From the new new testament: Wise men build their businesses on devotion [Religious Ecommerce Market in India]

Besides yoga, what can entrepreneurs learn from Baba Ramdev? What can Art of Living teach about business? What do hundreds of Indian gods, godmen and millions of devout followers hint at? The answer you seek, is simple and obvious– there is truckloads of money to be made in the religion and spirituality business. Excuse the sacrilege but its simply too big a market to be associated with simple charity and goodwill any longer.

Baba Ramdev’s business is worth about Rs 1100 crore. Sri Sathya Sai baba’s trust dwarfs Baba Ramdev’s taking by conservative estimates. Sabarimala temple makes over Rs 100 crore by selling prasadam and through donations in one season. Spiritual outfits which sell everything from soap to sandalwood are sitting on a consumer market ready to explode. The simple conclusion? Indians BLOW money on wellness, spirituality and religion.

Religion : Games they play.

From tea shops to online ventures where e-commerce meets god, there are hundreds of examples in and around our places of worship, spiritual and religious practices. DoloArts.com, a venture we covered  on Pi recently is a great example of a startup that operates in a space where lack of demand will never be a problem.

An e-commerce startup is an obvious one. Delivering religious content, live darshans and aarthis home via internet, mobile and television is another. Talking Geetha based on multimedia print reader technology launched by Aadharsh Private Limited recently is an interesting one. Then there are religious content providers.

Sample this: The website DivineIndia has religious content from across the country and has nearly 50,000 paid subscribers. The site provides members with access to videos of over 1,500 holy shrines and live content from 60 popular pilgrimages of all religions in India. A one year subscription can cost upto Rs 1,200 ($ 21) in India.

“The devotional market is the next big thing after Bollywood,” said Rajiv K Sanghvi, founder of Vistaas Digital Media Private Limited which owns the DivineIndia.com with Shemaroo, the Bollywood content house. Mr Sanghvi is targeting five times the present revenue in a years time.

One can not ignore the app makers either. For instance there is the Hanuman Chalisa App on iPhone and Android.  We also have games cashing in on Indian gods. Stretch your imagination a bit and  the day isn’t far when you’d have companies helping Indians living abroad to disperse ashes of their dead parents in the Ganges sitting in their New Jersey apartment.

Well, what are you waiting for? There’s the market. Pray to the heavens and build products.

Recommended Read: Great Marketing Lessons from the Spiritual World