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The India Spa Market: Flourishing in the East

By: Kristen Wegrzyn
Posted: October 31, 2013, from the November 2013 issue of Skin Inc. magazine.

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The Spa & Wellness Association of India’s definition of spa covers many platforms, including health: “A business for the promotion of health care and wellness. Its main services consist of massage and water applications, but may include steam, sauna, exercise, nutritional therapy and dietary programs, yoga, meditation, herbal medicine, along with traditional and complementary medicine.”

As in the United States, the spa is no longer seen as only a luxurious indulgence, and consumers are beginning to learn the concrete health benefits associated with the spa, explains Anurag Kedia, director of The Four Fountains De-stress Spa group in India.1

Gender confines have diminished. The United States and Europe have seen more and more men increasingly placing focus on their appearance, as is evidenced in frequent spa visits, cosmetic procedures and at-home skin care regimens—and men in India have followed suit. Dhiren Chawla, founder of Health Trust International, explains that, specifically in the metro areas, men have become more interested in receiving treatments and are dominating the market. “That [gender] shift culturally has changed, it’s become more mainstream,” he says.

The men’s grooming market in India is thriving and has been growing at an incredible rate of 30–40%, most likely due to the growing level of consciousness of the Indian male’s image. Sixty-to-70% of the branded salon market in India is unisex, and skin care brands with a history of focusing on female consumers have presented product lines specifically for men.1

Media and celebrity influence. Consumers in India have a strong interest in celebrities, and the media details their wellness habits, including their nutrition, fitness and overall health. Social media has made information about celebrities and their wellness lifestyle details even more easily accessible.1 Members of the wellness, skin care and spa industry are increasingly utilizing consumers’ fascination with celebrities by featuring them as brand ambassadors. At the time of the PwC/FICCI report, 40–45% of television commercials launched in the previous six months for health and wellness products and services had celebrity appearances.1 Shilpa Shetty, a popular Bollywood film actress and model, even opened a spa chain with four locations in India called iosis. The franchises focus on skin care, body slimming, and spa and salon treatments.

Ancient meets modern

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