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Eye on India

Priyanka Bhattacharya
  • The Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has set up new advertising guidelines for companies and brands selling fairness creams and related products.
  • The growing interest in beauty and personal care in India also is reflecting on the ingredients market for such products, with the desire for natural products helping to drive its growth.
  • Men’s personal care continues to be a large driver in the Indian beauty industry too, with larger and local players looking to take a bit of this market.

A unique and engaging marketplace, the beauty industry in India is growing in importance and prominence on the global stage. And as it is a market with specific products and consumer relationships being continuingly created there, keeping track of its development can strategically play into the betterment of beauty brands at all levels.

Advertising Standards Council of India Sets Rules for Advertising Fairness

After dealing with complaints from individuals and women’s groups against the way skin lightening products and fairness creams were being advertised in India, the Advertising Standards Council of India (ASCI) has set up new advertising guidelines for companies and brands selling fairness creams and related products. This affects the entire market for fairness products, including creams, face washes, serums and lotions.

The ASCI official statement says, “There is a strong concern in certain sections of society that advertising of fairness products tends to communicate and perpetuate the notion that dark skin is inferior and undesirable.”

Based on this observation, the governing body has created new rules, including a crucial one that says advertising should not communicate any discrimination as a result of skin color. Pursuant to the new rules, these ads should not reinforce negative social stereotyping on the basis of skin color and should not portray people with darker skin as at a disadvantage of any kind, or inferior, or unsuccessful in any aspect of life, particularly in relation to being attractive to the opposite sex, matrimony, job placement, promotions and other prospects.

The other rule says advertising should not use post-production visual effects on the models to show exaggerated product efficacy. More specifically, the pre- and post-product visuals of models should not used special effects to dramatize or exaggerate an advertiser product’s effects so that efficacy depicted is not drastically different than what can be delivered by the product. However, many brands that offer fairness products do seem to continue to show models with obviously retouched skin.

However, with these new regulations in place, the Indian beauty industry expects some of the leading fairness brands to go back to their drawing boards to devise new advertisements that gets the bright skin message across without being disparaging to anybody—and especially to the brand.

New Ambassador for The Body Shop India

The Body Shop India has appointed Bollywood actress Jacqueline Fernandez as its new brand ambassador, representing its range of naturally inspired and ethically produced beauty products.

According to the company, Fernandez was chosen because of her commitment to charity organizations and campaigns for education, human rights and animal cruelty-free causes. David Smith, managing director, Asia Pacific, The Body Shop, said, “For The Body Shop, India is a very important market, and it is one of the fastest growing markets in Asia Pacific, with 115 stores across 40 cities. We are thrilled with this partnership with Jacqueline Fernandez as she embodies everything that the brand stands for—natural beauty coupled with a deep respect for people, animals and the environment. Jacqueline is well loved in India, and we are confident that she will help The Body Shop to further connect with consumers of diverse age groups and backgrounds.”

Fernandez replaces actress Dia Mirza, The Body Shop’s first-ever brand ambassador in India. As the face and voice of The Body Shop India, Fernandez will appear in multimedia campaigns spanning print, in-store, digital and social platforms. The Body Shops India’s first campaign with her was launched in May 2014, with its strawberry body care collection featured.

And speaking about Fernandez as the new ambassador, Shriti Malhotra, COO of The Body Shop India, added, “This year she will be seen in our body care, skin care and makeup campaigns, with loads of new and exciting launches in the market.” The company shared hopes that its new brand ambassador will help the modern Indian women understand their beauty aspirations and highlight the uniqueness of The Body Shop India’s products.

Demand for Personal Care Has Positive Impact on Beauty Ingredient Market

As more Indian consumers spend more on beauty and personal care products, influenced by an increased awareness and exposure to more global lifestyles and products, the personal care ingredients market in India likely will see a steady growth. According to “India Cosmetic Chemicals Market Forecast & Opportunities, 2019,” released by TechSci Research, the beauty and personal care ingredients market in India is expected to grow at a CAGR of about 10% between 2014 and 2019.

