12 Jan 2020

The major factors driving the growth of the wellness market in India are rising disposable incomes, a large population of young people, and increasing incidences of communicable and non-communicable diseases. Changing lifestyle patterns and rapid urbanization are fueling the growth of the wellness sector.

Consumers are becoming aware of the long-term and short-term side effects of using chemical products. This has led to a surge in the usage of alternative medicines, particularly in areas where traditional medicines do not yield results. Ayurveda, Yoga, Naturopathy, Unani, Siddha, and Homeopathy (AYUSH) is the system of alternative medicines in India. India has rich, ancient knowledge in these systems and as a result, is considered a hub for alternative medicines. India’s AYUSH industry comprises a range of segments – alternative medicine, nutrition, preventive and personalized health, workplace wellness, yoga and fitness.

The Government of India is supporting research-related activities in AYUSH by formulating a regulatory framework and building the necessary infrastructure. The Ministry of AYUSH coordinates activities related to AYUSH. In the 2019 Union Budget, the Government increased the allocation to the Ministry of AYUSH by 15% to Rs. 1,939.76 crore up from Rs. 1,692.77 crore from the last fiscal. The Government has also announced a target of setting up 12,500 AYUSH centers in the country.

The support of the Government, focus on quality and standardization, increase in health insurance coverage and Central Government Health Scheme (CGHS) coverage will drive the growth of AYUSH. The Ministry of AYUSH has also proposed to include 19 treatment packages in the Pradhan Mantri Jan Arogya Yojana (PM-JAY) to further promote AYUSH.

Overall, it has opened a slew of opportunities for businesses to capitalize on in the growing wellness sector. Amongst all the different systems, Ayurveda seems to enjoy greater awareness and acceptance. The market was earlier dominated by a few home-grown Fast-Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) companies that offered products as well as services such as Jiva Ayurveda, Kairali Ayurvedic Group, Sri Sri Tatva, and Patanjali Ayurved Limited. Companies in the traditional medicine market initially failed to attract consumers due to lack of appropriate marketing and promotion initiatives. However, several companies such as Dabur India, Himalaya Herbal Healthcare, Baidyanath Group, Emami Group, Hindustan Unilever Limited, and Patanjali Ayurved Limited have now entered the market with innovative products and strategic marketing initiatives as consumer awareness about alternative medicines in rising. As per a report[1] by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), unsurprisingly, India is the largest player in the global Ayurveda market. With products that used to be restricted to hair oils, chyawanprash, etc, now, Ayurvedic ingredients are being widely used in Fast Moving Consumer Goods (FMCG) ranging from shampoos, toothpastes, packaged juices, nutritional supplements, cough syrups, and more. Medicines are regulated by the Ministry of AYUSH and food/supplements are registered with the Food Safety and Standards Authority of India (FSSAI).

Ayurveda is also gaining wider adoption as the India Government is promoting its usage through various awareness programs. Various state governments have also realized the potential of Ayurveda and have come up with industry-friendly policies.

AYUSH is currently a $10 billion market and is expected to grow to a $15 billion market by 2020. As 100% Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) is permitted in the AYUSH sector, it has attracted many domestic & international investors. With the growing potential of the AYUSH sector, several start-ups are also working on innovative ideas to tap this market and serve customers not only in Tier-1 and Tier-2 cities but also in the rural parts of India.

AYUSH has huge potential to promote better health and thus positively impact the Indian economy. It is witnessing a meteoric rise on the back of promotional and educational initiatives by the Government, medical tourism, and consumer awareness regarding the advantages of using alternative medicines.

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