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The Fitness Industry At Large

Fitness will no longer be a aspirational activity but a necessity toward preventive health

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The fitness and wellness industry have come a long way over the past decade, with the focus on 'Preventive Health' sitting on the driver's seat. The vertical's sitting within the wellness umbrella are many: personal fitness, mental health, diagnostic testing's (food allergies, cancer marker's etc.), fitness and wellness tech, nutrition and health food products, anti-aging services- to name a few. From being an almost non-existent, unstructured industry in the 90's - it is sitting in a well-established ecosystem today. Key drivers like preventive health, self-gratification and an increased focus on body aesthetics have propelled the fitness industry to grow at an established 18-20 % since 2012 . It is estimated that the fitness industry will cross over USD 1.1 billion in 2018.

When I started my career in Fitness in 1997 they were no colleges in India with a comprehensive curriculum focussing on sports or exercise science. Today sports medicine and exercise science is an offering at most universities. The foray of international gym chains into India have forced the industry to push out certified trainers and side line the 'Akhada' training concept.

Due to a huge capex, higher rentals and the longer return on investment in large format clubs there is a considerable increase in smaller personalised fitness studios across the country. Large clubs focus on new member sales per square foot whilst ignoring client retention due to lack of client engagement and goal achievement. At SUMAYA we have built an integrated eco-system that is helping our clients build, track and achieve their goals keeping member retention high.  To keep high motivation levels for repeat sessions, fitness consumers are relying more and more on tech to track and chart the progress whist sharing it on various social platforms. Many home grown business like small fitness studios or nutritionists are seeking investments or attaching themselves to facilitators like 'Fitternity' gympik etc to reach a larger audience and encash on the wellness boom.

Some interesting insights:
-    7+ million Indians have an active fitness membership.
-    20 million searches are happening on Google for fitness.
-    Less than 5% gyms have web sites and less than 50% are on Google Maps
-    Group classes have emerged as the winners which prove that services and user experience are more important than the facilities.
-    More than 1.25 lakh users have used online platforms to book trial/ workout sessions which was almost nil in 2014.

I foresee the industry in the next five years to trend more toward focusing on increasing customer interaction through various technology driven apps, fitness trackers, online forums etc. A tight entry barrier vis-à-vis qualifications of trainers will ensure a better user experience in gyms. Body weight and Functional workouts will be on a rise with an increasing focus on injury management. An increasing number of people will learn to 'move' for health. The entire fitness ecosystem of clients, providers and facilitators will cross pollinate to grab a overall larger market share. Fitness will no longer be a aspirational activity but a necessity toward preventive health.

 I often say " people wear fitness on their wrist now"!

Disclaimer: The views expressed in the article above are those of the authors' and do not necessarily represent or reflect the views of this publishing house. Unless otherwise noted, the author is writing in his/her personal capacity. They are not intended and should not be thought to represent official ideas, attitudes, or policies of any agency or institution.

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fitness wellness

Sumaya Dalmia

The author is CEO, SD Wellness Private Limited

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