Pune city is known for its tranquil weather and has a population of well-versed, higher income group of people. The city, which was the new fad among real estate investor, has attracted wellness entrepreneurs as well. A report.
Located in the Sahayadri Hills, near the west coast in Maharashtra, Pune is a fascinating city with luring climate that suits everybody all year round. Apart from the serene weather conditions, the city is also renowned for its infrastructure, colleges and Indian Army citizens.
Nevertheless, in the recent past, the city has attracted rapid real estate growth and infrastructure development. The tranquilweather conditions of the city have offered adequate opportunities for wellness entrepreneurs to unleash.
“With the sustained growth of Pune’s hospitality industry, there is simultaneous growth of health and wellness business. Cashing on the increasing purchasing power of people and stress-related ailments, health and rejuvenation resorts or spas based on Indian traditional Ayurveda and massage are mushrooming all over the Pune city. In a radius of 2km, there are close to 12 spas with 60 per cent of standalone presence in the market. In our spa, we have regular guest and residents, out of which, 75 per cent of the guests are local residents,” said Shul Ambwani, Front Office Manager, Hyatt Pune Kalayni Nagar.
Inspite of low public investments, the tier II cities like Pune have promising potential, with a success story in all fields. The city has some inherent advantages like possessing basic amenities, ample availability of land and skilled labour, which is not so difficult to find. Moreover, people are willing to spend on rejuvenating experiences.
In the above mentioned Graphix of the insutitute of competitiveness, India, the growing population in the tier II & III cities are showcased. Pune, a tier II city has good population of 9426959 as per the data of Census of Indian 2011, thus, we can assume an increase of 10 lakh people in the city till date, which shows the city has adequate people to splurge on wellness business.
"People don’t mind enrolling for Rs 15,000 annual subscription.We service around 1000 members a month. And many of theconsumers prefer all full body massage. Pune is a flourishingmarket for spas. We campaign through advertising in news media and social media. We receive depressed people from IT and BPO industry. Hence, there is great scope ahead for spas in Pune,” said Hambi Rrao, Spa Manager, Four Fountains, Pune.
Moreover, with the inception of various corporate firms and IT development in the city, the basic income level of the people has seen a sharp uptick in the indulgence of in body massages, therapies and other wellness retreats and aesthetics practices.
“A spa session makes me feel so wonderful and relaxed. I think, take spa therapy once in a while is the best way to dump stress. Gradually, visiting spa to unwind and rejuvenate has become a regular practice for me,” said Avinash Gawai, Chairman, PR Council of India, Pune.
Significantly, as per the market experts, the future of wellnessindustry lays in the tier II cities like Pune where people have good income but limited resources to splurge on.
“Pune has a huge market for wellness. The more potential is in the tier II cities because in these cities, people have money but don’t have sources to spend, places to splurge on. We’ve realised this after opening our spa in Bhubaneswar, where ourrevenue was sky rocketing in the first year itself. We projected a certain amount in the business, we got almost double the business in the first year itself and it’s the most profitable venture, if your get into profile percentage, is the most profitable venture we’ve ever done and that’s how we got an idea of targeting tier II cities rather than the top metros of the country,” noted Arpit Sharma, MD, Sevenseas Spa chain, set to open first outlet in Pune.
Similarly, Ritu Dowlani, Manager, Spa & Health Club, The O Hotel, Pune added, “Currently the spa industry is booming in Pune with more increasing awareness of body massage among consumers. The demand for spas is ever growing in Pune, which has around 162 spas. With growing health consciousness People are now taking spa massage as a treatment. In a month we receive around 200 footfalls among which, many prefer full body massage by opposite sex professional masseur.”
Potential foreseen in tier II cities
“The sector (wellness) is fragmented and there is a dire need for consolidation into an organised sector. Currently, our focus is smaller boxes in tier II & III cities and we intend to grow in this part in coming two years,” said G Ramachandran, Promoter & Director, Gold's Gym India.
Likewise, Aseem Kaushik, Director, L'Oréal Professionnel Products Division told Wellness India, “We have doubled our distribution in the last 3 years and have gone to a large number of tier II and tier III cities.”
Scope for salon business
Not only the leading product brands, wellness centres, spa owner or investors, Pune is a big attraction for salon owners who are betting high on the sophisticated tier II city like this. Renowned spa chains like Enrich salon, Lakmé and Juice salons have an enviable spread of outlets in Pune & Ahmedabad. Thus, the city not only attract traction for spas but it also lures salon owners to spread their brand presence.
“We will open stores in Delhi, Bengaluru, PUNE and Hyderabad in addition to Mumbai within this financial year,” unveiled Istayak Ansari, Director, Lloyds Luxuries Limited, which has brought and successfully running London-based Truefit & Hill Barber shops in Mumbai.
The overcrowding in metros and Tier I cities have compelled people to move out to open spaces with wider infrastructure, and nature-friendly ways. A change in real estate trends coupledwith higher income group and emergence of big corporates incities like Pune, showcases a brighter future for wellness retreat in the country.
Why to considered Pune as the next potent market for wellness?
1. The very pertinent reason of Pune to become the next destination for wellness retreat is the composed and tranquil weather condition, as the city is located at the Western Ghats,keeping the weather conditions complimentary throughout the year.
2. The growth opportunities fuelled due to the gigantic gap between availability and demand of space. Deviating the pressure on the metros which are dwindling under the burden of space, time and infrastructure, cities like Pune has adequate space to offer required enough space to set-up wellness business. In fact, real estate is cheaper in these cities in comparison with metros.
3. Even in case of design infrastructure, cities like Ahmedabad and Pune has multitude design centres and institutes pointing towards the availability of skilled design talent in these cities.
4. The increasing disposable income of the people that has created immense opportunities for companies looking out for new markets to grow.
5. Pune is located in the neighbourhood of financial capital of the country - Mumbai, which is an added point in the growth and traction for wellness retreat in the city.
6. Another essential point is the cheap skilled manpower. Thecity has multiple institutes like Institute Massage Therapy and International School of Aesthetics and Spa, offering specialised spa therapy courses and skilled workforce.
Image courtesy: Facebook image of Pune’s local fort-on-a-hillSinhagadh, often used by wellness experts to organise meditation & yoga sessions.