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Indian Teens the New Focus for Marketing Skin Care

By: Priyanka Bhattacharya
Posted: May 4, 2010, from the May 2010 issue of GCI Magazine.

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While the international brands that have entered India continue to launch and push modern day hair care and styling solutions such as conditioners, masks, serums, gels and sprays, the Indian market is still demanding traditional hair care products like hair oil and henna. In fact, hair oil is one of the fastest-growing categories, with increased penetration in rural markets as well. According to an Indian ayruvedic company Dabur spokesperson, its hair oil brands Vatika and Amla continue to show double-digit growth year on year, despite competition. The market remains hot as brands such as Parachute launch variants of its traditional coconut hair oil products. Interestingly, most variants have seen success in the market. According to the company spokesperson, massaging scalp and hair with oil remains a favorite hair care regimen for almost all Indian women. In fact, some women also like to use non-sticky versions of these products in lieu of post-shampoo conditioners. The concept of oiling is so popular that Garnier Fructis launched its Shampoo + Oil 2 in 1 variant, with claims to provide hair the goodness of fruit oils even as the consumer lathers up.

Henna also remains popular. Despite the fast growth rate of hair colorants in India, use of henna to tint hair and to condition the strands remain a favorite hair care practice. Indian brands such as Godrej Consumer Products, which also markets a non-henna hair color range, has aggressive marketing strategies for its henna products. The market for these products has been dominated by homegrown local and regional brands. However, with Godrej’s entry in to the henna segment, the market is taking a different shape. According to the COO of the company, 44% of women and men in the country’s north and west regions use henna. Godrej has created special blends of its henna to improve hair quality, as part of a strategy to differentiate through products that improve results. The company also sees henna as a great opportunity for both local and global hair care brands.

Expensive Spa Package

Despite the market slowdown of 2009 and the slow recovery, spa players in India are optimistic about the market. Some of the key spas attached to high-end hotels have introduced luxury packages that are very expensive by Indian market standards. Recently, Aura The Spa at Hotel The Park, announced one of the most expensive spa packages under its new branding—Aura Solitaire. The package, which starts at $2,200, is meant for couples looking for treatments that offer the ultimate sensorial indulgence. In fact, the treatment uses a careful selection of ingredients with aphrodisiacal properties—including diamond dust, caviar, chocolate, red wine and exotic blends of essential oils for what the spa calls a “once-in-a-lifetime experience.” This eight-hour pleasure begins with transportation in a luxury sedan and a chilled bottle of Döm Perignon. The treatment begins at the spa with a dip in the naturally enriched Evian spring water-filled hot tub, followed by a protein-rich caviar facial, a diamond dust body polish and warm chocolate body wrap. A customized aromatherapy massage with time in the hot tub, accompanied by red wine, is then followed by an exotic dinner, specially made using the client preferences.

While these treatments are exquisite, where they being offered are not known to be traditional places for big spenders in luxury therapies. According to sources, the offerings at the spa’s properties in the cities of Kolkata and Chennai indicate that target audiences are international travelers, luxury tourists and top executives. In fact, Chennai and Kolkata are increasingly becoming foreign tourist attractions, and places for business travelers, further indicating Aura is looking to tap into such a clientele.

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.