In the Pink of Health – Wellness sector

3 Years agoFrom being focused on traditional medicine and preventive practices such as Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Siddha to a more multi-dimensional concept of physical, mental and emotional well-being.

India’s wellness industry has evolved over the years, from being focussed on traditional medicine and preventive practices such as Ayurveda, Naturopathy and Siddha to a more multi-dimensional concept of physical, mental and emotional well-being. In the Financial Year (FY) 2015, the wellness industry in India was valued at USD 13 billion.1 With a spike in health risks and growing need for quality healthcare, the sector is poised to grow at a Compound Annual Growth Rate (CAGR) of nearly 12% for the next five years and reach USD 23 billion by 2020.2

Government’s consistent efforts to promote wellness have led to a resurgence of interest in traditional medicinal and health practices. In November 2014, the Department of Indian system of medicine and homoeopathy (ISM&H) was elevated to an independent ministry, AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha and Homoeopathy). Ayurveda is the most predominant of all forms and is widely recognised for its holistic approach to tackle health issues. With its wealth of 6,000-7,000 medicinal plants, India is the second-largest exporter of Ayurvedic and herbal products in the world.3

The wellness industry is being driven further by a range of factors including India’s young population, rising disposable incomes and an increase in the occurrence of both communicable and non-communicable diseases. Strong economic growth in the last few years has resulted in a transition in dietary habits, which has led to a steep rise in lifestyle-related ailments. According to a report released by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), one in four Indians is likely to die of non-communicable diseases by the age of 70.4 Never before have Indians been more conscious about how fit they are and how they look. Changing lifestyle patterns and nutritional status have been contributing to bringing the wellness industry to the forefront. Rapid urbanization is further fuelling this trend. India’s urban population, as per census 2011 was 31.16% growing at a CAGR of 1.2%. Urban infrastructure is being re-vamped with the government planning smart cities. All these factors together are shaping the future of wellness industry in India.

Currently, the industry comprises a range of segments –alternative medicine, healthy eating and nutrition, preventive and personalised health, workplace wellness, yoga and fitness. To be more precise, the key sub-segments in the sector are beauty care and nutritional care which constitute the maximum industry share at the moment and this is likely to continue to be the scenario in 2020. Fitness centers and Alternative Therapies are catching up and Rejuvenation too constitutes a small share in the market. With significant scope for penetration in areas like nutrition, rejuvenation and fitness, the Indian wellness market is a huge business opportunity waiting to be harnessed. Be it Physical Wellness, Emotional Wellness or Social Wellness, the sector is evolving in its various dimensions. The sector primarily comprises of Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises (MSME) that account for 80% of the market share.5 Almost 75% of the product market is occupied by over-the-counter products such as digestives, health food and pain balms.

Given the vast potential and growing popularity of the industry, the government has been making some significant strides in nurturing the wellness ecosystem in the country. The National AYUSH Mission (NAM) was launched in 2014 to provide better access to AYUSH services, improve the quality of education at AYUSH educational institutions and facilitate the adoption of quality standards of AYUSH drugs in States and Union Territories. Government’s mHealth initiatives such as mCessation and mDiabetes aim to encourage people to quit tobacco and manage diabetes respectively. In addition, multiple mobile apps, like the Swasthya Bharat App and national level portals like the National Health Portal which provide general information on health and diseases have been initiated in the last one year.6

To promote the holistic approach to health and well-being, the Ministry of AYUSH observes the International Day of Yoga on 21st June every year. In 2016, an estimated 50 lakh people participated in yoga training programmes in India over a period of one month.7

With the government’s consistent efforts to strengthen and popularise alternative systems of medicine and incredible opportunities for growth across various segments supported by increasing awareness and changing lifestyles, India is all set to become a global wellness hub in the coming years.


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