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ITC looks away from fairness for men in personal wash
Business Standard - 01 Oct 2013

Amidst all  the gloom, there is good news for Indian men. At least, for the ones who like  to groom themselves. Consumer products major ITC is ready to up its ante in the  male grooming with more product launches planned in the 'wash' and 'care'  segment.
 
While ITC already has a presence in the segment, it is working on more products  in the Rs 3800-crore segment.
 
Terming it as the most 'exciting' segment in the personal care space, ITC's  personal care CEO SandeepKaul says Indian men seem to have finally woken up to  take care of themselves.
 
"This is not only for packaged products, even salons see more men walk in  these days," says Kaul.
 
ITC entered the mens grooming market in July, 2011 under the brand Fiama Di  Wills, ranging from soaps, shower gels to facewashes.
 
Kaul says,  "Most of our activity will be under Fiama Men with a range of products in  wash and care segment. We have been arduously working on them so both those  spaces will see action." He adds that ITC's products are developed  specifically keeping Indian men in mind as they have tighter and oilier skin.  To make sure it does not miss the mark, ITC is one of the first companies to  have launched facewash in smaller packs as men are not heavy users.
 
An analyst at Sharekhan says, "This segment has been showing a healthy  growth of close to 25 per cent, more than women's skincare."
 
Companies like HUL, Emami, Garnier, Nivea and recently Dabur have been wooing  the men. Emami and HUL are close competitors in the fairness cream market, the  segment which first saw Indian brands enter skincare for men. The Kolkata-based  FMCG major, Emami, recently repositioned its Fair&Handsome cream with  claims to providing more than fairness.
 
Recently, the FMCG companyDabur forayed into specialised male-grooming segment  with Oxy Life Men Creme Bleach. Like all other categories  of personal care, ITC, too, will maintain its presence across price points but  the sheer number of launches might be higher in the premium end.
 
After almost six years, ITC launched its new brand of deodorants, Engage.  Though catering to both the sexes, the deodorant category is estimated to be  about Rs 5,000 crore in next three to four years. Its current size is about Rs  2,800 crore. It is still to see a national roll-out. "It should be done in  next three to four months," Kaul says.
 
While the distribution strength of ITC is formidable in the industry, more  marketing and advertising activities will be key for men's grooming products as  men do buy a lot of the stuff due to advertising, says an analyst.
 
Rising media influence, changing lifestyles are only adding to the expansion of  the segment. ITC's bigger presence will only add to it.
 
While analysts maintain that new products from ITC's stable should offer more  value than what its existing range offers, ITC's stance to stay away from  fairness cream and focus on wash and care segments specifically may pay  dividends in the long run, as fairness creams might stagnate. Whatever the  future course, Indian men will be the ultimate gainers.

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