Col­gate, HUL Brush Up Oral Care Biz to Keep P&G at Bay

P&G set to take Crest tooth­paste na­tional even as Col­gate & HUL push their prod­ucts

The Economic Times - - Business Of Brands - SA­GAR MALVIYA

Proc­ter & Gam­ble (P&G) maybe an in­signif­i­cant player in the In­dian oral care mar­ket yet, but in­dus­try heavy­weights Col­gate and Hindustan Unilever (HUL) seem to be keep­ing a close eye on their global ri­val. Al­most a month ago, Col­gate In­dia in­vited few trade part­ners in Mum­bai to un­veil what its chief ex­ec­u­tive Prabha Parameswaran de­scribed as a tech­no­log­i­cal break­through. She was re­fer­ring to Col­gate Max­i­mum Cav­ity Pro­tec­tion, a mid-pre­mium brand from the firm’s global port­fo­lio. Around the same time, its ri­val and coun­try's sec­ond largest oral care com­pany Hindustan Unilever was ready­ing a new whiten­ing tooth­paste un­der Close-Up brand. This was at a time when P&G was plan­ning to ex­tend its value-added Crest tooth­paste na­tion­ally, a year af­ter it en­tered the .` 7,000-crore oral care seg­ment un­der its Oral-B brand. While Col­gate didn't com­ment, HUL, which has seen its mar­ket share in the tooth­paste seg­ment con- sis­tently erod­ing, said the new in­no­va­tion could add some gloss in its port­fo­lio.“We be­lieve Close-Up Di­a­mond At­trac­tion will be a game changer in the cat­e­gory as it tran­scends from oral care into the beauty space, and lever­ages on the grow­ing trend of con­sump­tion in the beauty seg­ment in In­dia,” said Atul Sinha, cat­e­gory head, oral care, at HUL. Col­gate is by far the mar­ket leader with 54.3% share and has been gain­ing share over the last few quar­ters while HUL trails with 23.7%. Dabur has 11% mar­ket share and its Dabur Red tooth­paste is the fastest grow­ing brand in the mar­ket with 17% an­nual growth rate. The brand crossed .` 200-crore mark last year. In com­par­i­son, P&G’s per­form- ance in the cat­e­gory has re­mained muted, partly be­cause its prod­ucts are avail­able only in se­lect mar­kets. “With 12 SKUs (stock keep­ing units), P&G has gar­nered 1.2% mar­ket share in mod­ern trade ver­sus Col­gate Vis­i­ble White’s 4.5% mar­ket share with only two SKUs,” said Ab­neesh Roy, as­so­ciate di­rec­tor at Edel­weiss Se­cu­ri­ties. “In our view, P&G’s In­dia (tooth­paste) launch has been very low key as com­pared to its other global launches,” he said.

A P&G spokesper­son, how­ever, said, “The per­for­mance of Oral-B tooth­paste in our cho­sen launch mar­kets is both meet­ing and ex­ceed­ing ex­pec­ta­tions.” Any­way, P&G seems to have at­tracted larger ri­vals’ at­ten­tion in In­dia.

One rea­son for top play­ers turn­ing at­ten­tion to niche seg­ments, ac­cord­ing to ex­perts, is that value-added prod­ucts will now be­come more of a norm than ex­cep­tion. One re­cent ex­am­ple of that is the suc­cess of Glax­oSmithK­line’s Sen­so­dyne tooth­paste for sen­si­tive teeth. “Con­sumers wants spe­cific value-added ben­e­fit and cat­e­gory de­vel­op­ment leads to prod­ucts de­vel­oped for spe­cific func­tional ben­e­fits from generic one. In the last two years, growth of cat­e­gory has been led by the value-added whiten­ing for face value and sen­si­tiv­ity prod­ucts,” said Deven­dra Chawla, CEO at Fu­ture Group's Food Bazaar.

Oral Care Mar­ket

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