Thursday, October 15, 2009

The Economic Growth of the Mass Market and its Impact on India’s Cosmetic Industry

Tridib Banerjee | NMIMS University, Mumbai

Brands cater to the Indian cosmetics society through its wide range of products, with continuous up gradations and innovations. The basic idea remains that youth and style do not have a substitute. Couple it with foresight, research and constant innovation, the recipe for success is ready on the platter. The strategy of the networks is redefined in line with its vision of empowering modern India by serving superior beauty and healthcare products through customized and professional services. Growing disposable income and changing lifestyles in urban India have led to greater awareness about personal grooming, health and wellness. The emerging trends stand in good stead for Beauty and Wellness services sector, presenting a large and exciting opportunity. Let us take a closer look into the details of the current status of the brands as far as the cosmetics industry in India is concerned.

India with its huge market potential promised to be a major hit as a destination for the various brands across. While the HUL powered LAKME moved for the mass market, brands like L’OREAL tapped the niche customer segment. Down the years, the legacy of these brands has mesmerized the customers through constant innovations and appropriate strategies. But since the new millennium, the customer demographics took a major progressive move up and now came the necessity to take the marketing concepts to a different level to match up to their expectations.
A distinct increase in the educated population along with their web based knowledge enabled them to scrutinize the gory details of a product and this resulted in a more logical, aesthetic and stringent demand. The result was evident. LAKME showed a clear dip in its sales. Being the major marketer to India’s mass market, their reforms form a basic ingredient of our analysis of the Industry for the “Common Man”. Now, the question arises that what does a brand with a legacy of over 50 years have to do to resurrect its position back among the elite and make its balance sheets healthy?

LAKME’s answer was prompt. They came up with some rudimentary concepts to connect to the customer and reincarnate the theories of direct marketing via the web and media. Be it the “Elle 18” or the “LAKME Fashion Week”, the impetus was to reach out to the mass using punch lines like “WOMEN’S NATURAL BEAUTY” and “WOMEN OF ALL AGES”.

The other interesting initiatives included the “Beauty Saloons” and the “Bridal Sutra” concepts which were targeted to the specific genres with optimum vision at the aspect of “value for money”. They tapped the web market with élan as they used facilities like “Ask Lakme” and “Style File”. The very fact that the customer could customize a perceived look for herself gave her incentive enough to hit the saloons and the cash books gradually began to look promising again.

The health sensitive new age customer had to be convinced about the medical consequences of the product and here the nail was hit on the head by a strategic partnership with “AYUSH”. The brand LAKME-LEVER came into existence and the herbal market was catered to with legitimate conviction.

The imperative intent for the cautious approach has been to target the mass market. In order to survive the test of times, it is essential for the cosmetic brands to consciously try and implement/avoid the following fundamental aspects.

  • Convince people that cosmetics are an essential part of daily grooming.
  • Produce multifunctional products.
  • Encourage technological innovations.
  • Synchronize with the latest trends of the industry.
  • Establish the brand loyalty among its consistent customers (Direct marketing if need be).

  • Avoid the defectors. In mass market, this is lethal.
  • Avoid reactive policies; proactively encourage interactions and dialogues to get connected to the customer.
  • Avoid being limited to bigger outlets and enhance accessibility to the customer.

One major drawback in the growth approach of cosmetic honchos has been the lack of consolidation of the web services. A popular customer survey reflects a significantly poor segment having adequate knowledge of its existence and usage (clearly evident in figure 1 shown below). Internet and its proper usage may give the industry leaders and new comers the necessary and sufficient leeway to intrude into the fairly open market segment (refer figure 2 below).

In a nutshell, it has been an eventful revamp on the part of the brand, more reactively than proactively and all this can be attributed to one subtle yet unavoidable factor, the changing demeanor of the customer base, India’s mass market.

1 comment:

webmasterjst said...

Nice! very interesting article, all the brands are very good and popular among people but do they use any natural ingredient for their products? How they are beneficial then natural cosmetics?

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