New Delhi: Packaged consumer goods company Godrej Consumer Products Ltd. (GCPL) is expanding its hand hygiene brand Protekt to build it into a home, kitchen and personal care brand, as covid-19 rapidly expands consumer usage of hygiene products in the Indian market.
Over ten new products including a dish wash liquid, surface disinfectant spray, a fruit and vegetable wash, soaps, masks, surface and skin anti-bacterial wipes have been introduced under Protekt—pushing the maker of Cinthol soaps and Hit mosquito repellents into new categories.
Covid is prompting consumer usage and trials of new hygiene categories over and above personal wash, said a top executive at the company.
“Indians are now looking at overall hygiene landscape very differently. People have become hyper-conscious about hygiene. Not just in terms of hand washing but all aspects of hygiene," Sunil Kataria, CEO, India and SAARC, Godrej Consumer Products Limited (GCPL) told reporters on Thursday.
He said, in recent studies by market researchers, 91% more Indian households are washing hands more often.
“This change in habit, I can tell you no marketer could have done. This is what the pandemic has done," said Kataria. The pandemic is also spurring growth of categories which were never big in this country, he said referring to hand sanitizers.
This reflects a shift in consumer behavior among Indian households where hand washing as a habit isn’t repetitive or remains low making more Indians susceptible to falling ill.
Over the next three years, GCPL expects Protekt to grow seven to eight times its size to reach ₹500 crore in sales. Extension into new categories could help the company.
GCPL’s move comes at a time when more Indian households are disproportionately spending on personal and home hygiene products.
India's fast moving consumer goods sector could end the year with a 4-5% growth in volumes, despite covid-19 led disruptions to supplies and household incomes, as consumers stock up on basic goods such as health, hygiene and packaged food products while cutting down on purchase of grooming and other discretionary personal care items, researcher Kantar said in a report last week.
However, intermittent lockdowns could hinder the reach of GCPL’s freshly launched products.
“Intermittent lockdowns are the biggest challenge in terms of ensuring supply chains of any kind right now," he said. This impacts factories, warehouses, logistics and reach to stores.
Between March to May, India's hygiene market registered an encouraging 24% growth year-on-year, researcher Kantar said last week. Kantar estimates that nearly 350 new sanitizer brands entered the market.
More companies are riding the hygiene wave in a market. Diversified conglomerate ITC launched a soap and body wash under its recently introduced Savlon Hexa brand; while Hindustan Unilever said it would line up new products under its Lifebuoy and Domex brands.
Dabur and Emami recently announced their entry into the personal hygiene market with a range of health soaps and sanitizers to draw benefits from heightened consumer usage of such products.
In an update to the exchanges last week, GCPL said in the June quarter “demand trends were mixed for the categories and geographies of our operations". It expects close to mid-single digit, volume driven sales growth in the domestic market during the quarter.
While household insecticide category continued with strong underlying consumer demand in the domestic market; it also witnessed strong momentum in the hygiene category. However, its range of hair colors and air fresheners were temporarily impacted by the lockdown, the company said.