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Gillette India bid to expand user base — Eyes 100-m users for VectorPlus shaving system

26-May-2005
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Gillette India bid to expand user base — Eyes 100-m users for VectorPlus shaving system

Gillette India, known for men's personal grooming products, has lined up plans to meet a steep target: A closer shave for 100 million users of its brand VectorPlus, to be attained over the next few years.

The company, which has a user base of roughly 20 millions, would like to upgrade its own manufacturing set-up to meet changes in consumer demand as well as scale down dependence on marketing of imported products.

Gillette India, said Mr Saroj Kumar Poddar, Chairman, proposes to cater to a much larger market in the coming years and is already eyeing the "critical mass" that seems to be forming steadily.

"We are targeting users of traditional double-edged blades. The idea is to convert them in a manner that they start preferring improved shaving systems. Indian consumers, given their sheer number and changing preferences, present a genuine opportunity for the company," he added.

The reference is to the increasing propensity to use branded products, especially those that are backed by superior technology. Indian men are getting accustomed to a whole range of branded shaving creams, aftershaves and the like, it is pointed out.

VectorPlus is now a critical element in the company's current product portfolio, some of the other constituents being Mach 3 and Mach3 Turbo. The latter is of a more recent origin. Incidentally, Gillette also offers new shaving gels in tubes, which are expected to play a key role in the `shaving preparations' segment.

These products form part of its personal grooming business which, Mr Poddar said, has recorded a 14 per cent increase in sales during the past year. "The 100-million base that we are aiming at should not be difficult to reach. Growth will be driven by the speed in which we convert our customers," he told Business Line. It may be mentioned here that VectorPlus, a twin-blade shaving system, has been worked out for the Indian market.

The urban scenario, not very long after liberalised laws set in, has seen the emergence of what has been branded in popular language as the `metrosexual' male. The latter is known to set great store by personal grooming and stylish living standards. These trends will ultimately translate into good news for the company, it is felt.

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