Over the last few years, we have seen a massive increase in cognisance and consumption of preventive healthcare across all age groups and income levels. A great reflection of this is the 20 million unique monthly searches taking place on Google linked to ‘fitness near me’.
We are also witnessing newer offerings and optimal solutions being designed by traditional businesses and startups to cater to this growing demand.
According to industry studies like FICCI EY report, Redseer Consulting, Global Wellness Institute, IHRSA & Fitternity’s grounds-up study of the Indian retail fitness services market, there are six million active users in India who are spending on an average $350 to $400 annually towards fitness services, amounting to $2.6 billion market size.
Mumbai, for example, has grown from Rs 1,200 crore in sales in 2017 to Rs 2,000 crore in 2019, reflecting the high growth rate India is witnessing across all major metros.
The market size is estimated to hit a whopping $6 billion by 2023. Let’s look at some key trends reflecting strong future opportunities in the fitness market.
Major shift in spending behaviour based on usage
Earlier, Indian fitness enthusiasts would typically visit a gym and were forced to make upfront payments and buy long-term memberships to get started (which was cheaper than buying a shorter one- or three-month package).
Irrespective of how much they used their membership, they were billed for all 365 days creating breakage or under-utilisation of their spends on fitness.
More recently we have seen a new segment of users emerge who we aptly describe as ‘New World Users’. These are users who want to pay or spend based on their utilisation, want flexibility to occasionally/regularly work out at different fitness centres based on their convenience and desire, and are looking for a lower entry barrier to get started.
Based on the consumption data on Fitternity in last 12 months, we have seen 55 percent of these users opt for offerings that are more ‘New World’ in nature, and 45 percent of them opting for the conventional gym/group class membership.
As the ‘New World’ offerings become stronger and more and more users are exposed to them, we believe there will be a major shift in spending patterns in India over the next few years.
Demand for flexibility and variety
With a massive influx of new gyms and fitness classes in most areas, users are now exposed to a slew of new options as against the three to four gyms/yoga classes they had to choose from a few years ago. The decision to join, which was earlier based on pricing alone, has now evolved to understanding what is trending, evaluating the vibe, infrastructure superiority, etc.
It also leads to users shifting from one place to another rapidly based on what seems attractive with little or negligible loyalty towards a particular centre. This is resulting in a major drop in retention rates for fitness centres.
Large sets of users are also preferring alternative options like swimming, outdoor classes, and sports as an occasional change to their fitness routines.
A lot of users are also opting to pay-per-use or buy an aggregated fitness pass to keep their options flexible and not limit themselves to a particular outlet or workout activity.
Increased interest for corporate wellbeing
Corporate wellbeing, which has taken centre stage globally, is a concept that has been picking up steam in India over the last few years. As most MNCs have the corporate wellness mandate being passed on from their global counterparts and increasing thought leadership around wellness in domestic large corporations – we have seen massive increase in corporates sanctioning budgets for wellness or working with partners to curate and enable direct third-party solutions for their employees.
Fitness centres are supporting this trend, leading to better pricing for corporate employees and more holistic corporate wellness programmes.
We foresee five million users entering the fitness ecosystem through corporate wellness initiatives in the next five to seven years.
(Edited by Evelyn Ratnakumar)