Wellness, as a concept, is not a new one, but somehow got insanely popular over the course of the pandemic. Having been forced to live unusual lifestyles during the lockdown and the terrifying period that followed, consumers have now suddenly started viewing wellness through a broader and sophisticated lens, encompassing a lot more than just fitness and nutrition.
The wellness market, as stated by McKinsey and Company in one of its latest reports, currently stands at $1.5 trillion, with an annual growth of 5 to 10 percent. This implies that although the industry had quite a late start on the global front, it has been able to garner considerable attention from consumers, and their interest seems to be growing every day.
The survey titled ‘Future of Wellness’, conducted on 7,500 consumers across six countries including India, further reveals detailed insights on consumer behavior, as well as trends in the wellness market. Based on the analysis, consumer trends in the wellness segment can be grouped into six categories:
Health - Although it is considered the most traditional category that has to do with wellness, its modern implications are not limited to just medicine and supplements. People are highly interested in its current version that also includes consumer medical devices, as well as personal health trackers, which allow users to constantly monitor their state of well-being. With the popularity of digital wearables, telemedicine, and remote patient monitoring services constantly growing, this trend is definitely here to stay.
Fitness - Over the years during the pandemic, fitness has grown to become one category to witness unprecedented demand. More and more people have started trying to achieve fitness goals as they have now realized the connection between fitness and good health, which is obviously a priority, given the times we are living in.
Nutrition - Nutrition has always been significant for wellness. But owing to the growing health concerns in recent years, people are observed to acknowledge its importance now more than ever by purchasing organically produced dietary food and supplements that fulfill their wellness goals, as well as subscribing to nutrition coaches, and more.
Aesthetics - With social media growing to be an integral part of life for a major chunk of Indian youth, aesthetic well-being has also become a point of focus in recent years. This comparatively new interest is giving way for investments in specific athleisure clothing apparel, skincare products, as well as plastic surgery.
Mindfulness - Understanding one’s body and its processes at the molecular level through introspection, and achieving clarity of thought, and discovering methods to focus are also a few of the areas within the wellness spectrum that are drawing much attention. The growth of this trend has been promoted further by the central government’s schemes like AYUSH, along with the introduction of the International Day of Yoga by the United Nations.
One of the major impacts of these trends on the future of the Indian wellness industry, according to APEDA is, India has become one of the largest producers of organic products. With consumers becoming increasingly conscious of what they put in their bodies, there are massive monthly investments in organically grown produce, organically processed meat, wood-pressed or cold-pressed oil, cosmetics made from organic materials, and clothes made from pure cotton instead of manufactured materials.
It has similarly given rise to the demand for nutrition supplements, vegan food, and other healthier food options, along with a growth in demand for gyms, yoga/ cardio classes, exercise wear, sports wearables, etc. The increasing popularity of digital healthcare, as well as fitness, has also gained the wellness industry an aggressive online presence with innumerable online videos of fitness training, meditation, and so much more.
Furthermore, in India, the wellness industry has seen a shift in paradigm, where an increasing number of consumers, majorly in the age group of 40+ opt for Siddha or Ayurveda substitutes instead of conventional medicine. The group of consumers mostly has patients with a long history of high BP, high cholesterol, and other ailments that require continuous monitoring and medication.
The Future: Will the Industry Sustain?
Taking the growing trends into account, India is all set to become a wellness hub in the global community following a 12 percent growth per annum. The sector is expected to receive more investments and opportunities going forward, owing to the government’s Make in India initiative.
Reportedly, to better promote wellness in the country, the Ministry of AYUSH, with a separate department for Yoga, has been exempted from service tax. Furthermore, the government has also allotted a budget of around Rs 3,400 crore for the next 5 years in order to set up and strengthen Ayush Wellness Centers under the National Ayush Mission. This has boosted the number of startups and businesses focusing on the wellness sector.
Additionally, coming in as good news for the wellness market amidst the global pandemic is the new consumer behavior called “wellness rebound”, which translates to how people are becoming more health-conscious triggered by the growing threats to general health, and consequently striving to do anything in their power to regain their health soon after recovering from an illness. This, and the other revolutionizing trends emerging in the industry, give a clear indication of a promising future ahead
Given the aftermath of the pandemic, including aggressive implementation of technology, and the likes are here to say for a long time, the wellness industry presents huge potential to evolve and expand further without having to look back.