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ITC agarbatti brand eyes double-digit national mkt
The Times of India - 05 Sep 2014

Mangaldeep, agarbatti brand of ITC, is looking at a double-digit market share nationally in a highly fragmented agarbatti market. Now Mangaldeep, one of the few national brands in agarbatti business, has 8%-9% market share.

V M Rajasekharan, CEO of agarbati and matches business, said the brand Mangaldeep is growing at 30% for the last three years and is expected to maintain the momentum in 2014-15 as well.

The average industry growth of agarbatti is now 14%. Agarbatti is a Rs 3,500crore industry in India with a very few pan-India brands. On an average, each of us lights up 50 of these incense sticks a year, making it one of the most commonly consumed products in India.

"Consumption continues to grow at a healthy rate and much higher than other well-penetrated products. It is therefore in a unique position in India highly penetrated, a mature market, and at the same time with continued relevance and an inflow of new consumers, both from urban and rural parts of the country," Rajasekharan added.

ITC started marketing agarbattis in 2005. The company is procuring the raw agarbattis from self-help groups of six states Tamil Nadu, Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Bihar, Karnataka and Assam.

"More than 18,000 people are involved in the value chain of Mangaldeep," he added. He pointed out that ITC has a buyback arrangement with 20 factories that are doing value addition like adding the fragnance into raw sticks.

"We have 30 variants of Mangaldeep with sandal has a national presence. The growth of this industry represents a success story in rural sourcing and empowerment, which is little known to the consumer," the CEO of ITC agarbatti division added.

He pointed out that ITC Mangaldeep is one of the first to begin indigenization by providing necessary tools and training, bringing in international quality for the required perfumes and fragrances, and providing packaging and marketing support to the NGOs and SSIs involved in the manufacture. "We have just launched a campaign in electronic media nationally to make inroads into the market further," he added.

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