The Indian wellness industry was estimated at close to Rs85,000 crore in financial year 2014-15 and is expected to grow at a compounded annual growth rate (CAGR) of nearly 12% for the next 5 years. The industry can achieve about Rs1.5 trillion by FY20, according to a recent report by Ficci and EY.
The report Value Added Service – Wellness and Preventive Healthcare stated that wellness will be a key growth driver of health insurance in India.
India’s population today is relatively young (due to the high birth rates) with about 47% of the population expected to enter the elderly phase down the line.
Health characteristics, which include the burden of diseases, productive years lost, and cost of health care—among others—are key drivers of economic growth for emerging markets like India.
While the wellness and preventive health care sector as a whole is expected to nearly double by 2020, some sub-segments will outperform others. While beauty care and nutritional care would retain their share, fitness and rejuvenation would significantly increase their market share.
With the progress of time, wellness as a concept has taken up a multi-dimensional definition, encompassing the individual’s desire for one’s own well-being, uniqueness and collective welfare.
Primarily influenced by societal changes and individual’s lifestyle trends, this revolution has also been enhanced by external factors such as globalization and a greater awareness of the need for wellness among individuals.
Wellness players, in alignment with above trends, have responded by shifting their focus from traditional offerings like curative health care and value-oriented mass products to new-generation offerings like preventive health care, luxury products and personalized services.
However, the end customer reach of the wellness is still limited due to the regulated environment of the insurance or health care providers and the regulators have now taken their first steps to encourage wellness and this will drive today’s fragmented industry to become a marketplace, providing a common platform for various wellness aggregators.
As the government takes steps to align itself with the ecosystem, it is important to simultaneously address the challenges of design and implementation, which outline the effectiveness of the wellness offerings and the ease with which they are made available to each of the entities in the value chain, to adopt to the shift.
For example, pairing a life insurance policy with a wellness plan encourages customers to take action to improve their personal health as well as reduce their premiums.
There has been a major epidemiological transition in India in the last 25 years, and the focus has shifted from communicable to non-communicable diseases (NCDs).
The major reason for this is the change in economic conditions, resulting in a shift towards an unhealthy lifestyle.
Currently, India is suffering from high morbidity and low mortality, caused by the triple burden of infectious, communicable and NCDs.
In India, the occurrence of NCDs and the resultant morbidity becomes even more prevalent in an aging population. Chronic NCDs have increased over five-fold in the aging population, especially for those above 60 years.
Primarily, there is a growing concern to address the increasing burden of NCDs, which are responsible for two-thirds of the total morbidity burden and over half of deaths.
Recognizing the gravity of situation, in 2013–14 the government started the National Programme for Prevention and Control of Cancer, Diabetes, Cardiovascular Diseases and Strokes (NPCDCS).
Currently the NPCDCS programme is being implemented in 35 states and union territories of the country, and is expected to cover the entire country by the end of 2017.
However, this initiative is very recent and it will take significant effort and time to arrest the growth of non-communicable diseases in India.
Edited excerpts of a Ficci-EY report.