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India Quarterly: Indian Beauty Market Roundup

By: Priyanka Bhattacharya
Posted: February 2, 2009, from the February 2009 issue of GCI Magazine.

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The Body Shop—which has noted particular success in India with body butters and washes—is serious about evolving its selling proposition in India, which is a relatively new market for the company. In the last two years, the company has demonstrated continued growth, and the company plans to focus on promoting its makeup range in 2009. Its makeup lines, in fact, are currently undergoing a revamp to be more in line with global trends. According to sources, L’Oréal, the brand’s parent company, is looking to make the most of the naturals trend and promote the concept of “caring through makeup” by highlighting the products’ natural ingredients.

In fact, throughout 2008, the company was very aggressive about pushing its makeup collection in the Indian market by promoting new makeup formats and colors that most Indian women love. With its winter collection, The Body Shop is hoping to make a dent in the makeup market in India, which is dominated by Lakme, other L’Oréal brands and Maybelline. A company source says to expect a whole new range of lipsticks—one of the fastest-selling beauty products in India— in 2009.

Nature-based Beauty Among Top Sellers

The Indian “herbal” care market is currently valued at $630 million, and the pull of products in this category is so strong for consumers that beauty giants such as L’Oréal, Estée Lauder and Unilever are looking to extend their presence in the market. Estée Lauder, for example, bought a stake in the popular ayurvedic beauty brand Forest Essentials in 2008, and L’Oréal is scouting the market for an ayurvedic line to acquire—reportedly the Biotique brand is on its radar. Unilever’s Indian arm, Hindustan Lever, has extended its presence in the natural care market by launching a range called Ayush, a line of ayurvedic beauty and health products. It has also opened a chain of ayurvedic therapy centers under the Ayush brand.

Potential for Beauty Expo; Spa Brands Growing

With the terror attacks in Mumbai, a falling stock market and a shaky global economy, one would expect beauty exhibitions to be a failure in India. However, the response at the recently held Professional Beauty & Fitness India 2008 belied the situation.

According to the organizers, the event attracted 2,953 visitors, with 55 companies from 13 countries featuring their goods and services. The organizers focused on bringing an increased number of exhibitors from Western countries to cater to the increasing demand for quality products. Exhibitors from France, Belgium, Canada, the Czech Republic, Vietnam, Germany, Italy, Malta, Spain, the U.K. and the U.S. had a presence at the show, in addition to Indian companies.