It is a controversially attractive market, and there is a new clash of titans. While newspapers and TV news channels were busy breaking news on the choice of Bollywood starlet Rakhi Sawant in a reality show through which she chose her groom, one brand was using it to bludgeon its way into a competitive market.
Dabur, with its eye on the Rs 2,000-crore skin-care market dominated by Hindustan Unilever’s Fair& Lovely, used the show to demonsrate the intent behind its Rs 250-crore acquisition of Fem Care Pharma last year, pushing the Fem brand on the prime-time show to grab mindshare.
As part of a larger strategy, the company has now launched a new skincare brand under the Ayurveda platform called ‘Uveda’ with Vidya Balan as the brand ambassador, which will be present in the fairness creams, moisturisers and face wash categories.
Minoo Phakey, deputy general manager, marketing, Dabur India Ltd said, “The brand will be positioned as a mass-premium brand”. The company expects the new brand to acquire a 8 per cent market share in the three categories in the next six to eight months. Fairness creams as a category is the biggest of the three categories, with a size of Rs 1,000 crore, while moisturisers and face-washes have smaller sizes of Rs 200 crore and Rs 70 crore respectively.
Dabur's skincare portfolio now has three brands — Gulabari, Fem and Uveda.
Aditya Agarwal, director at rival Emami said, “Dabur has tried to tap the skincare market earlier with Samara, eight to ten years back and later with Vatika but didn’t meet with much success”.
Anand Shah, an analyst at Angel Broking said, said while Dabur’s retail business was sagging, its larger focus was on skin-care.
While the skincare portfolio is abuzz with action, Dabur has been going slow with its retail venture. Its retail venture run through ‘new-u stores’ has seen only a marginal improvement and continues to make losses.
The company’s CEO, Sunil Duggal, however, is optimistic. “Our retail business will break-even in the next fiscal”, he said, pointing that the losses incurred have come down from Rs 4.9 crore for the quarter ended June 2008 to Rs 2.7 crore for the quarter ended June 2009.