Beauty and personal care ingredients in India are manufactured and distributed by various domestic players, as well as multinational companies. And huge investments have been made into the sector during the last five years due to growing demand for beauty and personal care products in India.

According to the report, Indian consumers’ preferences for high-performance products also is driving this demand for specialized ingredients. More Indian consumers are now buying beauty products that have multifunctional properties, ranging from anti-wrinkle benefits to smoothing and sun protection. The report further says increasing disposable income and the influence of Western lifestyles have been significantly driving the demand for beauty and personal care products in India.

“Growing demand for high-performance products with multifunctional properties are expected to further boost the cosmetic chemicals market,” the report states. “[The] Indian cosmetic chemicals market is forecast to expand considerably over the next five years as major manufacturers like BASF and Galaxy Surfactants are planning to increase their manufacturing capacities in India.” Evidently, it isn’t just major end-user beauty brands and companies such as L’Oréal and Hindustan Unilever that are constantly investing in R&D and manufacturing in India.

The report also identified that one major trend that is driving several research and technological developments in beauty and personal care ingredients is a demand for natural options in these products by Indian consumers.

Toni&Guy Focuses on Products, Training in India

India is a lucrative hair care market for beauty brands across the globe, as the Indian consumers in the country’s top-tier cities are highly conscious of brands and style trends today and most often like to be up to date. This goes both for hairstyles and for using the “right” products. Following this consumer behavior, London-based hair care brand Toni&Guy devised a three-way growth strategy for India.

After starting with a hair salon in Mumbai, the brand has quickly grown in Southern India in cities like Hyderabad and Chennai. Now the brand is looking to grow through franchisers. In regard to this plan, Rupert Berrow, group finance director for Toni&Guy, commented, “We have been witnessing traction since we started operations in India. We have identified three master franchisers to expand in [the] North, West and South. These three franchisers will further expand the brand in India.”

Currently, Toni&Guy has six salons across India, and the brand works on a royalty payment mode where franchisers pay a fixed royalty amount. Previously, the Toni&Guy brand had come to India through a distributor called Brushman India, which worked to launch a salon in Mumbai, as well as its label.m product range, which had failed to take off as the distributor went out of business.

This time round, Toni&Guy is playing to a safer route by working with franchisers. The company is set to reintroduce its label.m range of products and to retail through the salons. To ensure the salon employees have the right set of skill, Toni&Guy also is bringing its hairdresser training schools to India. Berrow noted, “We will be shortly opening academies in Delhi and Chennai. We will also equip the locals with the latest trends and fads with our extensive training.”

Male Grooming Popular as Brands Launch New Products for Indian Men

While the modern Indian woman is growing to become a very mature consumer, it is the Indian man that is proving more and more attractive for beauty and grooming brands across the board. This is so much so that Himalaya Drug Company, a well-known herbal health and personal care company in India, has also entered the male grooming segment with a face wash.

The reason Himalaya Drug Company entered this segment with a face wash is because of its steady success in this category. The company found even male consumers used face washes advertised as a product for women. And once this product gets accepted in the market, the company plans to expand its skin care range’s offerings for men.

While skin care for men is a growing market, it is the deodorant for the mid-range male consumer that is really catching up. Hindustan Unilever traditionally ruled the market with its Axe brand, but the market landscape has changed over the last year with the increasing popularity of the Fogg deodorant product by Indian company Vini Cosmetics.

Also getting into the game is Emami, which is best known for selling men’s care skin fairness products. It has launched its own brand of male deodorant products called HE. Emami plans to position HE in the mid-segment of male grooming, where it will compete against Axe, ITC’s Engage, Vini Cosmetics’ Fogg and P&G’s Old Spice brands. Emami plans to roll out the brand nationally with focus on 23 top cities, starting with the North, West and East, and moving to the South in a second phase.

Priyanka Bhattacharya is a writer and journalist covering the beauty, health and wellness industries in India. She is the contributing beauty features writer for several leading Indian women’s magazines.

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