Indian cosmetics market booming; spells profits for global brands (2013 in Retrospect)

Indian cosmetics market

Indian cosmetics market

The Rs.29,000 crore ($4.5 billion) Indian cosmetic market is growing briskly and attracting more and more international brands. Experts credit awareness among the middle-class, increase in departmental stores and the tremendous growth opportunities that are luring global players like Bobbi Brown Cosmetics and BellePierre Cosmetics to tap the Indian market.

If international brands like Revlon, L’Oreal Paris, Estee Lauder, M.A.C and Maybelline are already doing brisk business, approximately 10 brands, including NATIO

and Bottega Di Lungavita, took the plunge this year.

“The Indian market has a lot to offer in terms of penetration of new brands,” Gaurav Gaba, managing director, Belle Vous Pvt Ltd., which launched Australian cosmetics brand NATIO in India in September, told IANS.

“The market and customers are becoming very brand conscious with the readiness to try new brands and products,” he added.

“The current wellness market stands at approximately Rs.70,000 crore and out of that beauty care products amount to Rs.29,000 crore. This number and the tremendous growth opportunity is attracting a lot of international players to the Indian market,” Gaba said.

According to Massooma, editor at New Age Salon & Spa and knowledge partner for International Beauty Mart 2014, the Indian cosmetics market is growing twice as fast as its US and European counterparts.

“India’s cosmetics market is reportedly growing at 15-20 percent annually, twice as fast as that of the US and European markets. The demand for skin whitening products by men as well as women, is driving the trend, but other beauty products are not far behind,” she said.

NATIO has around 260 products in skin and body care, men’s range and spa products, among others, priced between Rs.7,00 and Rs.1,500.

Sanjiv Khurana, director, Officina Farmaceutica Italiana, India, which introduced Bottega Di Lungavita in the country, says well-informed Indian consumers are embracing international cosmetics brands despite a difference in price points.

“This is for a variety of reasons. First of all, there is greater awareness among the well-travelled, well-heeled middle-class about international brands before they even enter the Indian market. Now that they are venturing into the market, they find ready acceptance,” Khurana noted.

International products get an edge over indigenous products as they are a tad better in quality.

“The products go through stringent tests and checks at many levels and therefore, consumers know they match the highest standards of quality assurance. But this is not to say that indigenous brands are not doing a great job,” Khurana said.

US-based Revlon was the first international cosmetics brand to hit Indian stores in 1995. Deepak Bhandari, director of marketing at Revlon, says the rise of departmental stores in the country has also encouraged various brands to enter India.

“It is also to do with changing retail environment in India, especially with departmental stores coming up in the last one decade. But it’s not easy for them to get volumes in business unless they plan for a long term. The new international brands see potential in the market and so lots of brands are coming to India and launching in departmental stores,” Bhandari noted.

Currently present in around 36 cities, Revlon Initially focussed on metros and mini-metros like Delhi, Mumbai, Hyderabad and Bangalore. Now, it is aiming to also target women in tier II and III cities.

“We want to focus on towns to consolidate business there. We want to be where our consumers want our products. People in smaller towns now have disposable incomes,” Bhandari said.

He said the main consumers of cosmetics are working women in metropolitan cities and married ones in smaller towns.

“Earlier, girls in schools and colleges did not wear make-up, but now they start early. They are part of a growing segment, but the core one is aged between 21 and 28. This includes working women, especially in metros where the working population in increasing. Women in smaller towns use more of colour cosmetics after they get married otherwise it’s occasion-based usage in India,” said Bhandari.

The competition has risen with the influx of international players, but indigenous brands are doing well, with Lakme the leader.

Highlighting the importance of indigenous brands, Gaba said: “In India, the cosmetics industry’s major share is enjoyed by Hindustan Unilever Limited through Lakme, which has approximately 30 percent of the market share.”

Khurana too felt that indigenous brands are doing well in a competitive market.

Source: SaveDelete


As Singapore gets richer, more people left behind

SINGAPORE (Reuters) – Every day, through eyes clouded by glaucoma, Peter witnesses the spending power generated by Singapore’s economic success, knowing he can only afford to look.

As Singapore gets richer, more people left behind

As Singapore gets richer, more people left behind

The 54-year-old shopping mall security guard is part of Singapore’s hidden problem – a growing number of poor living on the margins in one of the world’s most expensive cities.

The party that has run the city state since independence in 1965 has always preached the virtues of self-reliance, but for some the cost of looking after themselves has moved beyond their means.

Peter fears that he can not afford to treat his glaucoma, a condition that could threaten his sight, despite being eligible for subsidised surgery and other state benefits.

