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Companies opt for relaunches with value additions to spur volumes

30-November-2004
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Companies opt for relaunches with value additions to spur volumes

In the Rs 5,000-crore Indian toilet soaps industry, it’s now time for launches and relaunches. For over two years, the toilet soaps market has been stagnating at a poor 5% growth rate. So, in an effort to rejuvenate the market, Indian marketers are now relaunching their products with value additions. And to bring in volumes in a fairly stagnant market, soap companies are also introducing new products to meet the evolving needs of consumers.

For instance, Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) is currently test-marketing a new brand ‘Godrej Nimins’, a neem-based soap across the country. Says Godrej Consumer Products Ltd executive director & president Hoshedar K Press: “We have positioned the new launch as the only health soap in the sub-popular segment. Recently, we launched a new variant of Godrej No. 1 with a new perfume. Also, we relaunched our fairness soap FairGlow in a new pack and with a new perfume.”

At present, GCPL’s soap brands include, Cinthol, Godrej No. 1 and FairGlow. As for the company’s strategy to pump up volumes, says Mr Press: “Our strategy is to offer meaningful products with value additions. We have registered a growth rate of 15% over last year.”

In the Indian toilet soaps industry, Hindustan Lever Ltd currently leads the pack with a marketshare of 56%. And the other major players include, Godrej, Colgate-Palmolive and Wipro Consumer Care, among others.

On HLL’s strategy for its brands in this overcrowded category, says an HLL spokesperson: “Based on consumer learnings, we have rolled out a new variant of Lux this year. It’s called ‘Lux with exotic flower petals & jojoba oil’. We have relaunched Hamam with value additions in Chennai. Our marketshare stands at 56% in the personal wash category.”

Currently, HLL’s product portfolio in this sector includes Lux, Pears, Dove, Hamam, Breeze and Lifebuoy, among others.

Yet another major player in this segment Colgate-Palmolive has rolled out an entire range of Palmolive aroma soaps to meet the changing needs of consumers. In sync with global marketing trends, the company has also forayed into the ‘shower gel’ segment in India.

According to industry analysts, choice has made life easier for Indian consumers. But it has certainly made it tougher for marketers. “Which is why Indian soap companies are now going in for relaunches to add value and volumes in this overcrowded segment,” observes a Mumbai-based analyst.

Is the Indian market really stagnating? Will the relaunches revitalise the market? Says Samsika Consultants managing director Jagdeep Kapur: “I would say the sector is growing at a slow pace. Basically, all corporates will now try to create a new segment in this category to gain a competitive edge. Also, they will highlight the new benefits in their communications.”

So, when lead players are battling for supremacy in the Indian soap opera, it’s consumers who will reap additional benefits—at no extra cost.

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