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HLL scans skincare market for expansion

29-November-2005
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HLL scans skincare market for expansion

HLL is planning to expand the franchise of Pond's into new areas of facial care. The FMCG major is exploring options of bringing in its international range of products for skin lightening and anti-aging.

"There is a huge opportunity in skincare. We are looking at options. Globally, Pond's has a host of products in the skin lightening and anti-aging segments. Right now, the size of the market is small but we are looking at it," said Mr Ashok Venkatramani, Vice-President, Skin Care, HLL.

Recently, Pond's introduced the `oil control' talc and cream products. The oil control variant has also been added to its moisturising cold cream and body lotion range. This variant has been launched specifically for the Indian market. Moving away from the perception of being a winter-care brand, Pond's has of late been positioned as an all-purpose skincare brand. The reason behind launching its oil control range is to enable consumers to use the brand during summer. "Consumers need something in summer for their oily skin, and so this year we decided to launch the cream and talc in the oil control range," says Mr Venkatramani.

In fact, HLL has been exploring the oil control category for its other winter care brand Pears. The glycerine brand known for its mild properties has two new variants on the germ shield and oil control platform. "There is no oil control soap and we see a large segment in it," says Venkatramani.

Its other skincare brand, Vaseline is positioned on the healthcare platform with a body lotion and a petroleum jelly cream. The brand's range was expanded to talcum powder, but was later withdrawn. A seasonal brand, unlike Pond's, Vaseline also has a foot care cream, which has remained a niche product with limited demand during winter.

HLL's leading skincare brand in the fairness segment, Fair & Lovely is also being expanded into new segments. It may be extended into the men's fairness cream segment. "There are opportunities in the men's fairness segment, which we are exploring," says Mr Venkatramani.

Its premium brand Perfect Radiance, under the Fair & Lovely umbrella, continues to gather volumes. "We have restricted the Perfect Radiance brand to the modern trade and the brand is not meant for the mass market," says Venkatramani.

Its other premium skincare brand Dove, which comprises a soap and a body wash, has been gathering limited volumes. "It is (only) now that we have started manufacturing the Dove soap in India, while its body wash remains an imported product. Unless the market evolves and there is scale, it does not make sense to manufacture the products in the country," says Mr Venkatramani.

Meanwhile, HLL has been introducing new SKUs in its skincare brands to penetrate the rural market. For instance, it recently introduced its Pears soap at Rs 10, while Pond's cold cream comes in a Rs-5 `nanha' pack. Last year, it introduced the Vaseline body lotion and petroleum jelly in the Rs-5 category. "We have decided to introduce smaller packs in the skincare category to penetrate the rural markets," says Mr Venkatramani.

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