By Gulshan Bakhtiani
The wellness market in India has been on a quiet yet steady rise over the past few years, and if FICCI’s latest estimates are to go by, the industry is valued at a whopping Rs 490 billion. There are a host of factors that are responsible for driving growth in this sector. The rise in disposable incomes and entry of private-sector investors in the wellness market, are chief among them. But the most important reason why the wellness market in India is witnessing such a meteoric rise is due to a paradigm shift in people’s attitudes towards health.
For the longest time, Indians viewed health from sickness-and-care perspective i.e. healthcare professionals was only resorted to in times of illness. However, with the Covid-19 pandemic having put a premium on our body’s immune defences, people are beginning to understand the benefits of preventive healthcare and overall well-being. Wellness is now being looked at as a comprehensive and holistic approach towards the betterment of our mind and body.
This shift in attitude is mainly driven by India’s young millennial population for whom health and happiness takes priority. In fact, according to Numb Research – an Indian market research firm – India’s 443 million millennials spend an average of Rs 4000 per month on health and wellness services and products. Added to this is the government’s push towards developing new models for health and wellness that are rooted in traditional Indian medical knowledge. The government’s move to set up the Ministry of AYUSH (Ayurveda, Yoga, Unani, Siddha, and Homoeopathy) is indicative of this move towards boosting the health and wellness market in India.
All of the above changes will prove to be catalysts for two major trends: consumer-centricity and high level of customisation. Since consumers will be the ones in the driver’s seat dictating terms for product development, retailers and wellness product manufacturers will have no choice but to adopt a consumer-centric approach. Demand for products that suit different lifestyles and diet requirements such as Keto, diabetic-friendly snacks, fortified foods, immunity boosting products etc. will be the trend. The demand for such products has already been on the rise, this has been reflected in the increasing availability of gluten-free cereals, cold pressed juices and much more.
In addition to this, advances in the medical field such as predictive genetic testing will also push people towards taking preventive health care more seriously. Armed with more information about future risks for illness and diseases, an increasing number of people will look towards fortified foods that are rich in micronutrients into their diet. This will also lead to a blurring of lines between medicinal products and food items because more and more wellness products will blend the benefits of nutraceutical-style supplements with conventional fortified foods.
All of this has resulted in the wellness industry to sit up and take notice of the shifting consumer preference and socio-economic trends. The focus of major industry players will thus be to move towards more personalised products and services that encapsulate the true meaning of wellness — self-care for the mind, body, and soul.
The author is founder and director, Wellness Forever