There are many fallacies built around female healthcare. Poor hygiene and wellness are the outcomes of the stigma that is attached. This is where tech-enabled, female hygiene and health-centric solutions are aiming to make a difference. Brands including Nua, Niramai, Ovaika, Carmesi, Mind & Mom, CareMother, and others are vying for a bigger share with an aim to create a difference.
Femtech is expanding at a rapid pace and representing a wide range of technology-driven solutions that are female-centric. These include diagnostics solutions, medical products, and tech-based software that support feminine health issues. As a flourishing sector, femtech is expected to reach USD 71,000 million by the year 2026. The market is poised to grow at a healthy rate of 17% from 2022 to 2026.
The global women’s healthcare market is anticipated to reach $17.8 billion by 2024 from $9.6 billion currently. While still in the nascent stage, India’s female hygiene industry is facing many challenges. Open conversations and reluctance to present solutions are perhaps the biggest of these. However, a significant transition is steaming.
With the new crop of entrepreneurs addressing these blind spots, the conversation is shifting to bring women’s health into the mainstream. While there is still some stigma around women’s health issues in India, the shackles are now being broken with every innovation in femtech. Regular health checkups and visits to medical practitioners are becoming a common practice among women.
Today, the real need of the hour is to offer a solution and equip every single woman with the right knowledge. And to meet the rising healthcare needs as well as to enhance outcomes for women’s health, femtech startups in India are bracing themselves for new opportunities in 2023 and beyond.
Fig. 1: Femtech Market Forecast
Source: Inc 42
Femtech in India: Top 2023 Trends
- A Surge in Online Healthcare Platforms and Communities
Online healthcare platforms are emerging as a savior for many. They are creating significant awareness about the issues. Brands are also witnessing a demand to create awareness across all age categories. These forums are helping users to connect with online communities, healthcare platforms, and experts for guidance. While online platforms have several benefits for women seeking support, they provide them the hope to enjoy the desired level of privacy while discussing their intimate health problems.
Ekta Tibrewal, co-founder of Savage, stated, “A large part of the healthcare ecosystem is often designed without keeping the unique physiology and biology at its core.” This is where all the concern stems. Currently, most brands are focused on fertility, reproductive issues, and birth-control products. But with the discussion being initiated, the femtech industry will witness a surge in platforms that will make discussions around women’s wellness more accessible.
Women’s wellness brand Nua is striving to invest in technology to make wellness accessible. They are working toward building a one-stop platform that encompasses content, community, and commerce.
- Gen Z and Millennial Consumers Leading from the Front
With technologies evolving rapidly, femtech startups are finding widespread acceptance from the global audience. Indian Gen Z and millennials are also not far behind in embracing the solutions. They are impacting how femtech products are received. This new generation of explorers and researchers is not shying away from trying out products that are new and sustainable.
Today, female hygiene and wellness are no longer restricted to sanitary pads. The credit goes to the Gen Z and millennial population between the age group 18 and 35. Not just as consumers, this new generation of content creators and influencers are initiating as well as comfortably tackling the taboo around women’s health on social media platforms.
- More Investment Opportunities and Growth
While many investors were initially pumped and open to the idea of investment in female healthcare startups, very few were willing to move ahead with their decisions. However, the scenario is changing. The industry, which was just restricted to urban population, is now widening its horizons as brands can break through the stigma and engage with a larger audience through innovative campaigning and marketing. New investors are also bringing a fresh focus to this segment. They are effectively using technology platforms and influencer marketing to create more awareness beyond metropolitan boundaries.
The startup sector is witnessing the emergence of new tech solution providers who are coming forward with innovations to fill this gap. Femtech startups are catering to women’s wellness with healthcare apps that are focused on solving a range of medical issues, ranging from infertility and menstrual hygiene to birth control and sexual wellness. They are also expanding their horizon by catering to support and providing medical assistance to the LGBTQ+ community.
- Shifting the Focus on Educating the Rural Masses
Educating women and providing accessibility and affordability is the key to making deeper inroads. Gaining mass acceptance through campaigns is doing well in the urban market; femtech players need to capture the attention of rural audiences to break the cycle. By leveraging technology infrastructure, femtech startups need to cater to women’s health and wellness needs.
However, the Indian femtech market is still traversing a dual path. While it is vital to stay abreast with the world in terms of innovative advancement, it is equally important to shift the focus from the digitally savvy consumer to the common population. Increasing awareness about the availability of such technology and taking it to every doorstep should be the priority now. Only by encouraging its applicability and adoption can they take the Indian femtech industry to the next level.
Supporting a Positive Social Change
Femtech enterprises are changing the ecosystem of women’s healthcare. New products and services are being tailor-made with the assistance of advanced tech to meet specific requirements. From initiating conversations around stigmatized areas to cancer screening, new classifications are coming up.
India is home to many Femtech brands that are thriving beyond expectation despite their shortcomings. And things are expected to get better. Investors, who were once skeptical about femtech, are now increasingly funding new startups. Nua, an India-based femtech, have raised a total of $12.5 Mn.
With femtech increasingly gaining traction, the competitive landscape is predicted to undergo a significant transformation where stakeholders – within and beyond the healthcare ecosystem – will provide additional momentum.
About the Author
Supriya Dixit is a seasoned marketing professional with special interests in ESG and female health. She strongly believes that women are the future and if allowed to grow without restriction and biases, can change the face of healthcare. The current article reflects her thoughts on Femtech segment in India and the 2023 growth path for investors.