Fitness and wellness have been one of the most upcoming sectors in the Indian and the global commercial context. The country’s fitness services market is valued at USD 2.6 billion. Annually, the users are spending in the range of USD 350 to USD 400. Until a few years ago, the fitness industry was unorganised and fragmented and the fitness offerings were restricted to urban areas. Additionally, the affordability and accessibility of these services were restricted to the upper-middle and upper class. Entry of organized players in the market, rapid urbanization, deep smartphone and internet penetration, and high disposable incomes have given an impetus to the growth of the industry.
Demand drivers to the industry’s growth include a growing youth population, growing urbanisation, increasing participation, rise in disposable incomes, changing lifestyles and social media influence.
India’s population is among the youngest in an ageing world. Over 20% of the population in India falls under the age group of 15-24 and 37% of the population falls under the age group of 15-34. Youth is the target group for the industry, and hence contributes to a significant growth driver. According to a UN survey, 41% of the country’s population is expected to reside in urban areas by 2030. This would mean a higher demand and spending for services, including greater awareness of fitness services and general health consciousness due to a higher probability of lifestyle induced disorders.
The fitness industry has long been dominated by men. However, the trend is changing with women constituting 45% of the gym membership in the country. They are also increasingly taking up leadership roles such as fitness trainers, instructors, influencers and entrepreneurs.
The changing lifestyle patterns such as a shift to sedentary lifestyle are bringing behavioural shifts among the population of the country. This is posing a negative effect on the health of the individuals, and consequently leading to a rise in lifestyle related disorders. These include poor diet intake, rising alcohol consumption, increasing stress levels and lack of sleep, among others.
Social media has played a vital role in the glorification of fitness. People regularly upload photos and videos of themselves working out. This has an immediate inspirational effect on individuals which motivates them to engage in physical activity. Thus, today, living an active lifestyle and regularly exercising have become a trend. Additionally, there are many accounts dedicated to fitness enthusiasts to focus on workout regimes and diets, making social media a source for fitness and diet-related education.
The supply side factors that are driving the growth of the fitness industry include development in technology, personalised experiences and entrepreneurial mindset.
With developments in technology, the equipment used in gyms and fitness centres are getting more advanced. This is driving the major players in the industry to invest in cutting-edge technology and be up-to-date with the technology used by their competitors. Personalisation has become a priority for a majority of consumers across all industries. There are significant developments in the fitness industry such as creation of fitness trackers that collect physiological data to provide personalized sleep and fitness information to the users. Thus, real time, personalized instruction using artificial intelligence (AI) is contributing to the rapid growth of the sector.
The need to create and foster entrepreneurial mindset is growing in the country and entrepreneurship is emerging as one of the fastest growing fields across the globe. This is driving individuals to explore newer opportunities in the sector which is eventually leading to the opening up of newer formats such as integrated fitness centres, digital fitness and hybrid fitness options in the domain.