Fitness start-ups see spike in growth as urban health awareness improves

Mobile health solutions can cut costs through therapy adherence

With more and more urban Indians measuring the steps they walk each day in order to improve their general health levels, start-ups offering fitness apps are seeing a spike in the number of monthly fee-based subscriptions for theire services.

Health and fitness apps downloads have grown 15 per cent globally since 2015 with fitness apps taking the lion’s share of the pie, says the latest Mary Meeker report on internet trends. The fitness app war in India has just begun with companies rushing to carve their niche segments. Each one of them is growing on a wave of increased awareness among users on the need to remain fit.

“Gaming is so essential to our platform that we refer to our clients as players rather than users. We want them to see fitness as something enjoyable instead of a chore. We  encourage them to improve their own health instead of competing with anyone else,” says Vishal Gondal, CEO, GOQii, a fitness start-up whose unique feature, Karma Points, allows users to get fitter for a social cause.

Healthifyme, a Bengaluru start-up says it has over a million users, while health coaching app GOQii has waded into cardiac care to complement its range of fitness services. Personal coaching service provider Fitso is engaging users through intensive offline sports initiatives.

Last year, GOQii surged past Xiaomi to become the top Indian wearable device brand. The company has also partnered with Max Healthcare and Axis Bank to offer a range of programmes, including its newly-launched Heart Care Tracker. GOQii offers plans ranging from Rs 1,999 for three months to Rs 3,999 for a year, which includes fitness tracking wearables.

Community wellness platform Stepathlon has partnered with to source fitness trainers, yoga instructors and health practitioners.

“We have chosen the B2B model under which we reach out to users through corporate plans only. We do, however, have a programme targeted specifically towards children called Stepathlon Kids,” said Stepathlon CEO Ravi Krishnan. The firm caters to Tata Steel, Accenture Technologies, Deutsche Bank among other companies in India. It currently offers a one-year subscription at Rs 1,500 per employee.

As concerns rise over lifestyle diseases caused by sedentary work by most Indians, many urban users are taking up fitness regimes, including joining structured courses to remain fit.

Delhi-based Fitso targets fitness enthusiasts with a range of personalised coaching options ranging from one- to six-month packages costing roughly Rs 500 a month. “We do organise offline events like Duathlon — running and cycling — and our tie-ups with swimming facilities in NCR reach out to almost 200 swimmers,” says co-founder Saurabh Aggarwal. Fitso is also the only fitness app that offers an exclusive endurance race coaching programme.

Healthifyme has partnerships with an exhaustive list of hospitals such as Manipal, Medanta and Apollo ACODE, apart from its own in-house teams. “Eighty per cent of our users come onboard looking to lose weight, while the rest are split between muscle gain, running and medical condition management like diabetes, cholesterol and PCOS,” said Marketing director Nikhil Moorjani in an email response. Healthifyme has packages ranging from Rs 899 a month to Rs 1,499 a month, depending on the level of services availed.


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