Ayurvedic medicine maker Himalaya Drug Co., which also markets nutritional supplements and personal care products, plans to ramp up its retail operations and introduce new categories of skin care and male-grooming merchandise, a top official said.
“We will soon be entering the male-grooming market with about five products ranging from fairness cream to moisturizers and face cleansers. We are also looking to launch specialized skin products such as anti-acne and anti-ageing offerings,” said Saket Gore, business head of the consumer products division.
“This market offers huge potential and despite a whole host of other consumer product companies planning to enter the sector, there will still be space for more,” he added.
Himalaya Drug’s Gore plans to expand the product range by moving into newer categories and ramping up retail business
India’s largest consumer products company, Hindustan Unilever Ltd, is the market leader in the skin care category with a market share of around 55% in a segment that is becoming more competitive.
Last year, local arms of multinationals such as Procter and Gamble Co., L’Oreal and Nivea launched several anti-ageing skin care products while domestic companies, such as Wipro Ltd’s Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting unit, Dabur India Ltd and Elder Health Care Ltd, have either entered, or are planning to enter the male-grooming market soon.
“Himalaya is a well-known brand and it is a smart move to enter only those segments, which have been recently created by other consumer product companies. These segments are fast growing and the company’s herbal positioning could help them in differentiating their products from rivals,” Sameer Deshmukh, analyst at brokerage firm IL&FS Investsmart Securities Ltd.
With its global business now contributing about 30% to the total annual revenues of $200-250 million (Rs856-1,070 crore), Himalaya claims it is aiming to be among the Top 5 consumer product companies in most of the 65 countries it is present in.
Apart from increasing its shipments and expanding product portfolio abroad, the company also plans to open its Himalaya Herbal Healthcare chain of stores overseas.
“We plan to open our first store outside India in Europe soon,” said Gore. The company has some 125 stand-alone stores and about 200 outlets under the shop-in-shop format.
Himalaya is also opening a US food and drug administration (FDA)-compliant unit in India to make sure its products meet the stringent FDA norms, especially in the US, after harmful levels of lead, mercury and other metals were found in some Ayurvedic products there.
“Though all our products are FDA-compliant, we do not want to take a risk abroad. For instance, we are introducing a range of organic personal care products in the US instead of the Ayurvedic products available in other countries,” Gore added.
With these initiatives, Himalaya hopes to achieve half of its total sales from overseas.
In India, the company launched an online shopping website for all its products last week.