The billion-dollar wellness industry in India – including destination spas and Ayurvedic centres — may have been among the worst affected during the pandemic, but the importance of Ayurveda towards boosting immunity and general wellbeing has hit home. People can’t travel to Ayurvedic centres, but Ayurveda is coming home. In this context, there has been a proliferation of Ayurvedic products in the market and many existing companies have also expanded their range to suit the times.
The Ayurveda industry has grown exponentially owing to the growing popularity and consumption of health and wellness products, says Sanchit Sharma, Founder and MD of Delhi-based Ayouthveda. “People have become receptive towards ordering Ayurveda and organic products. Moreover, the pandemic has resulted in a change in consumer lifestyles, with an increased focus on preventive healthcare remedies, leading to a surge in demand for immunity-positioned supplements, including Ayurvedic medicines and products.”
Ayouthveda, launched during the pandemic in 2020, has done exceedingly well this year, according to a company statement. The boost in sales and consumption has put the industry in double digit growth, which is expected to continue till 2026, adds Sharma. He says, “This pattern can help Ayurveda become a $15 billion industry by as early as 2023”.
However, Sharma says that even though they sell their products both online and in retail stores, Tier 2 and 3 cities make for larger volumes in retail. AirVaidya herbal dhoopa, made on the concept of Dhoopan Karma that is believed to purify the air and remove environmental toxicity, is among their bestselling products.
Sharma’s sentiment is echoed by Vishal Kaushik, Founder and MD of Upakarma Ayurveda, Delhi. He says, “The foremost impact of the outbreak has been a collective shift towards health and wellness, which has bolstered the demand for alternative medicine. Currently, since there is no cure or prevention for COVID-19, many people turned to Ayurveda in order to boost their immunity and wellness.”
Upakarma Ayurveda is witnessing 30 per cent month-on-month increase in sales of its immunity-boosting products. Kaushik says, “In 2020, India became a global marketplace for natural immunity boosters. Several brands started exporting their products internationally after being recognised as providers of crucial medicines for the new normal.” Last year, they launched immunity boosting products such as Amla Juice, Giloy Tulsi Juice and Aloe Vera Juice, besides a Chyawanprash with a combination of more than 30 herbs.
A lot of misgivings about Ayurveda as a dark science have also been quelled, says Deepak Agarwal, Founder of Auric. He says that when Auric was launched in 2018, people around him were not very receptive to Ayurveda for multiple reasons. “Ayurveda is difficult and inconvenient. Sourcing herbs and researching formulations takes time and energy. Also, it is a dark science – friends didn’t know if it is proven science or not. Now, Covid-19 has brought focus on natural living, wellness and nutrition,” says Delhi-based Agarwal. He adds that except for a few days of supply chain disruptions, Auric has managed to do well and grow well in spite of Covid-19. Auric sells its products only online pan India, and the sale is equally distributed across Tier 1, 2 and 3 cities. “Our highest-selling products include drinks for skin and sexual wellness, and the moringa masala tea that we introduced during the pandemic along with Turmeric Gourmet Coffee and Ashwagandha Hot Chocolate.
As someone who has the experience of wellness industry as well as products vertical, Abhilash KR, Executive Director – Kairali Ayurvedic Group, which has been running more than two dozen Ayurvedic treatment centres across the country, adds, “If you refer to our hospitality and Ayurvedic centre business, it has suffered tremendously and will not see recovery anytime soon. On the other hand, the products division has been able to grow and reach new markets during this time. Prior to Covid-19, we have been manufacturing sanitisers and that helped us in these dire times. We have also seen an uptick in demand for immunity-based products and single ingredient products that cater to preventive health.” He adds, “Currently, our Ayurvedic sanitisers are the highest selling products. We will be focussing on bringing more immunity-boosting products to the market, that have little or no side effects.”