He was told treatment would cost over S$4,000, but the ailment only qualifies him to take up to S$1,700 from his state-administered healthcare savings.

Peter, who wanted his surname to be withheld as he did not have his employer’s permission to speak to media, earns around S$1,600 a month working in the glitzy Orchard Road area.

Half of his salary goes paying off S$20,000 of debts run up when his wife broke her ankle two years ago, and they are also still paying off their small flat in a public housing block.

“We have no savings,” he mumbled, recounting how he had borrowed from 18 moneylenders after his wife’s accident.


Singapore operates a system of compulsory savings, supplemented by employer contributions, for retirement and healthcare through its Central Provident Fund (CPF). Private insurance schemes are also available.

Yet, Mindshare, a global media and marketing services firm, found in a survey last year that 72 percent of Singaporeans felt they “cannot afford to get sick due to high medical costs”.

Data for 2002 to 2011 shows the government paid for less than one third of all healthcare costs, whereas the average for developed countries in the Organisation of Economic Cooperation and Development was between 60-70 percent.

Mounting unease over the number of voters who feel excluded from the comforts of living in Singapore has persuaded the People’s Action Party (PAP) to re-set its goals.

At a convention this month, the ruling party issued its first new resolution in 25 years, promising to improve living standards for all, create quality jobs, and provide affordable healthcare.

Minister for Social and Family Development Chan Chun Sing said the government is ready to help citizens struggling to meet medical costs, but some were unaware of the support available.

“Very often, the people who are most in need may not read the newspapers, access the Internet or even understand English,” he told parliament last month. “They need people who can talk to them in their language, people who will knock on their doors, check on them to see whether they are okay, and explain some of these assistance schemes to them.”


The city-state has seen a huge rise in wealth over the past decade as it positioned itself as a luxury low-tax base for ultra-wealthy people from across the world.

Per-capita GDP of S$65,048 exceeds that of the United States and Germany. And surveys highlight how Singapore, with a population of 5.4 million people, has more millionaires per capita than any other country. The Economist Intelligence Unit ranks it as the world’s sixth most expensive city.

But data published by the CPF shows the proportion of Singaporeans earning less than half the median income – an international yardstick for measuring the proportion of poor people — rose to 26 percent in 2011 from 16 percent in 2002.

“As one of the world’s richest nations, we can afford to do better,” Caritas Singapore, the Catholic Church’s social outreach arm, said at the launch of an advertising and social media campaign to highlight the plight of the poor.

About 12 percent of the 2 million Singaporeans at work earn less than S$1,000 a month. Whereas, Hui Weng Tat, an associate professor in economics at the Lee Kuan Yew School of Public Policy, reckons a typical worker needs a minimum S$1,400-S$1,500 a month to cope with living costs.

The city-state’s Gini co-efficient, a measure of income inequality, hit 0.478 in 2012, according to government figures, higher than every other advanced economy aside from Hong Kong.

Unlike Hong Kong, Singapore has not set an official poverty line, and the government has rejected calls to introduce a minimum wage.

What PAP has done is to make it harder for firms to recruit low-cost foreigners, tighten requirements to boost wages at the low-end, and amend labour laws to give more job security.

There are also plans to expand social protection and increase spending on healthcare. And while Singapore isn’t going to raise income tax anytime soon, it has raised taxes on bigger cars and luxury homes.

“There’s more to be done,” Finance Minister Tharman Shanmugaratnam said during a recent dialogue with diplomats and university students. “I’m not satisfied with the situation in the way it is.”

(Reporting by Kevin Lim; Additional reporting by Laura Philomin; Editing by Rachel Armstrong and Simon Cameron-Moore)

 Source: Yahoo News

Setback for the electric car initiative as Fisker files for bankruptcy

It has been almost an year since Fisker made the last Karma electric sedan. Actually, it wasn’t really a product for the masses anyway, with a price tag of $103,000.

Setback for the electric car initiative as Fisker files for bankruptcy

Setback for the electric car initiative as Fisker files for bankruptcy

After many months of dragging on, hoping for the best, Fisker Automotive has filed for chapter 11 bankruptcy. This means that the electric car startup company will not be able to pay back the remainder of the $192 million loan, which it had received under the U.S. Government’s Advanced Technology Vehicle Manufacturing (ATVM) program. The vendors who supplied the components will also have to wait for their payments, a while longer.

“After having evaluated and pursued all other alternatives, we believe the sale to Hybrid and the related Chapter 11 process is the best alternative for maximizing Fisker Automotive’s value for the benefit of all stakeholders. The Fisker Automotive technology and product development capability will remain a guiding force in the evolution of the automotive industry under Hybrid’s leadership,” Marc Beilinson, Fisker chief restructuring officer said.

