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Firms launch cool products for summers

business Updated: May 16, 2008 23:25 IST
Varun Soni
Varun Soni
Hindustan Times
Highlight Story

How about beating the summer heat by covering your windows with blinds that have sun sensors, wearing shoes designed to leave your toes cool, washing your hands with a cool menthol soap or drinking hot tea that helps cool your body from within?

The market this year is flooded with new and innovative products specially designed for the summer season. What was earlier restricted to only beverages and ice-creams has now become a trend with every major company trying to cash in on the ‘hot’ weather. Cool is the new market mantra.

“The launch of seasonal based offerings by companies is driven by competitive pressures and the need of these companies to differentiate themselves in the highly cluttered Indian market by offering niche products,” said Ashok Rajgopal, Partner, Retail Practice, Ernst & Young.

In fact, products that are targeted specifically for seasons have been showing a steady growth trend. “For instance, the sun-care creams market has been growing at over 18 per cent annually. Additionally, even cotton and cotton-based clothing see a hike in their sales during these months, at over 20 to 25 per cent,” said Rajgopal.

Even products targeted for use during winter (such as lip-care, intensive moisturizing creams) etc. have recorded healthy growth rates at over 18 to 20 per cent, he said.

Topping the list of innovative products this year is Glystro—a blind from France’s Somfy that comes with an interior solar protection. The device not only helps programme your blinds to open and close everyday at a time chosen by you, but its in-built light sensor helps in removing additional wirings to make your space neater while adding to your comfort.

“If the sun is likely to disturb your sleep or damage your plants, furniture or computer, the blinds drop automatically,” said Emmaunel Cantegrel, General Manager, Somfy India (P) Ltd.

As far as ready-to-wear garments is concerned, most companies and labels bring out their spring summer collections that cater specifically to the season. But, this time around, there is a new product doing the rounds—Italian shoes (called Geox) that allow the feet to “breathe and perspire”.

“The ‘breathing’ shoes have tiny holes in the soles which allow perspiration to escape while blocking out water and the cold. The sole contains a special microporous membrane that absorbs and expels sweat without letting water in. Sweat, in the form of water vapour, passes through the membrane and exits through the perforated sole,” said I D Musafir, Managing Director, M&B Shoes, which is retailing Geox Shoes in India.

On the demand side, trends indicate that customers are increasingly demanding such focused or niche offerings. “Demand is driven by three key factors—increasing customer awareness, growing spending power and exposure to international markets,” said Rajgopal.

On the supply side, Indian companies that have been traditionally manufacturing and supplying these “seasonal-based products” to international markets, have also now realised the potential for such products in the Indian market. “Accordingly, they are now targeting Indian consumers with these products. Additionally, with an increasing number of international companies entering India, they are replicating the strategy of “seasonal offerings” to the Indian market,” said Rajgopal.

There are other cool products doing the rounds this summer as well. Reckitt Benckiser has a variant of its well-known Dettol soap that is enriched with menthol and delivers a cool refreshing sensation.

To showcase its freshness, the soap comes in ‘light blue’ colour and has a new ‘fresh’ fragrance. To widen its range, the company has also launched a cool shaving cream.

Cosmetic company Lotus Herbals recently launched a sunscreen lotion for men. Hindustan Unilever Limited’s (HUL) Brooke Bond Taaza has introduced a range of hot tea that helps cool the body from within.

Horlicks has launched a ‘cold consumption campaign’ by using Bollywood’s child star Darsheel Safary of Taare Zameen Par fame. Traditionally perceived as a hot drink, Horlicks now has a ‘cold appeal’ with its new summer variants that can be consumed hot as well as cold.