Indian consumers pick natural products over ‘chemicals’

Perception is working in favour of natural product companies. About 98% of the respondents in the survey seek complete transparency from manufacturers

In the last 10 years, consumer preference for skincare products labelled organic, herbal, Ayurvedic—broadly categorized as natural products—has almost doubled, according to a survey. Chrome Data Analytics & Media (Chrome DM), a primary research and data analytics company, examined the usage and adoption of natural skincare products across India earlier this year in a survey customized for Mint.

This is not just about a shift to natural products or home-grown companies. “This is part of the larger authenticity trend," says Anisha Motwani, managing partner at Bengaluru-based marketing firm Storm the Norm Ventures. Though growing affluence encourages consumerism and hedonism, says Motwani, people are also looking at being more real in terms of the products they associate themselves with.

In a 2017 report, the Indian Beauty & Hygiene Association and AT Kearney said the all-natural market is one-third of the personal care market, and growing at 2.5 times the rate of the non-natural market.

Multinational corporations have tried to tap into this market, launching products with natural ingredients, such as Colgate’s Cibaca Vedshakti, Sensitive Clove, and Active Salt Neem. Hindustan Unilever Ltd, the manufacturer of Pond’s and Dove, acquired the Indulekha and Vayodha Ayurvedic brands from Mosons Group in 2016, and revived its Lever Ayush brand.

The share of Patanjali Dant Kanti in the toothpaste market more than doubled, to 6.7%, from a year ago, lowering the share of the top three brands—Colgate, Pepsodent and Dabur—from 92% in 2012 to 86.8%.

What’s working in favour of natural product companies? Perception. About 98% of the respondents in the Chrome DM survey seek complete transparency from manufacturers. Moreover, advertisements featuring celebrity influencers have also seen a sharp fall, from 61% recall 10 years ago to just 37%. Suggestions from friends and relatives have gained in importance, accounting for 67% of the decisions.

The survey was done with 2,374 respondents across Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Chennai, Pune and Bengaluru.

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