New Delhi: Gone are the days when health and fitness supplements were considered as a must for sportsmen to enhance their stamina.
With increasing consciousness about health, products on nutrition and wellness are now at par with cosmetics and personal care products.
The Indian Direct Selling Association (IDSA) says Wellness has emerged as a leading product category contributing to the highest share of sales leaving behind cosmetics and personal care products.
Statistics reveal that a majority of people aren`t willing to give up their favourite vitamin, even if they are cutting back in other popular areas like gymming or yoga.
MLM (multi level marketing) companies such as Amway, Herbalife, Modicare, Hindustan Lever Network and Forever Living are now making big ticket investments in India in the nutrition and wellness sector.
Direct marketing has come off age in India from the days when direct selling companies entered the market in the mid-1990s. Then the top-selling product category was educational products.
In just over a decade, the trend has changed to wellness as the leading product category with cosmetics at No 2.
A leading investment firm in the health, wellness and fitness industries, JD Ford & Company estimates that the health and wellness market segment represents USD 600 billion globally, and growing.
Today, weight management and nutrition is gaining ground rapidly, earning about 40 per cent, according to the IDSA.
Chavi Hemanth, Secretary General, IDSA says, "Wellness is the category which will grow in Direct Selling Industry. This is because it provides a channel to the customers in which these products are well demonstrated and explained in a face to face manner to them. In the Indian market, the demand for wellness products like, health supplements, meal replacements and health drinks, etc. Has increased and will keep on increasing."
Explaining the reason behind this emerging trend Chavi says, "Those under the age group of 60 - 80 years require health products as they are more prone to illness. People under the age group 30 - 50 years today have become proactive and concerned about their health.
"Even when we observe children in school, we will find that now a days maximum children are found overweight and obese as compared to children found in earlier days. This shows the gradual increase in the consumption for the health products," she says.
Amway India has taken note of the trend and has 23 nutrition-based products in its portfolio of 80 products.
"We have seen this category perform strongly over the years. Our product `Nutralite` alone contributes to 60 per cent of our turnover. We are soon going to introduce ageing category in our range of wellness products. It will include ageing supplements for liver health and bone health" says Yogendra Khanna, Senior Vice President, Legal and corporate Afffairs, Amway India.
According to Deepika Malik, a nutritionist, the burden of bad eating habits, stressful lifestyle and lack of exercise is pushing people towards health and wellness products.
"The purchasing power of people has increased, the variety of food available is mind boggling and today the consumer knows that it is better to treat oneself than visiting the doctor at the end of the month," she says.
Research indicates that the interest for health products among Indian consumers is very high, though awareness is low.
"If we talk about the market the real potential for wellness lies in the Indian market. But we still need to focus on the fact that wellness is beyond just good health and includes mental and emotional wellness as well.
"One of the major fact behind this growth in the wellness market is the increase in awareness and social sanction of the wellness products from bottom to top", says P Devdas, Director, K-Link Health care, a major player in the Wellness market.
`Wealth in wellness` is becoming the essence of opportunities for enterprenurs too.