wellness industry has seen a shift in paradigm, where an increasing number of consumers opt for Siddha or Ayurveda substitutes instead of conventional medicine.

This is seen more in the age group of 40+, which has patients with a long history of high BP, high cholesterol, and other ailments that require continuous monitoring and medication. They feel that the healthier choice is in traditional medicine or treatments like Panchakarma, Ayurveda, or Siddha.

Conventional medication provides them with little to no side effects, which is the primary reason for its increasing popularity. 

India is expected to become a wellness hub in the global community following a 12 percent growth per annum. The Make in India initiative is expected to bring in more investments and opportunities in this sector.

The Ministry of AYUSH, with a separate department for Yoga, has been exempted from service tax. The government has earmarked a budget of around Rs 3,400 crore for the next five years to set up and strengthen Ayush Wellness Centres under the National Ayush Mission. This has sparked an increase in startups and businesses focusing on the wellness sector.

Meanwhile, the global pandemic is also giving rise to a new consumer behaviour called “wellness rebound,” where they are becoming more health-conscious and striving towards regaining their health soon after recovering from an illness.

Considering the aftermath of the pandemic, the aggressive implementation of technology, and the constant consumer market in India, the wellness industry will evolve and expand further with little to no backslide. 

Edited by Suman Singh

(Disclaimer: The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the views of YourStory.)

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