In the next 2-3 years, D2C is the model that we will pursue: Jaideep Nandi

Nandi, Managing Director, Bajaj Consumer Care Ltd., talks about expanding their offerings to skincare & haircare, and more

e4m by Ruhail Amin
Published: Jul 7, 2022 8:54 AM  | 3 min read

Bajaj Consumer Care Ltd recently  launched Bajaj Almond Drops soap to tap into the ₹20,000-crore soap market in India. Traditionally, the company is focused on the ₹13,500-crore hair oil market, where it has 65% dominance in the light hair category. 

In the backdrop of expanding its offerings to skincare and haircare, we spoke to Jaideep Nandi, Managing Director, Bajaj Consumer Care Ltd. Here are some excerpts from the interview:

While FMCG companies are dealing with inflation, what is the idea behind launching this new portfolio at this time?

There are two things currently hitting the FMCG companies. One is the unprecedented inflation that we have seen over the last five to six quarters. On the other hand, the consumer demand, especially the  rural demand, has been a little weak. 

However, overall, if you see the Indian economy, there is no pressure as such. Yes, at this moment, disposable income is an issue, but I don't think these are long-term issues.

We are very hopeful that the demand will come back and we will be ready for the next phase of growth. Currently, the margins may be a little lesser because of the increase in our marketing investments, but we will be there as the demand comes, not just with Almond oil but with a bouquet of products.

How are you planning to leverage your strength in the haircare  category to  the personal and skincare category?

The light hair oil category that we are in is pegged at 2k crore, but the overall hair oil category is 13.5K crore, and we have launched the amla and the coconut portfolio too and now we play a larger part in the 13K crore hair oil category. 

We also wanted to leverage the name ‘almond drops’ in the skin care and the personal care. However, we wanted to treat this with a little bit of caution as these are categories where we don't have great expertise. 

So we wanted to be very sure that we have the right to get into it. We did a nine-month survey with consumers across the country to understand the kind of products they would like to see. And now we are planning quite a few products in the skincare and personal care categories.

One of our key differentiators is the ‘almond drops’ recall, and it clearly stands out in the mind of the customer. Also we have a huge distribution network that will help us stand out. 

Which marketing medium has delivered the maximum impact for you?

It depends on the product that we are advertising. If it's a traditional product  like Almond Drops Hair Oil, then traditional media channels like TV and Print have delivered the most impact. However, there are newer products in our portfolio that are marketed exclusively on digital.

How do you see the rise of D2C brands, are you planning a D2C model ?

There is no doubt that D2C is the way forward for brands, but we are looking at the unit economics of D2C before making any decision on that. One thing I can assure you that in the next 2-3 years, D2C is the model that we will pursue.

What are the big concerns for FMCG brands like yours?

We need to take cognisance of the changing customer preferences the way D2C brands are proliferating, and devise a strategy to counter that as well as amalgamate some of the changes that are going to happen and ensure that we are relevant as the market changes.

One of the biggest challenges will be to remain relevant to the new-age customer and taking care of your conventional customer as well. 

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