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Dabur chases growth with Amla, Vatika hair oil extensions 

Pummy Kaul  
In a strategy aimed at getting into potential fast-growing segments ratherthan investing in slow-moving brands, Dabur India has decided tolaunch yet another extension of its flagship hair oil brand Dabur Amla aswell as its value-added coconut hair oil brand Dabur Vatika.

The company is currently test-marketing two new extensions-Dabur Amla Liteand Dabur Vatika Lite in West Bengal and Karnataka, respectively. The brandextensions are expected to be launched nationally in the next financialyear.

Dabur's fresh foray into the Rs 150-crore value-added hair oils category ofthe overall Rs 1,200 crore branded hair oil market is prompted by the factthat the category is currently witnessing fast growth. ``The value-addedhair oils category is growing at a fast rate and we expect the lightssegment to grow much faster than the traditional hair oil market infuture,'' says Mr Sunil Duggal, director, family products division (FPD),Dabur India Ltd.

However, market reports indicate that even though the value-added categoryis growing at a pace of about 20 per cent, the light segment has witnessedminimal growth. ``Change in the consumer profile is likely to spur growth inthe light hair oils segment,'' adds Dabur's spokesperson.

Marico's Parachute Lite and HLL's Clinic Plus, which together command ashare of 20 per cent, would compete directly with Dabur Vatika Lite in termsof being a non-greasy coconut hair oil. On the other, Dabur Amla Lite wouldbe pitted against non-coconut based hair oil brands such as Dey's Chemicals'Keo Karpin and Marico's Hair & Care which has lately been losingmarketshare.

Performance of Parachute Lite too, as per the company's annual report, wasmoderate during the previous year. The brand recorded a volume growth ofover six per cent over the previous year. Its share in the value-addedcoconut oils market during the 12-months ended March 2000, was maintained atseven per cent. On the other hand, Dabur is aiming high on its proposedproduct extensions. Though not willing to give out expected targets, MrDuggal expects Lite to ride on the brand equity of "Dabur Amla and Vatika'so as to garner a better marketshare in its category. ``The new launches aremeant to capture an all- India target audience who may want to shift fromheavy oils to non-greasy or light oils,''

Mr Duggal said. The repositioning of Vatika as Vatika Lite, reflecting thenew product proposition of `grooming plus nourishment' rather than just`nourishment', is also expected to deliver long-term growth benefit which isexpected to come largely from brand extension to other hair-care products.

In terms of pricing, both Dabur Vatika Lite and Dabur Amla Lite are pricedat par with their respective mother brands at Rs 36 for 150 ml and Rs 24 fora 100 ml, respectively.

As far as sales growth is concerned, Mr Duggal is tightlipped about theanticipated volume sales saying that it's too early to comment.

While Dabur Amla, as a whole, has sales of around Rs 140 crore which isexpected to go up to Rs 160 crore this fiscal, Dabur Vatika, a comparativelyyounger franchise on the other hand has sales of around Rs 75 crore and isexpected to record a turnover of Rs 100 crore this year according to MrDuggal. Together, the two brand franchisees contribute about 20 per cent tothe company's turnover of Rs 1,042 crore.

The Vatika franchise was extended recently by offering the consumer Vatikaanti-dandruff shampoo. The franchise consists of three products: Vatikacoconut hair oil, Vatika shampoo and Vatika anti-dandruff shampoo. The moveensures that even with changing fashion trends and preferences, theconsumers' needs continue to be met within Vatika offerings.

It's a sticky affair for Dabur
Dabur's foray into the non-greasy oil segment goes back almost a decade whenit launched Dabur Special Hair Oil, the first extension of its flagship hairoil brand Dabur Amla Hair Oil. Relaunched thrice since then, the brand hasstill not been able to corner a significant marketshare though its lastrelaunch in 1999 incorporating `goodness of natural ingredients' did ensurea 50 per cent growth.

Nevertheless, Dabur Special Hair Oil has been a slow-moving brand, admits MrSunil Duggal, director, family products division (FPD), Dabur India Ltd. He,however, maintains that it commands a marketshare of eight per cent.

Moreover, the brand does not have a national presence.Strategically, the company has now decided to market/promote Dabur Specialonly in areas where it's doing well, that is parts of East and NorthEast-which incidentally forms 80 per cent of the total non-sticky oilmarket. ``The brand doesn't have the potential to be a national brand,''adds the company spokesperson.

Copyright © 2000 Indian Express Newspapers (Bombay) Ltd.

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