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Is the Wellness Industry in the Pink of Health? India's wellness market is estimated at Rs 490 billion, and wellness services alone comprise 40 per cent of the market. In addition, it is expected that the industry will grow by 20-30 per cent year-on-year.

By Namrata Kath Hazarika

Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own.

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Wellness and beauty industry is one of the fastest growing industries in India today. Increasing emphasis on a healthy and wholesome lifestyle has been a springboard for the industry. At present, the share of the wellness industry in India is still less than two per cent as compared to its performance in international market. With the active involvement of the government and private participants, the industry can create a visible impact at a global scale.

The wellness industry is one of the emerging industries in India. It is the latest buzz in town! In fact, the government has given special focus on the industry in its "Make in India' campaign. The spotlight is on the expansion and spreading awareness. As the prospects of the industry continue to look very bright, the players are adopting ways to sustain growth and thrive. Today, India's wellness market is estimated at Rs 490 billion, and wellness services alone comprise 40 per cent of the market. In addition, it is expected that the industry will grow by 20-30 per cent year-on-year.

Countless Challenges

Lack of proper training and unskilled manpower are hurting the industry. There is a huge need for skilled manpower in the industry. Due to this, India's beauty and wellness industry is not able to scale up. CK Kumaravel, Managing Director, Naturals Beauty Salon India Pvt Ltd, says, "We are not able to scale up our businesses in India. Moreover, we are not able to promote our products in the international market; whereas lots of multinational products have come to India and have scaled up. They have been able to capture the market in India because they have a process to run a business. In India, we are lagging behind in it."

He says India's ayurvedic industry could not reach out to the potential market due to its limited scope for expansion. Similarly, the beauty industry faces shortage of skilled workforce. In fact, employers face difficulty in retaining the existing manpower. "Moreover, products are not packaged well to attract international consumers. India needs to learn and then promote the industry," he adds.

Sandeep Ahuja, Managing Director, VLCC Healthcare Ltd, says, "India needs to improve its service delivery standards and focus on providing quality products. We are taking steps in addressing challenges. Actually, the industry is moving very fast and scaling it up is a challenge. There is a need for investment to operate and provide services in the wellness industry."

Industry stalwarts say that the lack of IT knowledge, trust, capital access, research and innovation are also hurting the industry. "The foundation of a company can happen with quality education.There is a need to teach and train people according to the requirements of the industry. Education should be given to service providers at large," says Jawed Habib, Founder, Jawed Habib Hair and Beauty Pvt Ltd.

Industry experts opine that India is appointing workers from Thailand just on the basis of professional certificates. These workers are functioning on the tourist visas. Currently, there are 2,500 Thailand workers employed in the Indian wellness industry. "We need to train Indian workers and create employment in the country," says Jatin Walia, Chairman and President, Association of Wellness Ayurveda and Spa.

Scope & Augmentation

Currently, India's spa industry is expanding. According to a report, the spa segment is around Rs 110 billion and will grow at the rate of 20 per cent in the coming years. In India, there are more than 2,300 spas that generate around $400 million annual revenue. Moreover, it is expected that there will be over 700 new spas in India. Arpit Sharma, Chief Operating Officer, Seven Seas Spa, says, "Earlier, spa treatment was meant for elite class, but slowly it has been becoming a part of the lifestyle of the upper and middle class people. Spa is only one part of the whole wellness forte."

He further says, "We are expanding our services in the market and will open new spa centers in the country eventually. At the moment, people are experimenting in the wellness industry." In the last decade, the day spa sector grew substantially. "We are planning to expand our services through our mobile spa activity. We are customising our services in a big van and will send it to a customer's home or place on booking. We have already planned the road map," he says.

Among all spa services existing in the market, there is a growing popularity of medical spa in India. Medical spa is completely treatment based and many hospitals are providing the medical spa treatment. Many hospitals, including Seven Hills and Fortis, are providing medical spa treatment in India.

Traditional Medicines

Moreover, there is a huge gap in the promotion of India's traditional and allopathic medicines. The main challenge for India's ayurvedic medicines is that there are no hospitals and doctors available to recommend the right medications. Gita Ramesh, Joint Managing Director, Kairali Ayurvedic Group, says, "There will be a boom in the traditional medicine industry. We are trying to push the industry and take it to the international level. The prime minister has also decided to take this traditional science seriously. Today, Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha and Homeopathy (AYUSH) industry is at Rs 147 billion and if proper focus is given, it will grow further."

She says the problem in India is the lack of skilled manpower in traditional medicine industry. There is also a need to increase the plantation of herbs for producing such medicines.

What Next?

The government should formulate special policies for the wellness industry to boost growth. They should promote the existing schemes or enact new schemes altogether. The newly instituted AYUSH Ministry is one such initiative of the government to promote wellness.

KS Rao, Deputy Chief Executive Officer, Khadi & Village Industries Commission (KVIC), says, "The Ministry of MSME has two schemes to boost the growth of the wellness industry. The Prime Minister Employment Generation Program (PMEGP) is one scheme through that we set up micro enterprises and generate potential employment. The Scheme of Fund for Regeneration of Traditional Industries (SFURTI) is another scheme of the MSME Ministry that can help the wellness industry at the micro level. As far as the KVIC is concerned, our strength is the traditional industry. We should also look for a professional marketing model."

The government has approved to revamp SFURTI with modified norms for the continuation in the 12th Five Year Plan.

"We want the government to focus on the growth of the beauty and wellness industry. The future of the wellness industry is bright. We want the government to provide certain perks to the industry," concludes Walia.

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