While summer is to a large extent synonymous with companies introducing special product variants, this time around the soap sector is witnessing new launches with a slight difference.
VVF Ltd, which already has soap brands DoyCare and Jo, introduced a new soap, Shiff, which combines the properties of an anti-bacterial and a beauty soap.
Piyush Jindal, vice-president (personal care), VVF Ltd, said, "The soap sector has not seen too much innovation, but if the sector has to grow, companies will have to introduce need-based products. Our studies showed that a product of this sort would work well in the market."
Earlier last month, Godrej Consumer revamped its Vitamin E-based soap, Evita, to an anti-wrinkle product. HK Press, president, Godrej Consumer, said, "The idea behind Evita is to substitute anti-ageing cream that the consumer uses with a soap."
The company changed the formulation and is betting on consumers switching over from creams to the soap.
According to analysts, the Rs 5,000-crore (Rs 50 billion) soap market, which has not grown as fast as expected, will need more players creating unique categories to fuel growth.
Jindal points out the five per cent growth witnessed by the sector has been value and not volume growth.
This has been largely due to consumers opting for an upgrade and using more expensive products as well as a marginal increase in the price of certain soaps. The volumes have remained largely stagnant at about 4,500 tonne.
Figures show there has been a sharp increase in the number of small regional brands.
Larger players are seeing their market share being eaten into either by the regional players or the newer brands.
Earlier last year, Lux had embarked on its 75th year celebrations by roping in actor Shah Rukh Khan and introducing special variants.
Analysts point out that this was predominantly an attempt to boost its falling market share, a ploy which worked well for the company. Meanwhile, brands like Dettol and Lux have just introduced variants, Dettol Cool and Lux Aqua, which are timed perfectly for summer.
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