‘Want to lose weight? 5 kilos in 10 days!!! Contact us today.’
‘Wrinkles around your eyes! We help them vanish.’
Do they ring any bell?
These are some of the many ‘wellness’ advertisements that one encounters every day.
Wellness refers to an ideal balance between the mind and body that results in overall well-being. Apart from being healthy, wellness focuses on looking good, possessing a slim and fit body, and having an energy level to undertake the pressures and stress of today’s world. Wellness is a segment that has been growing steadily over the years and knowingly or unknowingly has quietly become a part of everyone’s lifestyle.
Evolution of wellness industry in India
India has always had wellness as a focus area. After all it is the land of Ayurveda and Yoga – both of which have been promoting healthy life styles since early days. Today, as India continues to ride the wave of globalization, the awareness about wellness has only grown.
With high profile jobs, rising life styles and constant inflow of money, people are now eagerly focusing on maintaining their wellness quotient to be at par with peers and competition. The society has suddenly become more demanding and everyone – right from husband, wife, children, parents have multiple roles to perform to perfection.
Continuing rise of cases where young men and women have succumbed to death under stress, pressure and anxiety have also generated an amount of caution among people, leading them to focus more on their wellbeing.
Rising to the need, the wellness service providers have also shifted gears from providing traditional products to offering wellness products, preventive health care and personalised and customised services.
The wellness industry in India has come a long way since 1990, when it was a heavily unstructured sector. As per a study conducted by Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI) and a leading global consultant firm, today the industry is regulated to a certain extent and comprises providers, consumers, facilitators, adjacent industries and the government.
Consumers are the end-users who now look at wellness as part of their lives and are ready to spend money to look good and feel healthy. While providers refer to those who cater to every need of the consumer and give them varied wellness services and products. Adjacent industries are those that are cashing on the growth of the wellness industry like the healthcare, gaming, retail, and the media companies. Facilitators are those who encourage wellness among people like the schools, employers, etc. Government acts as provider, a regulator, a facilitator – all rolled into one.
The wellness industry in India has been growing constantly over the years and is all set to touch INR 1 lakh crore by 2015. Even with this growth, India represents only 2 percent of the global wellness industry. This shows the immense potential that exists in this sector.
The wellness industry in India has been able to successfully integrate traditional medication and home remedies to its business model, making it more of a necessity among people. No wonder then that the segment continued to grow despite the economic slowdown, where people never stopped spending money on wellness products and services.
The products stem from the three segments that the wellness industry can be divided into: Hygiene products that concentrate on the basic need to keep one clean; Curative needs that act as preventive health measures, cure diseases and help one maintain a healthy life style; and enhancement that aims at improving personal appearance and confidence.
Beauty care on top
As per the study, beauty care dominated the entire wellness industry, amounting to INR 49,000 crore, which is about 50 percent of the share. This was followed by alternate therapy amounting to about INR 21,000 crore and the health and wellness food and beverages segment that amounted to about INR 27,000 crore.
Not just revenue, but the sector has been generating jobs. In 2015, it is expected to throw up about 3 million jobs. With the government taking keen interest and the private companies eager to make the most, the wellness sector is all set to grow.
Challenges facing the industry
Manpower: One of the biggest challenges is the availability of manpower. While there is a demand for about 6 lakh skilled personnel in the coming years in this sector, the availability of quality manpower is a concern. Moreover, the sector has also witnessed the mushrooming of unqualified professionals, making it difficult to differentiate the genuine from the others.
Consumers: The consumers face the challenge of ensuring they pick up quality products and services. The market is rife with players who may not be adhering to quality standards and it is a daunting task for the consumers to be aware of them.
Service providers: As the service providers try to cope up with the challenges of being an unregulated segment in certain areas of services, simultaneously they have to face the brunt of rising competition. Every nook and corner seems to have an outlet providing wellness services. This added with lack of uniformity in costs, which is rising steadily, puts the providers under lot of stress.
Facilitators: Media players face the challenge of generating a ’wellness’ business model. As the wellness sector is very localised, the media companies have difficulty in organising customer-centric events across regions in a cost-effective manner.
Government: With wellness being an unregulated sector, the government finds it difficult to monitor and audit the players and to caution the consumers about the wrong players.
The future of wellness industry in India is very bright. It has immense business potential waiting to be tapped. With a growing lifestyle, more people are becoming conscious of this industry and availing its services in various forms. The industry is poised to grow alright, but the concern is that it continues to grow in an unregulated fashion. If this sustains, the challenges ahead will be numerous.
For this, among other steps, the government will have to quickly intervene and ensure services are regulated wherever possible. It has to ensure that proper monitoring systems are in place, audits are conducted regularly and only people who are certified are allowed to offer services in this segment. The government has to install a quality mechanism that can genuinely rate the players. Investment also has to be made in education infrastructure so that quality professionals make way to provide skilled services, providing further impetus to the industry.