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.