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With tremendous media exposure to international beauty standards, Indian teenagers are becoming more and more conscious of how they look. The increasing awareness about good skin and clear skin as an indicator of being in step with current fashion has meant that Indian teenagers are more than willing to try products that promise to improve the appearance of the skin.
Noting this opportunity, Johnson & Johnson has relaunched its Clean & Clear range of skin care products to the Indian market. The brand has offered a face wash for oil control, but, during the first few months of 2010, it has launched a complete skin care range—including spot treatment gel, face washes, oil control moisturizers and oil control wipes. In fact, the brand now offers a comprehensive range to deal with various teenage skin issues—including Daily Care Range, Oil Control Range and Acne Control Range. Johnson & Johnson has also launched a comprehensive Web site for Indian teens to offer tips on various skin issues.
Dermalogica is another brand that has focused on teens in a big way, launching large campaigns toward this segment. The brand’s Clean Start initiative and products were unveiled in January 2010 with much fanfare, including free makeovers and gift hampers to young adults and teens during a Dermalogica-sponsored college student-managed international film festival. Here again, the brand is now offering comprehensive skin care routines for day and night. Eight dual-action products that will allow teens to get great skin “on their own terms and not their mothers’ ” were among the initial offerings. Unlike the Johnson & Johnson range, the Dermalogica pricing is relatively high. However, a Dermalogica spokesperson claims that because all the products are free of mineral oil, SD alcohol, artificial colors and fragrances, the long-lasting impact of the products on skin will be safe and effective.
Looking well-groomed is going to get costlier in India. Recently, the Indian finance minister has proposed an excise tax hike on all personal care products—creams, lotions, shampoo, soap and hair oil, among the products cited. If this gets implemented, companies operating in India may look to a product price hike of up to 7%. A few Indian beauty brands—notably Emami, Godrej and Marico—have already announced their intentions to hike the prices of their products 3–7% by the end of May 2010. However, HUL (the Indian arm of Unilever), P&G and Dabur have not announced any plans for hiking the price of their beauty products. Spokespersons from these companies agree that, at a time when Indian consumers are reaching a high point in awareness about grooming and personal care, this kind of cost hike will negatively impact their buying decision. In fact, the impact might be more acute in markets in smaller towns where the consumers are more price-conscious. More and more global brands that market in larger Indian cities have been planning expansions into smaller towns with extended ranges of products, and the finance ministry’s tax is expected to hurt the business expansion of some brands in the smaller town markets.
Responding to Indian consumer demand for its products at more affordable prices, The Body Shop has reduced the prices of more than 600 of its product on Indian shelves by 35%. Since extending its presence in tier two cities such as Pune, Lucknow, Jaipur, Indore, Ludhiana (where consumers are far more cost-conscious), the brand felt the need to reduce prices further. In fact, a company spokesperson in India claims that this reduction is a follow-up of a similar initiative taken in 2009, when it had cut its prices. According to the source, the newest cut is in response to customer feedback as well as its strategy to attract new consumers. The brand launched the “The Body Shop Loves You” to announce the price cuts. As the company enters a new phase of growth and development of the brand in India, its focus is on ensuring its products are accessible and affordable. The prices of basic and its most popular skin care products have been cut 15–35%; makeup ranges 10–35%; and men’s ranges by 10–35%.