From GOQii to HealthifyMe, brands slog it out on the fitness track

Topics brandworld | GOQii | HealthifyMe

Fitness apps
From fad diets to wearable fitness trackers, health and fitness are on everyone’s mind. And brands promising to help allay the universal and growing concerns over one’s mind and body are crowding the alleyways, be it at local supermarkets or online marketplaces. 

While some have appointed celebrity endorsers to add more punch to their promises, others are combing through the data pouring into their apps to create a custom-fit or offering an aggregated service pack. But in the alphabet soup of trackers, apps and advisories, foods and other gadgets, how do brands differentiate their promise and more importantly, find the trust of their consumers?

A few brands such as GOQii, Cure.Fit or HealthifyMe are picking their way through the crowd. For instance, GOQii (wearable products) has Akshay Kumar as brand endorser to combat the firepower of market leader Xiaomi. HealthifyMe has localised its content, customised the experience and is banking on AI-powered coaches to get an edge over the competition and is bundling products and services to tackle physical  and mental fitness, nutrition and primary healthcare. 

By tweaking the product and finding a famous face to endorse it, brands are ratcheting up the numbers. For instance, while Xiaomi has 41 per cent of the wearable products market with its range of Mi Bands (IDC figures for Q3 of 2018), GOQii at 19 per cent share in terms of shipments is at number two. But GOQii is clipping ahead at 47 per cent, lower than Xiaomi’s 77 per cent, but still way ahead of its competitors.

Similarly, in the diet and weight loss category, HealthifyMe has been clocking an annual 3x rate of user additions while its AI-based coaching (Rs 300 per month) has been growing by 30 per cent month-on-month, the company claimed. And said that in three years it has set up more than 200 physical fitness centres across 8 Indian cities and two international in Dubai, more than 31 mental wellness centres with one in Dubai.  

The numbers tell only part of the story. The bigger challenge is keeping the trust of the people. “Most wearables, for instance, offer the basic features. Hence, the leading brands will have to do something different and offer more than their peers. Also, instead of running multiple apps, they could also look at becoming  an aggregator,” says N Chandramouli, CEO of  TRA Research.

Vishal Gondal, founder & CEO, GOQii, says that the key is to offer a long term value proposition. “As per our research, 94 per cent people don’t trust the traditional health care system. So there is a huge trust deficit,” which is what they want to address.  “We are targeting consumers from a long term value perspective,” he says. 

A similar logic powers the push for wearable products. “We don’t only make money when a consumer buys a wearable. It is how a consumer enters our ecosystem. We make money when a consumer interacts with the app. Our wearables are bundled with subscription,” Gondal explains. The company has used Akshay Kumar as the face of an  initiative to spread awareness about health and fitness and works closely with influencers in the category.  

Tushar Vashisht, co founder and CEO of HealthifyMe believes the best way forward is to keep the care affordable and innovate. “We are continuously innovating on our app quality, localising content and bringing in some feature differentiation. Ours is one of the first to offer an AI-based health and diet coach called Ria, apart from making human trainers digitally accessible,” Vashisht elaborates. 

Naresh Krishnaswamy, business head believes that people make the difference. “Experts and facilities are our two pillars, so identification of the right locations for the centres and setting up the team with the right set of trainers and centre managers is very 
crucial,” he says.

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel