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Global brands don't top in India

By Viveat Susan Pinto
June 24, 2014 12:45 IST
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BrandsBillion-dollar brands Coca-Cola, Colgate, Nescafe, Maggi, Pepsi, Knorr, Lifebuoy, Lays, Pantene and Kraft are the world’s top 10 FMCG brands, according to a just-released study by WPP-owned market research company Kantar.

Called Brand Footprint, the annual study tracking purchase behaviour of households is done by Kantar’s insights and analytics division, Kantar Worldpanel.

This year, it covered 956 million households in 35 countries.

Fieldwork was done between October, 2012-13 and the data analysed in the last seven months.

However, in India only Colgate, Maggi, Lifebuoy and Lux (it is the 13th FMCG brand in the world) that make the cut among India’s top 10 FMCG brands.

According to the report, Colgate is the top-ranked FMCG as well as health and beauty brand in India. Lifebuoy is sixth in FMCG and third in health and beauty.

Lux is 10th in FMCG and fifth in health and beauty brand, while Nestle’s Maggi does not figure in the top 10 list (it is 14th), but is ranked fourth in the Indian food brand list.

Colgate, says company MD Prabha Parameswaran, has maintained its top position in both FMCG and health & beauty for three years in a row in India.

“As consumers’ needs evolve, we listen, adapt and innovate,” Parameswaran had said about Colgate’s performance.

The brand’s affinity with consumers can also be guaged from the consistent market share gain it has seen in the last few years despite stiff competition.

According to a presentation made by Colgate recently, rival Hindustan Unilever’s market share has consistently fallen in the last two years in toothpaste, standing at 21.5 per cent between January and April, 2014, as against 22.8 per cent in CY-13 and 23.8 per cent in CY-12.

Colgate has grown from 54.5 (CY-12) to 55.9 per cent (CY-13) and 57.1 per cent (Jan-April 2014) in the category.

Interestingly, the Brand Footprint study is subscribed by most consumer goods majors across the world (including in India) since it gives companies an idea of purchase and consumption behaviour of households.

It has measured brands according to consumer reach points that shows the

number of times the brand is chosen by shoppers; number of households buying the brand; and the number of times each household purchased the brand on average in a year.

This is in addition to market research data that they subscribe to, which is collected at the retail level by research firm Nielsen that provides the information (in India and other parts of the world).

Desi brands among India’s best

The brands that make it to the top 10 Indian FMCG list include home-grown majors such as Parle (third), Ghadi (fifth), Tata (eighth) and Britannia (ninth).

The only non-desi brands that figure in the list (but not in the global top 10 FMCG list) are Wheel and Clinic Plus from HUL. Clinic Plus is the second FMCG brand, as well as the second in heath & beauty brand in India only.

Wheel, in contrast, comes in at number four on the Indian FMCG list and is the top-ranked home care brand, according to the Brand Footprint Report.

Incidentally, Clinic Plus, which was relaunced two years ago with a new formulation and packaging, and targets hairfall and hair-health, jumped two places to make it to the second spot in the Indian FMCG list this year.

It has retained its second spot in the Indian health and beauty category. Wheel, on the other hand, dropped one place in the Indian FMCG list, but has maintained its ranking in the home care category.

Both Clinic Plus and Wheel remain key brands for HUL, with turnover in excess of Rs 1,000 crore (Rs 10 billion) and Rs 3,000 crore (Rs 30 billion), respectively, according to analysts tracking the company.

The two products have also been relaunched in the last few years to ensure consumers did not get fatigued with constant use.

Barring these few exceptions, however, it is really the home-grown brands that find resonance with consumers in India.

It points to their efforts to increase their presence and reach, in the face of the marketing onslaught of multinationals such as Colgate and HUL.

In the last few years, companies such as Parle Biscuits, Ghadi, Tata and Britannia have all attempted to increase their penetration in rural areas, mark their presence in newer categories and push innovative products.

Ad spends, both on mass and digital media, have also significantly gone up to improve brand recall.

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Viveat Susan Pinto in Mumbai
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