When we look back on the evolution of the fitness industry in India, it is fascinating to see how the demand for fitness products and services has grown by leaps and bounds over the last decade. The inflection point that the sector is currently at, points towardsa lot of positive developments in the future. The advent of technology and the democratisation of information has been one of the many crucial factors that have led to the surge in consumers taking greater interest in fitness and actively seeking products and services to help them remain fit.Most products and services in the market today are geared towards providing consumers with new and exciting ways to maintain good health and well-being. While many of these people visit gyms and fitness clubs to get in better shape or gain more strength, those with thewant to become more fit and lead more active lifestyles are discovering fun, engaging, and off-beat fitness activities like Zumba, Pilates, MMA, kickboxing, aerobics, etc. On the other hand, the rise of professional sports means that fitness products and solutions focused on athletes are rising steadily in the market, indicating a substantial opportunity for some of the emerging, as well as established players in the country.
The Indian fitness industry: Rise in technology and the evolution of consumers
The fitness industry in India is largely unorganised and lacks a definite structure to differentiate between diverse product and service segments. Until a few years ago, the fitness industry was dominated by a handful of large players, be it in terms of gyms and fitness centres or even fitness equipment. But this situation is changing gradually with the entry of new small players in the market, who are leveraging technology to create and delivera gamut of services and products. Several start-ups in the fitness sector are now targeting urban consumers across various age groups to market a range of solutions depending on what they need. This includes everything from wearable fitness devices, digital platforms where people can sign up for open gym memberships, to even state-of the-art fitness equipment. With the entry of technology and digitisation in the fitness domain, the current structure of the market isin the midst of a major overhaul, making way for more consolidation in the market.
Access to fitness through the internet and smartphones has been one of the most critical factors in the surge in demand for health & fitness products and services. Mobile app-based services allow people to schedule their training and workout sessions at the gyms, and the time of day that they prefer.This level of flexibility is prompting more and more individuals to get involved in fitness despite busy schedules and at a much lower cost than they would generally pay for a conventional gym membership. There is also an increase in strength, energy and stamina that comes with working out regularly, making fitness and strength training extremely popular among young urban women and men.
The Indian fitness market: Size and Scope
At the end of FY2018, revenues in the Indianfitness market amounted to USD 908million. Further growth in the segment, expected at a CAGR of 9.3% between 2018 and 2022, is expected to take the total market value to a whopping USD 1,296 million in 2022.Revenue is expected to show an annual growth rate (CAGR 2018-2022) of 9.3 % resulting in a market volume of US$1,296m in 2022.However, a fact worth noting is that a major portion of these revenues will be driven by the consumption of fitness wearables.
Simultaneously, the number of upscale fitness centresis growingat a pace similar to the rapid rise in disposable income among consumers between the ages of 20 to 45 years old. The Indian fitness industry is also helping bring about a much-needed revolution in the country that’s triggered by the increasing number of cases of obesity, diabetes, and heart disease. This is also one of the key reasons behind the sudden surge in the number of weight loss products available in the market, as well as the spike in health club and gym memberships. Spending money on gym memberships, which was earlier perceived to be a luxury, is now becoming a way of life for several people. Furthermore, there is an increasing number of people in tier 2 and tier 3 cities looking for wellness and fitness solutions, with most men opting for muscle-building training and women for cardio-vascular and strength training.
The future of fitness in India
A new corporate culture wherein companies provide fully-equipped gyms and health clubs to employees in the office is enabling many people to look at fitness in a new light– as a fun way to destress after a long day at work rather than a task that must be completed. The hospitality industry is also following the trend, with hotels in smaller cities providing gym facilities to guests. Prompted by this trend of greater demand for fitness amenities, gyms, health clubs have become almost standard features at new residential complexes that are being built, not only in metros and tier 1 cities, but in tier 2 cities as well. At the same time, there is also a greater demand among consumers for home gym equipment and services being sold through online portals and mobile apps, along with the ability to access gym trainers, fitness experts, and nutritionists etc.
Organised players, global companies, and home-grown start-ups in the fitness segment are affecting greater consolidation in the market, and giving rise to newer business models and revenue streams. The unique combination ofdigitisation and fitness is allowing Indian consumers today to enjoy easier access to convenient tech-driven services and products. Moreover, people are also increasingly becoming aware of the many merits of working out regularly, such as reducing stress, anxiety, and depression, and keeping other diseases at bay.All of this points towards a brighter future for India’s fitness industry, while enabling consumers to lead healthier lives.
The article has been penned down by Ramesh Raja, the Founder Director at ACME Fitness