Fisker, the Anaheim, California-based electric car maker has listed assets worth as much as $500 million, and debt of as much as $1 billion in a Chapter 11 petition filed in U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Wilmington, Delaware.

While the government has lost around $139 million worth of taxpayer money with this loan, it was able to recover $25 million in an auction where a conglomerate going by the name of Hybrid Technology purchased some of Fisker’s remaining assets. Hybrid Technology is reportedly linked to Hong Kong based billionaire Richard Li.

This is certainly a major setback for the electric car initiative, but the costs of making the Fisker Karma and pricing it at $103,000 did mean that the sales numbers remained low. Yes, a lot of celebrities were quick to buy one, but this was never a mass market product.

Under the U.S. Govt.’s ATVM program, Ford Motor Company is using a $5.9 billion loan to upgrade factories across Illinois, Kentucky, Michigan, Missouri, and Ohio and to introduce new technologies that will raise the fuel efficiency of more than a dozen popular vehicles. Nissan is using a $1.4 billion ATVM loan to upgrade their Smyrna, Tennessee, manufacturing facility and construct one of the largest advanced battery manufacturing plants in the United States. The plant will be capable of producing 200,000 advanced-technology batteries a year.


How to get the best deals on gadgets and games

Buying at full price is for those with deep pockets? Not quite, everyone likes a good deal whether it’s a brand new product or a refurbished one. We introduce you to the not so secretive world of deal aggregators.

How to get the best deals on gadgets and games

How to get the best deals on gadgets and games

Whether or not you have any inhibitions regarding online purchases, one thing’s for certain – online deals can never be matched by brick-and-mortar retailers. However, for a complete shopping experience you need to have elements of both worlds which would be, one, an abundance of information and reviews. Two, experiencing the look and feel of a product in your own hands. Which is why major brick-and-mortar shops are focusing on improving their digital presence and online retailers and venturing into the physical world. But that’s a discussion for another day, our focus here is on three main scenarios here – purchasing from within the country, outside the country and finally video games online. We’d like to warn you right now that most of these web sites send a bucket load of emails everyday so getting a separate email ID is advised. We’ve featured a few websites which you should go through, though, almost all websites swap content regularly with each other and feature the same deals. After a while it’s quite likely that skimming through deals will become part of your morning routine.

Buying from India

There are an umpteen number of online shops in India and going through each one of them is counter-productive. By the time you are done going through each and every site you risk missing out on a timed deal. Also, not everyone has the time or the resolve to plow through 20-30 websites just to save a few hundred bucks. So here are a sites you need to go through first, if you don’t find a good deal for whatever it is that you are looking for then proceed to the arduous task of scanning each and every site or you could play the waiting game. Buying online from new websites is always a sketchy business, specially when it’s a facilitator between multiple retailers, so do take care when dealing with them. Most web sites that aggregate deals follow a similar format, the only difference is that certain offers are specific to a particular website so you won’t find them on other aggregation websites. This is partly due to affiliate programs and partly due to the actual work undertaken by the site administrators. Free Kaa Maal has been around for about three years now and is pretty much one of the most prominent deal aggregators in India. The site also has a section for coupons but rarely do e-commerce sites allow for coupling of two or more offers so if you do end up getting in on a good deal then it is likely that a coupon can’t be clubbed with it.

Moreover, they also host a forum which covers quite a diverse spectrum of deal hunting. Members vote on certain deals and the feedback decides whether it attains a “featured deal“ status or not. You can even find freebie deals which could entail free home delivery of sample packs. We’ve heard of folks making multiple accounts to get a month’s worth of toiletries. You even get the scoop on international freebie deals, then you can get a bunch of people interested in the same product to get a discounted shipping deal. This is quite similar to a GO(Group Order).

If you doubt the veracity of any of the featured deals then there is even a review section to help settle your qualms. One last thing you can get done is have others help you find a deal on whatever product you wish to buy. While not every query goes answered you can easily expect a few responses. Khojguru is another site which hasn’t been a victim to an aggressive takeover that others which started around the same time have been.

The banality of landing plenty of deals is something that metropolitan cities enjoy and the rest of India doesn’t. For those staying in rural areas, even if you were to find a great deal online there is the possibility that they might not deliver to your location.

Buying from abroad

A very common occurrence is when one of your friends or relatives are coming from the United States, you’d ask them to get a little something for you. Given the free-trade agreements that it has with almost every major manufacturing nation it enjoys the best prices you can find. And to make the deal sweeter we’ve shortlisted a few websites for you.

