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India Quarterly: Guerlain Enters the Indian Market

By: Priyanka Bhattacharya
Posted: April 2, 2008, from the April 2008 issue of GCI Magazine.

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Bath soap is a highly penetrated category, with levels across India exceeding 90%. On the other hand, the shampoo category is not as penetrated, standing at 38%. This leaves more room for growth for the shampoo category, according to industry analysts.

India a Key Market for L’Oréal
Buoyed by 40% growth in its India operations, L’Oréal has identified the country as one of its top five growing businesses, globally. According to a company spokesperson, India has always offered high growth potential for the company, which made its entry possible 13 years ago.

In fact, the company is leading in the hair color market in the country, both for at-home and professional coloring products.

L’Oréal operates in India through its wholly owned subsidiary, L’Oréal India, and has four divisions—consumer products, professional products, active cosmetics and luxury products. Up to 2007, the company’s portfolio of brands included cosmetic ranges L’Oréal Paris and Maybelline NY; hair color and care products from Garnier, L’Oréal Professionnel, Matrix and Kérastase; and skin care from Garnier, L’Oréal Paris and Vichy. To demonstrate its dedication to the Indian market, the company launched newly purchased Body Shop and its luxury brand Lancôme in India in 2007, and the company recently set up its first Lancôme Boutique in New Delhi.

Although Body Shop launched in India through a distributor partnership, rather than from L’Oréal’s Indian subsidiary, the strategy was employed to maintain Body Shop’s original branding and consumer brand recognition, say some industry watchers.