Most key soap manufacturers in India are not considering price hikes for now as the novel coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak continues to spread in the country.
Besides Godrej Consumer (GCPL), companies such as RB Health (makers of Dettol), Wipro Consumer Care (Santoor), ITC (Savlon), and Jyothy Labs (Margo) are not looking at pricing action, officials at these firms said.
While most insisted that the decision to keep price hikes at bay had nothing to do with the COVID-19 outbreak, GCPL said otherwise.
“We were planning for a price increase to partially cover for the spike in input costs. However, given the spread of COVID-19, we have decided to hold off this increase. It is our endeavour to ensure that stocks are replenished across all channels, so that our consumers can adopt better hygiene practices and stay safe,” Sunil Kataria, chief executive officer (India & SAARC), GCPL said.
Jyothy Labs’ Managing Director MR Jyothy said better hygiene habits were the need of the hour. “We launched our hand wash under the Margo brand a month ago. Consumers now have the option of a hand wash besides soap within the Margo portfolio. We’ve been pushing the hand wash aggressively in trade with introductory offers,” she said.
Earlier, Hindustan Unilever (HUL), had faced online backlash following media reports of price hikes within its soaps portfolio in the wake of the virus outbreak.
The company, however, clarified in a statement that no such thing had happened and that price hikes within soaps had been undertaken in January before the outbreak of the virus in India. “We increased prices in our skin cleansing portfolio by 5-6 per cent across our brands Lux, Lifebuoy, Dove, Hamam, Liril, and Pears. This was well before the COVID-19 outbreak in India. The production of new stock started in January. We had also clarified during our third quarter results at the end of January that the price increase was much lower than inflation. These reports of profiteering are completely baseless and malicious,” an HUL spokesperson said.