The most common destinations for buying cheap electronics incidentally has a high volume of Indian tourism. They are Singapore, UK, UAE and the United States. If you’ve got Singapore in your crosshairs then check out and Mustafa Online. Both of these are the best places to look for online deals in Singapore, but the actual action takes place at Sim Lim square and Funan Mall. Unfortunately, Funan Mall doesn’t have any price lists which you could refer but stores on Sim Lim square do. We found one particular store which kept an updated list of prices for computer components in particular – BizGram.

For the UK there is Hot UK Deals which should be more than enough for your shopping needs. The United States has pretty much the best prices of them all, and Slick Deals should cover pretty much all of them. Getting $250-300 off on a medium to high configuration laptop is one of the most common deals you can get. International warranty is somewhat a concern here since the policies change from nation to nation, so if you were eligible for a 3 year warranty in the US that might not be the case by the time you get your product shipped to India. However, given the massive discounts one can hardly complain.

The UAE is also a great place to get electronics for cheap but there are hardly any online sites which one can refer to.

Video game deals

There are numerous online game distribution platforms but Steam still reigns supreme. However, the competition is doing its part to change this dynamic. While nothing on the horizon will be able to even remotely dent the market share that Steam enjoys in the foreseeable future, it hasn’t stopped folks from trying. Let’s look at the major players here, they have great deals on their own which is why keeping an eye out on these websites/platforms is something that you shouldn’t skip out on.


The Mac daddy of them all, Steam has this innate ability to empty bank balances over a period of one week, spread three to four times over the year. Gamers have been known to go on a diet and skip a few meals in order to squeeze in a few extra games into their game libraries. Steam is cross platform too, so it works on Windows, Linux and Mac.


The success of Origin is purely due to EA’s mighty arsenal of successful games. The fan following is so huge that it took next to no effort to have people jump on to the Origin bandwagon. Though from a deals perspective Origin did very little. It even went to the extent of raising prices in India which caused quite ahuge furore. But all that changed with the Humble Origin Bundle. There has never been a bundle in the history of gaming that could even match up to what EA pulled off with the Humble Bundle.


If you still reminisce about the great DOS games that you enjoyed as a youngster then GOG is a great platform to check out. What GOG does is that it ports all the classics onto the current OS and removes all traces of DRM. You get 10 free games just for signing up! GOG also features a bunch of new titles including The Witcher series and FTL: Faster Than Light.


A relatively new player, GreenMan-Gaming has its own DRM/client called Capsule. What we’ve seen is that its focus is shifting towards Steam DRM and it has a perpetual 20% off coupon system. What stands out about GMG is that nearly all Indian credit and debit cards work unlike on most other stores.


Desura is pretty much the equivalent of steam for Indie games, if it is Indie then it must be on Desura. It regularly has good deals on India games and you should definitely go through it.

The deal mantra

Now that you know the platforms for which you need to be looking out for, let’s outline a simple sequence which you can follow in order to get the best game deals on the planet. You could always visit each and every site that you come across daily to ensure that you are way ahead of the curve but who on earth has the time to do that? The folks who run these “deals websites,” that’s who! However, no one person is ever going to attain the status of “Supreme Guru of Deals”. Which is why crowd sourced aggregator web sites are the way to go. Our aim is to whittle down the entire process down to as few web sites as possible and the ones we’ve featured below should get you on the path to filling up your game library without spending much.


This is the one site that has it all, with a focus on Steam. The first thing you’ll notice is the tab, “magic” that uses their own algorithm to point out the best deals on the websites at that moment. However, we simply prefer sorting according to the discount percentage and then checking the history. They cover eight websites currently and hopefully we’ll see more. Usually games follow a certain pattern and once you view the history chart you’ll be able to guess whether a better deal will be out in the near future or not. It’s a great way to avoid buyer’s remorse. Let’s say a certain game is on deal at 50% off, checking the history might tell you that the game went to an all time low of 80%. So it makes sense to wait out a little while and hopefully bag another 80% off deal. The cherry on the cake is the RSS feed.

Amazon Game Downloads

Amazon comes up with some great deals every now and then, sometimes, even better than the ones on Steam. The only issue here is that they are limited to the United States only (sometimes Canada as included). What you can do is give the address of any of your relatives/friends and get that hurdle out of the way. You don’t need a VPN to subvert region based IP blocking. Amazon has deals for all platforms so you should always check the DRM tag to verify which platform the game is for before buying.

Indie Kings: Bundle Tracker

While the above sites focus on individual games this one deals with bundles. Lately, it has even started keeping track of bundles which have been announced but are yet to start. There is no focus on any particular platform here so you can find bundles for Steam, Origin, Desura and even ones without any DRM. We’ve noticed a slow transition towards tracking individual deals as well but not to the extent that the competition does.

