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Personal Care in India | Cosmetics in India

India’s personal care industry is composed of hair care, bath products, skin care and cosmetics, and oral care. The sector is driven by rising income, rapid urbanization, and celebrity promotions. This industry accounts for 22% of the country’s fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), which is the term for Consumer Packaged Goods in India. Foreign direct investment in this sector totaled $691 million in 2014.

Hair care is a main category of this industry. A study by Nielsen, a market research firm, determined that shampoo is the most popular FMCG product in India. The $818 million shampoo segment is dominated by Hindustan Unilever Ltd., owned by U.K.-based Unilever. Its most popular brands are Sunsilk, Clear, and Clinic Plus. Hair oil is another important product, valued at $1.3 billion annually. India-based Marico’s Parachute and Dabur are leaders in the production of branded coconut hair oil.

Estimated at $1 billion, the soap and bath category is significant. Soap is a prevalent product found in more than 90% of Indian households. The most common brands include Godrej’s Cinthol, Reckitt Benckiser’s Dettol, Wipro’s Santoor, and Unilever’s Lux, Dove, Hamam, and Lifebuoy. For men, shaving cream and razors are important personal care items. Procter & Gamble’s Gillette is the most popular shaving cream and razor brand in India.

Within the cosmetics category, India’s most prevalent products are skin creams, lotions, whitening creams, and makeup. Hindustan Unilever has three brands that are popular among Indian women—Fair & Lovely, Lakmé, and Ponds. Fair & Lovely was the world’s first skin lightening cream and is the company’s leading skin care brand. Colgate Palmolive’s Charmis moisturizer is also prominent. The majority of the demand for cosmetics comes from working men and women. L’Oreal Paris develops both skin care and cosmetic products for India. New York-based Revlon expanded further to smaller cities in India, generating $40 million in revenues in 2014.

The organic skin care category grows at over 20 percent annually and is expected to total $157 million in 2020, according to Azafran Innovacion, an organic skincare group. Large Indian organic skin care companies include Himalaya Herbals and Biotique. Both specialize in Ayurveda-based products.

The oral care category is the smallest category; less than half of Indian consumers utilize western-style products such as toothpaste. Colgate Palmolive dominates more than half of this industry and was named India’s most trusted brand four years in a row by a brand equity survey. Hindustan Unilever is another significant player with toothpaste brands Pepsodent and Close Up.


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