Are dark days ahead for fairness cream market?

The market for fairness creams for men and women seems to be shrinking


Photo: Bloomberg
Photo: Bloomberg

Kolkata: The market for men’s fairness creams appears to be shrinking and this may well be a trend for the long term, according to some analysts.

Emami Ltd, leader in the men’s fairness cream segment with about 60% market share, told analysts last month that sales of its Fair and Handsome range of face care products grew only 1% during the September quarter and the first half of the financial year.

Independent research data by analysts shows the market for men’s fairness cream may have contracted from Rs375-450 crore in 2008-09 to around Rs380-390 crore now. Sales of men’s fairness creams have been contracting since 2013-14, said Sathyanarayanan M., an analyst with Cholamandalam Securities Ltd, noting that after years of gaining market share, Emami’s Fair and Handsome brand grew 1% in the past two quarters.

Even among women, fairness creams are no longer as popular as they used to be, according to analysts. The total market for fairness creams (for men and women) is estimated at Rs2,000 crore currently, compared with Rs1,500 crore a decade ago.

The key markets for fairness creams are Uttar Pradesh and Maharashtra, said an analyst who did not wish to be identified. The two states recorded sales of Rs200-250 crore each in fiscal 2008-09, while Andhra Pradesh (including Telengana) and Karnataka had sales in the range of Rs125-150 crore each.

Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) is the overall leader in the fairness creams segment. While the company does not give details of individual brands, an analyst said sales of HUL’s personal care products contracted marginally in the September quarter. The decline was “disappointing”, HDFC Securities Ltd analyst Naveen Trivedi said in a report.

However, independent brand consultant Harish Bijoor said sales of fairness creams may not be growing but people are unlikely to give up on them. New products are still being launched and men are spending more in general on personal care, said Bijoor, who runs an eponymous consulting firm.

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