Harish Manwani was speaking to shareholders at the recent 81st AGM for the company when he stated that FMCG companies in India now need to constantly adapt in order to be able to meet the diversifying demands of the rising middle class.
“The traditional socio-economic pyramid is rapidly transforming itself into a diamond with a burgeoning middle class and a decreasing number of low-income consumers,” Manwani stated. “At Unilever, we have ingrained agility and speed in our work culture.”
A key player in the Indian beauty and personal care sector, Hindustan Unilever’s move to modernize ties in with Euromonitor’s prediction that brands in the region will need to display adaptability to tap into the region’s strong growth.
Growth, analysts for the firm have noted, will be enjoyed by brands which “continue to launch new products at different price points, which will help them to gain volume sales and also margins."
The FMCG market in India is due to reach up to$30 billion by the end of next year, largely due to the increasing urbanisation and middle classes.
Euromonitor analysts confirm that recent growth has been “driven mainly by the uptake of higher-priced products with new claims by urban consumers, and new consumers in second- and third-tier cities, who continued to show greater interest in self-grooming.”
Five point plan
Manwani confirmed Hindustan Unilever’s five-point strategy would revolve around a focus on technology, sustainability, cultivating talent, strong leadership and an ‘agile’ working culture within the company.
According to Manwani, this modernisation will look to respond to the country’s rising middle class and urban population: “technology and easier access to information and knowledge have opened up employment opportunities, resulting in a new wave of people entering the consumption cycle.”
“We are witnessing a significant increase in the earning power of consumers at the bottom of the pyramid as they join the increasing middle-class population in India,” the company chairman stated.