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Beware Fake Weight Loss Research From India

April 25, 2023

In case you haven’t noticed, literally hundreds of new market research firms have emerged from India in the last 5-10 years, usually headquartered in Pune. Their websites look legit and professional, and they claim to be located in the United States. But, they are usually a one-person operation. Many of these companies are now selling weight loss market reports. However, all is not what it seems. Many of them focus mainly on industrial markets and have no knowledge of the U.S. weight loss market. They just know the sector is popular, so they see if anyone will bite if they advertise a title.

These India-based firms are easy to spot when you read their report descriptions, which are usually very long and are grammatically awkward. Example: “Weight loss market investigation and supply chain picture by esteemed analysts, using a holistic approach and 4-factor Porter analysis, trends and grounds up approach to forecast model.”

Here’s the real story, about how they operate…

  • When you look at these reports’ tables of contents, the analysis covers things like production, supply chain, exports & imports, and topics more related to manufactured goods. There is no production line for weight loss programs/services. It’s a service, not a physical product. There are no exports and imports In addition, they often list profiles for competitors that are no longer in business, such as eDiets.com.
  • The company is NOT based in the U.S., and neither are their analysts. They are based in Pune and other cities in India. They just set up a sales office in the U.S. When analysts are not familiar with the U.S. market, they don’t understand the nuances of the U.S. market, which can be important. Just click the “Contact Us” link to see if they are based in India.
  • You can’t get their report delivered the same day. They ask you to wait a week or two so they can “customize” the report to your needs. This is a ploy for time. Many times, the Indian company has not even performed the research. The report doesn’t exist yet. They wait until someone buys it, then they scramble to put a team of “researchers” together and collect secondary information and boilerplate content, and slap a “report” together. This is NOT market research.
  • Pricing games. They use the oldest retail trick in the book. Offer a big discount off an inflated price. They list the report for $3,500, then offer you a 50% discount to make you feel like you got a great deal. Really? Does anyone still fall for that?
  • They flood the Internet with weight loss titles and bogus press releases by publications or organizations you never heard of. They use the popular keyword “weight loss” in reports completely unrelated to weight loss, for the SEO.
  • Forecasts – These are often based on just 2-3 years of historical data, if at all. In the U.S. weight loss market, you have to look at cycles, recessions & growth periods, pharmaceutical developments, dieter fads, and more. Making a 5-year forecast off the most recent 2-year period is just reckless. The market is too dynamic. Legitimate research will include historical data, 10 years or more, from trusted sources (government agencies, Census Bureau, Dept. of Commerce, CDC, NIH, trade associations).
  • Reports may include profiles for the major competitors such as Weight Watchers, Jenny Craig, NutriSystem and Herbalife, but RARELY include any analysis of the smaller, privately-held companies and the MEDICAL chains and franchises that exist, which comprise a significant share of the market. That’s because research of these small, private companies takes time and is difficult. Indian firms want a fast, cookie cutter model.

So, before purchasing that new weight loss report from India or China, spend a few minutes vetting the source, and where they are based. If it’s Pune, India, run for the hills. You are about to get burned.

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