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.