Health and fitness 2018-07-17

How Tech Startups Are Changing The Fitness Industry Model

In 2017, Indian Fitness Tech Startups Bagged A Whopping $63 Million Funding, Putting Behind Canada, UK And China.

By Feature writer
How Tech Startups Are Changing The Fitness Industry Model

For a country that is the second largest market globally for investments in fitness tech startups, it’s hardly surprising that most of the millennials now turn to their mobiles and gadgets for fitness.

In fact, it is this fitness fad that has made the fitness industry in India to evolve into an Rs 8,000-crore market. 

Commenting on the industry growth, VivaFit MD (Master Franchisee- India) Manisha Ahlawat, observes, “Fitness industry in India has gone through tremendous growth in recent years and won’t slow down anytime soon. In the last decade, the fitness industry grew with more premium players entering the market. Currently, the fitness market in India is showing 19 per year-on -year growth with the total market size of approximately Rs 8,000 crore.”

Some of the large deals that were closed last year, mostly above $1 million in funding, are an indication that the next driving change in the fitness industry is from tech startups. For instance, if Mukesh Bansal’s CureFit bagged $46 million, HealthifyMe, a health-app bagged $7 million.

But what makes these fitness apps work for millennials? For instance, through HealthifyMe, fitness enthusiasts can hire nutritionists and fitness trainers, and can even get tips on whether what they have eaten is right or not, and how they could plan their next meal. The app also uses groups to motivate its users to follow fitness regime and stay disciplined.

Taking the trend forward

While tech startups are rapidly gaining popularity, community fitness startup like SQUATS that started as an online consultation platform has grown to do Rs 40 crore revenue since its inception in 2015.

Commenting on how online community fitness industry is thriving, SQUATS Founder, Jitendra Chouksey, says, “Community fitness is going to become a social tribe as it acts as a missing link. One-on-one fitness scheme have been around for decades, but have failed to sustain the interest in fitness enthusiasts in the long run. Through community fitness, a whole lot of people are inspired to stay fit.”

Through online programs and WhatsApp groups,  the members receive individual solutions. The startup is enrolling 3,000 new members every month.

Growing beyond Metro cities

While it is popularly believed that millennials in Tier I and Metro cities are showing interest in these apps, the reach is much higher in Tier II cities like Raipur, Indore, Nagpur, says Chouksey. “Most often, fitness trends in tier I cities are talked about, but easy access, better affordability and high social media penetration is also leading to smaller cities take to fitness using apps and consultation platforms,” he says.

Further, whether it’s the rise of apps or any other form of fitness tech startups, the market will have to cater to women enthusiasts to create new market, predicts Ahlawat. She says, “With more and more women gaining the financial freedom to take their buying decisions, they will not hesitate in spending on their own fitness. Indian fitness industry should be rest to capture this underserved women’s fitness market. Whether through online apps or by launching new gym formats, companies will have to keep in mind this growing need for women’s fitness in India.” 


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