The WHO defines health as “a state of complete physical, mental, and social well-being and not merely the absence of disease or infirmity”. This explains why the health industry is not just limited to providing medical services and remedial care.
This expansion of the industry is linked very closely to another industry, that of beauty and fashion. The beauty and fashion industry has witnessed the rise of another associate sector, which is the wellness industry.
According to a report by Price Waterhouse Coopers and FICCI, the wellness industry is worth 490 billion and this figure is only expected to increase in the future. This industry has witnessed tremendous growth in the past and the demand for such services are only increasing.
The reasons for this are many. Mostly, the primary consumers of such services have been young working professionals roughly belonging to the age bracket of 25-35 years. This can be attributed to their greater financial independence. Further, with disposable incomes, they can take their own call to determine their spending priorities.
Interestingly, there are indications that the average age of consumers using these services has started decreasing. There is an increasing pressure on teenagers and young people to look good. The media too feeds in such images of ‘perfect bodies’ and ‘beautiful faces’.
Globalization and the increasing awareness about different types of available services have made youngsters realize that any defects in the body or in their looks can easily be rectified. And many of them believe that correction of these defects is indeed important.
At this point, it is important to note as to what all are the components of the wellness industry. The wellness industry includes spas, slimming & fitness sectors, salon & cosmetic therapy services, alternate therapies among others. As the need to look smart and attractive has increased, so has the demand for these services. Such services are not just serving enhancement needs but also curative needs which include maintaining a disease-free and healthy lifestyle.
Cut-throat competition, fast moving lives and stress have made lifestyle diseases very common. These services help to provide hygienic rejuvenation at a little extra cost which shows that high-income young Indians are slowly choosing expensive health solutions.
From spas to slimming centres to non-invasive surgery procedures, there is an entire gamut of services that the wellness industry can offer. What is very interesting to note is that these industries have flourished by taking advantage of ancient Indian therapies like yoga, meditation, Ayurveda etc. They have made these tried and tested therapies fashionable, once again.
In fact, a lot of tourism in India is fuelled by the wellness industry as foreigners like to experience these treatments while being in the land of Ayurveda itself. This also shows how the wellness industry has benefitted allied industries like the hospitality industry. A case in point would be spas owned by hotels in states like Kerala etc.
Most players of this industry aim at expanding business by diversifying. While the industry is only going to boom in the future, a challenging path lies ahead. The biggest roadblock is the paucity of trained personnel for this sector. To cope with this lack of trained human resources, the industry often hires manpower from allied industries like health, but would prefer to have its own in-house workers.
There is also a need for educational institutions that provide vocational training in specific areas for this sector. Another interesting trend is the growth of wellness-related media content, such as online portals or TV channels that focus on issues like yoga, exercise and fitness.
While the industry will continue to grow, the two key factors that impede its growth would be availability of trained personnel and effective monitoring of the industry and keeping quality checks.
It has been an interesting journey so far and this is what makes the wellness industry a sector to look out for in the time to come.