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India Quarterly: Mary Kay to Invest $20 Million in India
By: Priyanka Bhattacharya
Posted: January 10, 2008, from the January 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.
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“We did a market study seven years ago in Delhi, Mumbai and Bangalore, but realized then that the market was not ripe,” said Paul Slavin, brand manager, Clinique India & Middle East. “Then we came in again last year to take a fresh look at the market, and found a match between our aspirations and consumer brand recognition and expectations. The market has matured, and Indian women are ready to spend on looking good and feeling good. So we decided to enter India. And here we are with the products and services to meet the growing beauty demands of Indian women.”
A survey at the Dubai and Heathrow airport retail outlets showed that Clinique was the most purchased skin care product among returning Indians. Speaking on the brand’s entry into the Indian market, Slavin commented, “This is the perfect time for us to enter the Indian market since, as a brand, we are celebrating 40 years of helping women of all different skin types, ethnicities and ages to achieve beautiful skin. With our dermatological heritage and unique approach to skin care consultant education, we feel that we can offer exactly the kind of service the skin-savvy Indian woman of today is looking for.” He expects India to become a key market after China, which the brand penetrated approximately eight years ago.
Clinique is targeting consumers age 25–50, and during its interactive event with the potential customers in Delhi, Slavin was pleasantly surprised to find more than 80% of women were aware of the brand and its various other products. “We met over 2,300 potential customers during the event. Some of them have already been using our products, which they bought outside India. This makes us confident that by opening up stores in India, we will be giving Indian consumers what they have been seeking for some time now.”
The company has introduced a 400-product portfolio, and has over 200 treatment products and 77 shades of foundation to match the various skin tones of Indian women.
After testing waters in the Mumbai market over the last year, The Estée Lauder Companies-owned M-A-C Cosmetics is now available in Bangalore and Delhi. According to Rana Danesh, brand communication manager, M-A-C Cosmetics Middle East and India, the company spent the year assessing the response from the market, and the expansion coincides with the brand’s growing popularity and increased market opportunities in urban areas and upscale malls. The brand store is expected to curb diversion and unauthorized distribution of the products. M-A-C is also working with popular stand-alone beauty stores in Delhi and Bangalore to make sure that they do not sell M-A-C products imported from other countries.