Hindustan Unilever Ltd will soon launch a range of skincare products that make an unusual pitch to customers: protection from pollution. “We are in the process of launching Lakme Pure Defense Anti Pollution Range. At this stage we would not be able to comment any further on this,” an HUL spokesperson said.
The skincare market in India is worth Rs2,100 crore by sales revenues and HUL has several brands in the segment —Lakme, Ponds, and Fair and Lovely. However, these brands have been facing increasing competition from local companies such as J.L. Morison which makes the Nivea brand, Lotus Herbals, Himalaya Drug Company which makes Ayurvedic Concepts brand, and Bio Veda Technologies Pvt Ltd which makes Biotique brand as well as multinational firms such as Procter and Gamble Home Products Ltd, L’Oreal Group, Clarins Skin Care and Estee Lauder Cosmetics Ltd.
A person familiar with the development who did not wish to be identified said the Pure Defense range would have day creams, moisturizing lotions, cleansers, face washes, sun screens and serum-based night protection creams. The person added that the company would launch the range by end January in “select outlets” across the country. He did not say whether the products would be imported or produced locally.
Skincare products that sell on the protection from pollution platform have caught on in the US and other Asian markets. In 2007, Procter and Gamble entered the Indian skin care market with its Olay brand. “Total Effects”, the company’s premium anti-ageing product which is sold under the Olay brand competes with HUL’s Pond’s “Age Miracle” anti-ageing range, also launched last year.
A number of global players such as L’Oreal and Clarins have entered the market and people familiar with the development say Estee Lauder is also close to launching its Estee Lauder and Clinique brands. The Indian skincare market has been growing at around 16% a year out of which the anti-ageing products market accounts for close to Rs100 crore by sales.