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P&G wakes up to man power

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A late entrant in the men’s skincare market, the FMCG major is trying hard to make up for lost time

Sharat VermaThe ads are slick and the communication crisp. Procter & Gamble is trying everything it can to draw the attention of the target audience who are anyway spoilt for choice.

The men’s skincare market in India is one-tenth the size of the women’s skincare market pegged at Rs 3,000 crore. But the pace at which it is growing has attracted quite a few players in the last few years. Emami, (HUL), Nivea, Garnier, Lóreal are all well-entrenched in a market growing at around 25-30 per cent per annum. The women’s skincare market, in contrast, is growing at 10-15 per cent per annum.

That explains why P&G is in a hurry to shed its late mover disadvantage in this segment. The firm kept just a fortnight’s gap between the launch of two products in the men’s skincare market (Gillette Skincare was launched end of May, while Olay Men Solutions came in the second week of June).

Sharat Verma, marketing manager, Gillette India says the firm has stepped into the marketplace after doing some hard research on the skincare requirements of Indian men. “For Olay, for instance, we looked at a number of formulations before deciding on what we needed to do as far as the products went,” he said. “In the case of Gillette, the idea was to provide an easy cleansing regimen for men — something which isn’t fussy and inconvenient.”

P&G has targeted both ends of the price and consumer spectrum with its Olay and Gillette skincare brands respectively. Olay Men Solutions is a premium skincare range with price points starting from close to Rs 400 for a cleanser to Rs 700 for a toner, moisturiser and rejuvenating cream respectively. Gillette Skincare, on the other hand, is competitively priced at Rs 69 for a 15 ml moisturiser to Rs 199 for a facewash and scrub respectively. The firm also has a skincare lotion and moisturiser at Rs 399 and Rs 299 respectively under Gillette. “But the bulk of the range is competitively priced,” Verma insists.

Competitors are watching P&G’s moves closely. Says an executive from rival Lóreal. “Let’s see what they do. Olay Men Solutions was essentially an Asian rollout. It was in China earlier. They have now brought it to India,” he says.

Internationally, P&G has attempted to make steady inroads into the men’s skincare category. It was in 2010 that P&G rolled out a series of skincare products under Gillette in the US market to help improve the brand’s stickiness well after shaving was over. The Olay Men Solutions range was launched in Asia more recently, where the response to it has been good, say Verma.

P&G, according to industry sources, is likely to add more products to its men’s portfolio going forward. Verma declines to indicate anything just yet. “Our hands are full at the moment,” he says. But sources indicate there is room for a fairness cream in P&G’s portfolio — a product that is important in the men’s category in India.

Making up almost 70 per cent of the men’s skincare market — the men’s fairness cream segment is an important one, according to Mohan Goenka, director, Ltd. Key players in men’s fairness include Emami with its Fair & Handsome cream, HUL with its Fair & Lovely Menz Active and for Men. Even allied players such as have skin lightening and whitening products targeted at men, says Goenka.

But even as men’s fairness remains important, males, say industry experts, are beginning to assert themselves in other ways. “Which is why the market for allied skincare products is also growing,” says Shirish Pardeshi, senior FMCG analyst, Anand Rathi.

In the last year or so, most players have responded to this trend. HUL, for instance, came out with its Vaseline for Men range, Garnier, Lóreal and Nivea have also expanded their portfolio of men’s products and so has Emami. P&G also appears to be banking on this trend for now.

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