Coronavirus Impact: How brands are venturing into the wellness and hygiene segment


May 11, 2020

Written By Devika Singh

According to Nielsen, the share of the top three hand sanitiser brands dropped from 85% in January and February to 39% in March, after 152 new players entered the segment

According to a recent report by Nielsen, the demand for hand sanitisers in the country went up by 340% in March, as compared to 24% in the months of December, January and February. The demand for handwash increased by 60% and floor cleaners by 24% in March, in comparison to the pre-pandemic period, the report says.

This surge in demand has attracted companies from across sectors.

The extent of activity in this segment can be gauged from Nielsen’s findings that show that the share of the top three hand sanitiser brands dropped from 85% in January and February to 39% in March, after 152 new players entered the segment.

Serious business

Is it just a short-term strategy for these companies that have recently forayed in the segment or are they in it for the long haul?

Priti A Sureka, director, Emami, says the company has big plans. “We believe that increased hygiene consciousness is here to stay with significant consumer behavioural shifts. The launch of the hand sanitiser is a natural extension of the BoroPlus brand, and we have plans to offer more hygiene options solving different consumer problems in the coming days,” she says.

Marico and CavinKare have already started diversifying their hygiene and wellness portfolios. Marico, besides sanitisers, has also introduced a vegetable cleaner brand, Veggie Clean, in the market. “While hand, body, home and kitchen hygiene are in practice, the sanitation of fresh produce is still limited to only rinsing them with water. To bridge this gap, we launched a fruit and vegetable cleaner,” says Koshy George, chief marketing officer, Marico.

CavinKare, meanwhile, has launched gadget and surface disinfectants under the Bacto-V brand. Positioning its hand sanitisers for the masses, the company has also launched sanitiser sachets for as low as Re 1.

“There is a need for this category to move away from premium users to masses, and hence we introduced sanitisers in sachets. This is our attempt to democratise the category,” says Venkatesh Vijayaraghavan, director and chief executive officer – personal care and alliances, CavinKare.

The companies are retailing these products across channels — general trade, modern trade and e-commerce, and are relying on digital media for marketing.

Long term effect

The demand for hygiene products, although at its peak currently, will not fade away soon, experts believe. However, Ankur Bisen, senior vice president, retail and consumer, Technopak Advisors, says companies must exercise restraint. “These brands must take one step at a time, and evaluate what the new normal is and how much they should bet on this category.”

Companies with a strong presence in the non-food FMCG category stand to gain far more than the rest. “Companies that have high brand value, good distribution and reach, are on retailers’ minds and have accessible shelf space are likely to make more out of this emerging segment,” says Devangshu Dutta, CEO, Third Eyesight.

However, he adds, this necessitates that companies have enough capital to support the segment for the next six months. “Some of these products are a result of the gold rush mentality; some companies are trying to gain out of this opportunity and will disappear in some time, because the business needs investment,” Dutta adds.

Source: financialexpress