Hindustan Lever said on Thursday it has, for the first time in Lakme's brand history, introduced two imported products in the Indian market in order to bring international trends in product formulation and packaging to the country. The imported introductions follow close on the heels of HLL's two colour cosmetic brands - Lakme and Elle 18 - slackening their growth pace. While the two brands together grew by 54 per cent in value terms in 2003, the growth rate in the first quarter this year was only 36 per cent.
While the HLL spokesperson declined to divulge in which countries the two products - Dual Definition and Eyeshimmer Cube - originated from, he confirmed that the products were not imported from any Lever manufacturing facility abroad.
"We have, for the first time in Lakme's brand history, imported these two products to catch trends in the international market in product formulation and packaging. Often the wherewithal for catching these trends is readily available abroad and that is what we have tried to bring into India," he said.
While Dual Definition is a two-in-one lipstick and lipliner targeted at the premium end of the market, Eyeshimmer Cube is a transparent eyeshadow in the form of a cube which carries a mirror on one side.
On which particular consumer segment was the company targeting by launching imported products in India, the spokesperson said, "Lakme has always been a premium brand and we will continue to target the premium end of the colour cosmetics market."
He also claimed that Lakme, together with the mass colour cosmetic brand Elle 18, cornered 50 per cent of the total colour cosmetic market in 2003. Under Lakme, HLL has beauty products as well as beauty salons. The beauty salons are expected to touch 100 by the end of this year from about 64 now.
Lakme is among the 35 identified power brands of HLL which will receive continued marketing and other support from the company since these have been picked out as the company's future growth drivers and HLL has been consistently restructuring its power brands. Earlier this year it withdrew the 44-year old brand Surf in favour of Surf Excel Blue; relaunched Close Up and the Fair & Lovely range.