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    “The fitness equipment industry in India has seen tremendous growth in the past few years”


    Rajiv Chadha, MD, Stag International , talks about the scope of fitness equipment industry in India and the challenges faced.

    Q. Is the average Indian consumer ready to spend money on fitness equipment?
    There can be no two ways about the fact that Indians are becoming highly health conscious. The elite class in the country has become more and more fitness savvy and is installing expensive gyms at home.
    Q. What kind of people in India use fitness equipment?
    The end-user segments include individuals using fitness equipments at home and institutions like health clubs and corporate houses. Apart from these, businessmen form a huge consumer group for fitness equipment. In spite of their fast-paced lives, Indian businessmen are actually quite obsessed with fitness.

    Q. What is driving the growth of fitness equipment industry in India?
    The fitness equipment industry in India has seen tremendous growth in the past few years. The key drivers are the increasing health consciousness among Indians, growing demand from companies, entry of various foreign chains and reduction in import duties.
    Q. What are the challenges faced by the retailers of fitness equipment in India?
    The retailers today face challenges such as an absence of R&D, low reliability of Indian equipment, lack of space in residential complexes for health equipment, low-quality machines available in the market and an acute dearth of good fitness trainers.
    Q. Since most fitness equipment is imported, what are the issues faced by the importers?
    One of the key issues in the field of imported fitness equipment in India is poor service availability and after-sales infrastructure. For customers and retailers, a critical aspect is the after-sales service, which is completely lacking for many imported products in the market.

    Q. How is Stag trying to address this issue?
    Stag is in many ways trying to address the various challenges in Indian fitness space. For example, the Tunturi fitness equipment from Finland distributed by us is sold on the recommendation and counseling of our experienced sales team, supported by professional trainers. This means the users are assured of using the right machine according to their needs. For all Tunturi service needs, customers can dial an all-India toll free number provided by us.

    Q. What is the size and growth rate of the market for fitness equipment in India?
    The fitness equipment industry in India is witnessing significant growth as Indians have increasingly become health and fitness conscious. The market, which was estimated at Rs. 12.5 bn in 2008, is expected to reach Rs. 63.3 bn by 2012.

    According to a FICCI-Ernst & Young study in 2009 titled “Wellness: Exploring the Untapped Potential,” the Indian wellness services market, presently estimated at Rs. 11,000 crore, would sustain an annual growth rate of about 30-35 per cent for the next five years. Of these, fitness sector, comprising gyms and slimming centers, is expected to grow by more than 25 per cent.

    Q. Where do Indian fitness brands stand in the market?
    Fitness machines made in India are competitive but they do not match the high standards of imported equipment. The quality and reliability of Indian equipments have failed to secure the faith of consumers. Due to a lack of technological skills, quality issues frequently crop-up for machines made in India.

    Q. What can be done to boost the fitness equipment market in India?
    The first and foremost thing is to increase the number of health and personal clubs in the country. There is also a need to further tap the vertical market like hotels, hospitals, complexes and corporates.

    The key fact is that about 60 per cent of the fitness club market in India is composed of independent clubs, all of which purchase their equipment through distributors. The remaining 40 per cent is made up of chains, franchises, etc., some of which purchase from distributors while others buy directly from the manufacturers of fitness equipment.

    Q. Which all famous fitness brands do you plan to introduce in India soon?
    Seeing the expected growth of the fitness market in India, we are going to launch the famous British brand Milon with its unique and innovative circuit-training solution. It will be exclusively marketed by Stag International.