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The Need for Mainstreaming the Indian Ayurvedic Market

The Indian Ayurvedic market was one of the industries that seemed to be thriving during the pandemic. Dabur India reported more than 50% of growth in its Ayurveda business during the Q2 last year (1, 2).

A report published by Kantar estimated that the immunity segment, including products like herbal tea, chyawanprash, and honey, saw 38% y-o-y growth in 2021 in urban India.

Another estimate by CII suggests that the Indian Ayurveda market currently holds a valuation of over 30,000 crore INR (3). And the Indian Ayurvedic market is expected to grow more than one trillion Indian rupees by 2025 (4).

Export data highlights that the popularity of Ayurveda during the pandemic was not limited to India. Even when the overall exports were declining during the pandemic, Ayurveda exports witnessed high demands.

Indian Ayurvedic Market
Source: Commerce Ministry, PIB, Livemint

The five biggest importers include the US, the UAE, Nepal, Russia, and France, making up about 42% of the total Ayurvedic exports from India.

“The fact that the West had put Ayurveda as something for wellness and not a treatment for the last three decades fitted in with the whole immunity narrative during the pandemic,” said Madhulika Banerjee, a Political Science professor from Delhi University (5).

“The demand for Ayurvedic products in nations like France and Russia, where institution-level collaborations have happened, confirms Ayurveda has reached beyond the Indian diaspora,” she added.

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Tracking Growth in the Indian Ayurvedic Market

According to Jatin Gujarati, Business Head of Vedix (6), the acceptance of Ayurveda has never been an issue for the Indian Ayurvedic Market since people have always been open to the idea. The concerns lie with affordability and approachability.

Ayurveda has flourished over the years and has a rich history. Recent scientific studies have started offering substantive research on the action methodologies and overall health effects. Researchers have also started to look at new areas of delivery systems and applications, with skin conditions being one of the major areas. According to Allied Market Research, others include inflammation, healthy heart, and blood sugar support.

All of these have further boosted Ayurvedic practices and sales. The expansion of the retail structure has also been a major driving factor that contributed to the growth of the Indian Ayurvedic market.

As the demand for Ayurvedic medicines and supplements grows, it is time for marketplaces to increase their investments for new research and other projects to initiate new strategies to leverage this growth.

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Some More Insights

The popularity of organic and natural medicines and their benefits among the consumers is also a key factor that drives the Ayurvedic market in India and worldwide. The same factor is further compelled by clambering health concerns and awareness of the side effects of modern medicines.

In addition, we have also witnessed a significant rise in per capita expenditures on healthcare products, catalyzed by ascending incomes and economic growth (7). It has created a positive impact on the Indian Ayurvedic market.

However, even though Ayurvedic products’ distribution network of Ayurvedic products has improved, which has increased the accessibility of these products pan India, challenges still exist. Including:

  • Lack of research and development for great yielding varieties
  • Inconsistent supply of raw materials
  • Lack of standardized procedure to manufacture Ayurvedic products
  • Absence of safety regulations

On the other hand, customer awareness about natural ingredients in personal and health care products in the global markets, including developed countries like Singapore, Japan, the US, Canada, and Australia, can offer tremendous growth opportunities for Ayurvedic players in the Indian market.

It is because of the internet and social media, more people are getting on board with building their immunity and staying healthy with Ayurveda. The significant rise of e-commerce amid the pandemic has also opened several avenues for the Indian ayurvedic market players (7).

There has also been a sudden increase in digital consulting practices for increased customization and building stronger relationships. People no longer have to go to clinics, and they can directly go to tech-enabled platforms that allow customers to get a regiment as per their needs.

“Vedix has always been about customized Ayurveda. The founders of the company believe that different people have their unique needs. Their tech-enabled platform allows customers to answer queries and offer a suitable regimen as per their condition and requirement,” shared Gujarati.

The Indian Ayurvedic Market has several large players. Still, MSMEs make up about 80% of the total market share. Moreover, over 8,407 Ayush-licensed manufacturing units were registered in the country in April 2019 alone (8).

All the numbers we mentioned so far serve as a massive indication that our country is poised to be the major Ayurvedic playgroup worldwide. And with the rise of e-commerce, natural wellness is now within a click’s reach everywhere for anyone.

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Mainstreaming Ayurveda

Last year, while inaugurating the Global Ayurveda Festival 2021 fourth edition, our honorable prime minister Narendra Modi said that people have started to realize the benefits of Ayurveda. In addition, he added that we could describe it as a holistic human science.

Consequently, there has been an increased discussion about the healthcare benefits offered by Ayurveda.

According to an estimation by WHO, World Health Organization, Ayurvedic products, and supplements have witnessed a steady surge in the last 30 years, with almost 80% of the world population relying on them for some part of primary health care.

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Building Trust in Ayurveda

The players of the Indian Ayurvedic market need to start utilizing the latest technologies to explore the relevance of Ayurveda’s traditional concepts. It would help bolster customer confidence and trust in Ayurvedic products.

It would allow them to interpret Ayurvedic products in the light of modern scientific terminology that offers modern healthcare treatment and meets unmet medical needs.

We found an interesting read that explains why Ayurveda should go hand in hand with modern medicine. If interested, here’s the link: Marketing Ayurveda.

Overall, there would be tremendous benefits of mainstreaming Ayurveda.

Further, we don’t need to talk about the perennial problem of India when it comes to healthcare access. And considering the current challenges of strained medical resources and healthcare resources, it is a need of the hour to adopt a holistic means by integrating herbal medicine with modern medicine to offer a continuum of care.

It is great that the government of India’s AYUSH system indicates that Ayurveda has already gained priority in serving the healthcare needs of the Indian population.

The government of India has also committed to achieving universal health care goals by the end of this decade as part of its UN Sustainable Development Goals. Reportedly, the Indian government is also planning to initiate an integrated health system policy to help India build, encourage, and sustain an evidence-based framework for Ayurveda practitioners.

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Standardization of the Indian Ayurvedic Market

Standardizing the Indian Ayurvedic market, its practices, and its remedies will go a long way in boosting its acceptance as a part of mainstream medicine in our country.

The Indian government has also noted the critical role Ayurveda or traditional medicines have played in meeting the diverse healthcare requirements of the people.

In addition, WHO has also proposed a plan to set up a Global Center for Traditional Medicine in our country, which would help India harness the untapped potential of the sector.

However, if India wants to increase its footprint with Ayurveda, it needs to find new avenues for collaboration, increased policy support, and a cohesive regulatory framework that meets global standards in efficacy and safety.

We can also expect to see more private and public collaborations in the Indian Ayurvedic market to achieve India’s objective of universal healthcare for all.

It is the right time for India to encourage people to stop perceiving Ayurvedic products as “alternative medicines.” Instead, the industry players need to focus on offering scientifically-backed, evidence-based Ayurvedic products as a frontline treatment.

In other words, there is a tremendous growth opportunity for the Indian ayurvedic market. They can also leverage tailwinds from the pandemic to transit Ayurveda from an alternative or complementary system of medicine to the mainstream market.

Nonetheless, its success will depend on efforts made by both public and private players in the Indian Ayurvedic market.