How the big cosmetics players targeted India in 2016

By Simon Pitman

- Last updated on GMT

How the big cosmetics players targeted India in 2016

Related tags Cosmetics Economic growth Economics

India has been flagged up as one of the fastest-growing markets for beauty in the world, so it’s little wonder that some of the biggest players have been making moves in the country this year.

But although the potential is huge, India remains a big challenge to get to grips with for many international players, with regulation and distribution hurdles sometimes hampering market entry or expansion.

Here we take a look at how multinationals such as Revlon, Unilever, L’Oreal, Amway and Beiersdorf have all made moves aimed at expanding their footprints in a market that has the potential to be one of the biggest in the world.

India, the market to watch

For years the market for cosmetics and personal care products in India has shown promise but has not quite lived up to expectations. Now all that is changing as the market booms.

In this article we will analyse some of the biggest news to come out of the India market in recent months, and analyse how these stories fall in with some of the biggest trends in the industry.

We will also take a look at how regulation is being updated to keep up with the rapid market evolution, which has been a hugely challenging area for many companies trying to break into the market, particularly multinationals.

Indeed, such is the speed of growth in the country, that in 2015 GDP growth of 7.5% meant that India surpassed China’s 6.9% economic growth rate, with a 1.3 billion population underlining the continued potential for business expansion in this vast and still relatively underdeveloped market

Click here​ to take a further look at an article that focuses on changes in regulation, distribution and retail, as well as some of the key trends to look out for.

Revlon targets big growth in India

International colour cosmetics brand, Revlon, has plans to launch a significant number of exclusive stores throughout India next year​, The Economic Times earlier in the year.

Revlon currently has 27 outlets in India, after it became the first international cosmetics company to be launched in India in 1995. However, following its introduction into the Indian market as the first global make up company, it has been slow to progress and develop its brand.

As the company now concentrates on upping the popularity and presence of its exclusive stores and with marketing spend through digital channels reportedly amounting to 5-10% of total revenues, it hopes to reach the 100 store milestone by the end of 2017.   

Unilever re-enters India’s hair oil segment

In 2016 Hindustan Unilever (HUL) announced that it had completed its acquisition of an ayurvedic hair and personal care brand in India​.

In taking it on the brand, Indulekha, Unilever will be re-entering the hair oil segment for the first time since 2006, when it sold its Nihar range.

The move, which marks its first acquisition for more than a decade, suggests the company is now keen to diversify its product offering following a recent slow-down in sales, particularly in rural regions.

Unilever has reportedly completed the deal at a price of Rs 330 crore - which the Business Standard​ describes as “a record for any brand sold from Kerala​”.

L'Oréal goes ayurvedic

India’s strong consumer enthusiasm for its traditional wellness system, Ayurveda, has seen brands tapping into the naturals trend to profit​: L’Oréal’s new Garnier launch is the latest.

The Ultra Blends range, which features products across the shampoo, conditioner, oil and cream segments, is popular among western markets: India will be the first market within Asia where it's sold, confirming the ever-rising appetite for naturals in the region.

The launch comes as leading Ayurveda domestic personal care brand, Patanjali’s, has been enjoying strong growth - the Economic Times of India​ notes it has become a Rs 5,000 crore company in less than ten years - and competitors (both Indian and international) move to tap into the trend.

Amway India relaunches skin care line

As the Indian region is hotly anticipated as the next big market in Asia, Amway India appeals to its youth with Attitude's Skin Care range​.

Amway India, the country’s largest direct selling FMCG Company, has revamped its Attitude Skin Care range by transforming its packaging and launching newly formulated Attitude face washes and moisturisers.

The Attitude Skin Care range is specifically targeted to the youth demographic in India and so the latest stylish and vibrant packaging reflects both its target market and the rise of colourful cosmetics that have been made famous in Asia Pacific (APAC), through popular trends such as K-pop.

The Attitude Skin Care product range is tailor made for oily or dry skin. It has evolved beyond its previous ingredients to include vitamins and natural fruit extracts.

Attitude’s new range contains six products including two face wash lines, two types of moisturisers, a foot cream and a hand and body cream.

Nivea sniffs out body odour opportunities in India

Nivea is making efforts to move ahead of competitors within the antiperspirant and deodorant category within India​, with a new marketing campaign which centres on the hashtag #BanBodyOdour.

The campaign centres on the brand’s ‘Body Deodorizer’ range, aimed at male consumers, and promotes the idea that body odour can restrict social interaction, particularly when it comes to scenarios that demand close proximity, such as greetings.

Beiersdorf has long held a dominant place in the country’s male grooming segment, with Nivea’s antiperspirants regularly dominating bestseller lists within India. The new campaign suggests the brand is eager to maintain its position as one of the category’s leaders, especially with the segment predicted to enjoy growth up ahead.

Euromonitor International states that “awareness of hygiene and wellbeing​” is on the rise among male and female consumer groups in India, according to the market research firm’s most recent report on the category. 

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