In a strategic move, Hindustan Lever Ltd (HLL) has decided to merge its internal system of tracking consumer purchase data with market research firm, Indian Market Research Bureau (IMRB), to create a new urban panel, which represents urban India more widely.
HLL used to track consumer purchase data through an in-house run panel of households cutting across 43 urban centres. The company wanted to expand this panel to cover both urban and rural areas. It was concluded that it would be most cost-effective to do this on a syndicated basis. HLL, therefore, decided to merge its panel with that of IMRB, which has over 10 years of experience in running such panels, to create a new urban panel, which more widely represents urban India in over 100 centres.
IMRB competes with ORG-MARG, which is the leading market research firm tracking consumer purchase data, in India. In addition, IMRB was already working with HLL since 1994 on a rural panel, which has now become a national syndicated panel of 20,000 rural households. HLL has been tracking consumer purchase data through this new panel since July 2002.
HLL continues to depend on outside agencies, to source data to track consumer purchase data. The multinational has a deep penetration into the urban and rural markets and is a leader in most of the categories of the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) market. An internal tracking system helped HLL in keeping a close watch on purchase details and market share movements of its brands vis-a-vis that of competition.
The activity of tracking consumer purchase data does not fall under HLL’s core area of focus. The Rs 10,971.90 crore maker of Lifebuoy, Surf and Pepsodent, has been stressing on a more focused approach to business, and had announced its 30 power brand strategy which is said to be working for the multinational in a market that has otherwise slowed down.