Tackling the sedentary lifestyle: 64% of Indians say they don’t exercise

July 2, 2019

While many Indian consumers intend to lead a healthy lifestyle, lack of motivation and time make it difficult for them to do so. New research from the world’s leading market intelligence agency Mintel reveals that almost two-thirds (64%) of Indians* say that they don’t exercise. And while nearly half (46%) of consumers say that leading a healthy lifestyle is their top priority, only 37% of them actually exercise.

Mintel research reveals that lack of time is the top barrier for exercising among Indian consumers; almost a third (31%) of consumers say that they don’t have time to exercise.

Nidhi Sinha, Head of Content, Mintel Indian Consumer, said:

“Consumers not finding time to exercise can be attributed to hectic, modern lifestyles and long commute times. Brands have an opportunity to help support the quest for a healthy lifestyle as well as encourage consumers to adapt to regular exercise. Brands can look at educating Indians about the importance of exercising and physical fitness, as well as help them understand how exercising helps maintain physical fitness and emotional well-being. Consumers should be informed that physical fitness goes beyond weight, and regular exercise can help counter lifestyle diseases like hypertension, diabetes and obesity, among others.

“Furthermore, brands can look at offering advice on exercise routines which can easily fit into busy schedules without additional expense or effort, all by leveraging technology. With digitisation so entrenched in consumer lifestyles today, brands can tap into fitness apps to empower consumers to exercise in the comfort of their homes and offices with easy-to-do, fun and effective exercise routines. Furthermore, brands can bring exercise to time-pressed consumers’ office by partnering with organisations and corporations to help promote exercise for their employees and offer exercise routines such as yoga, meditation and aerobics which can be done in offices without any equipment. ”

The preference for basic and traditional exercises

It seems Indians tend to choose very basic forms of exercise; Mintel research reveals that as many as two-thirds (67%) of Indians who exercise typically do brisk walking. This is followed by 26% of Indians who do yoga/pilates/CrossFit, 11% who do cardio and team sports (e.g. football, cricket), respectively, and 10% who do bodyweight exercises (e.g. push-ups, pull-ups, squats).

“Choosing very basic forms of exercise can stem from the fact that exercises involving gyms and fitness classes tend to be more expensive. Our research indicates that brands in the fitness sector have an opportunity to offer exercise regimes which are easily available and involve low equipment costs, like cardio and bodyweight training. Meanwhile, brands can look to build on Indian consumers’ love for ‘traditions’. The popularity of yoga is attributed to the fact that it is a traditional form of exercise, and that classes are available with minimal investment required.” Nidhi continued.

Bringing sports nutrition into the mainstream

Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD) indicates that there was an accelerated growth in sports nutrition product launches in 2018; of the total launches seen in the sports nutrition category between 2015-2018 in India, 65% happened in 2018. Of the sports nutrition products launched in India in 2018, 93% carried functional claims. Specifically, ‘weight and muscle gain’ (69%), ‘energy’ (45%) and ‘immunity’ (22%) are some of the top functional claims in India’s sports nutrition product category.

However, there seems to be a lack of awareness as 13% of Indians claim that they don’t know enough about sports nutrition products and 11% believe that these products are harmful if consumed without rigorous exercise, reveals Mintel research.

“Sports nutrition as a category has very low penetration in India as consumers are not fully aware of it. Brands can look to educate consumers about the advantages and functions of sports nutrition, and dispel the negative connotations associated with sports nutrition products. Highlighting benefits and functional claims on pack and through brand communication can help consumers understand the value and utility of these products. The time is ripe for brands to reposition sports nutrition and make it a go-to option for people who, due to busy lifestyles, struggle to find time to exercise. Brands can look to offer health-related food and drink, such as energy drinks or bars, that are low-sugar variants of regular options, as well as offerings that are made with better-for-you ingredients like quinoa or millet.” Nidhi concluded.

*3,000 Indian adults aged 18+, February 2019

Press review copies of Mintel’s Exercise and Gym Trends Indian Consumer 2019 Report and interviews with Nidhi Sinha, Head of Content, Mintel Indian Consumer, are available on request from the Mintel Press Office.

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For the latest in consumer and industry news, top trends and market perspectives, stay tuned to Mintel News featuring commentary from Mintel’s team of global category analysts.

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