Reddit Game Deals

Pretty much the one source which is pillaged by all aggregators is this particular sub-reddit. Given that each deal has its own little discussion, you might come across better deals in the comments. Or if any subversive (gaming the system) approach is needed to make good on a deal you’ll find the steps here. A word of caution – Steam and other platforms actively ban users who attempt to game the system. So if you’ve purchased a game which is region limited(specially RUS/ CIS limited games) and you do manage to activate it using a VPN then you can expect your account to be limited till you can convince Steam to revert
your account.

Going through all these websites is somewhat a nine-to-five job, so your best bet is to refer to the entire list of websites once a week or only when you wish to purchase something. Video games on the other hand have a completely different dynamic and the sales have little to do with regional holidays as such. And since it is digital import costs aren’t there in the picture so we tend to follow video game deals on somewhat a daily basis. Maybe you should do the same.


Woah! iOS 7 adoption just beat iOS 6, report shows

Woah! iOS 7 adoption just beat iOS 6, report shows

Woah! iOS 7 adoption just beat iOS 6, report shows

Apple’s new mobile operating system launched this week to highly mixed reviews. VentureBeat’s John Koetsier found much to dislike about iOS 7, but adoption rates are skyrocketing.

An analytics startup called Mixpanel has been tracking iOS 7 adoption and usage, in comparison to iOS 6. Apple fans have remained loyal to iOS6, but an increasing number are giving the newer operating system a shot.

Mixpanel’s chief executive Suhail Doshi just alerted us to the fact that iOS 7 just eclipsed iOS 6 for the first time.

Check out the full trend report here. 

iOS 7 beat iOS 6 at around 3.30pm PT.


iOS 7 beat iOS 6 at around 3.30pm PT.

Mixpanel is tracking global mobile usage — Doshi said the data is based on 2.8 billion actions of people using thousands of mobile applications.

It’s also worth noting that there are discrepancies in different markets. In China, for instance, the new operating system has struggled to take off. But adoption has been far quicker in the United States.

The new operating system appears to have inspired a bit of a love/hate response from consumers and the press. It’s the largest visual overhaul since Apple first introduced the iPhone in 2007. The updates include a personable male voice from Siri, icon tweaking and polishing, and a new built-in flashlight.

“It looks like Apple proved its design won over its customers,” he said. “That’s surprising given how drastic it was.”

Have you switched over to the new operating system? Let us know your thoughts in the comment section below.


Yahoo will start releasing transparency reports, too

Yahoo will start releasing transparency reports, too

Yahoo will start releasing transparency reports, too

Transparency reporting is getting trendy, guys. Yahoo announced today that it will release a transparency report for data requests from governments around the world — and we’re glad it is.

The company adds itself to the growing list of tech companies in Silicon Valley who want to share with users just who wants their data. Yahoo specifically says that it will include information about how it “processed the government data requests” it received during a period start January 1, 2013, ending June 30, 2013. It will also include how many accounts were affected by the data request.

Today’s report shows that the United States made 12,444 requests during this range. Yahoo gave over data in 11,402 of those data requests, denying 241 of the requests. It looks like the United States submitted the most data requests.

This is in keeping with companies such as Google and Twitter who release this kind of information regularly. Facebook also says that it will begin this process and recently released its first transparency report.

Google and others, however, are hitting back harder on the government for what kind of information can be printed in these reports. The government currently doesn’t allow companies to include how many data requests it receives under the Foreign Intelligence Surveillance Act. National security-oriented data requests are highly protected, though some national security letter data can be printed.

Yahoo has also sued the government for more of these rights, as the company explained in its announcement today.

This type of reporting has become even more important since former NSA-contractor Edward Snowden released information about a government surveillance program called PRISM. Citizens of the U.S. have been calling for more transparency around what kind of data the government is collecting about them, prompting the Director of National Intelligence James Clapper to release transparency reports on behalf of the U.S. government.

Yahoo promises that it will continue to publish transparency reports every six months.

What Percentage of Caregivers Conduct the Following Online Health-Related Activities?

Seventy-two percent of caregivers reported going online to find health information, according to a survey by the Pew Research Center and the California HealthCare Foundation.

CHCF publishes iHealthBeat.

The survey also found that 52% of caregivers have participated in online social activities related to health, while 46% have gone online for a diagnosis.

In addition, 24% of caregivers have consulted online reviews of drugs, according to the survey.

The report is based on a nationwide telephone survey of 3,014 U.S. adults.

Source: Pew Research Center/California HealthCare Foundation, “Family Caregivers are Wired for Health”