Patanjali Ayurved's entry into the market has trigged a race among competitors to invest in product innovation and acquire other herbal product brands. FMCG giants such as HUL, Colgate-Palmolive, and L'Oréal are racing to launch or revamp their own Ayurveda and herbal product lines. For instance, HUL revitalized its neglected herbal brand AYUSH, and launched a series of products to take on Patanjali's Ayurveda-based toothpaste and shampoos. Indigenous herbal personal care product companies such as Emami, Dabur, and Himalaya are engaged in a price war with Patanjali Ayurved in order to safeguard the market share of their top-sellers. Market leaders are scouting for suitable brands for acquisition, with Emami losing out to HUL in the bid for Indulekha, a fast-growing premium brand of herbal hair oil.
According to GlobalData's 2016 Q4 global consumer survey, Indian consumers primarily associate the term "natural" with "real ingredients," "organic," and "free from synthetic ingredients" claims. Additionally, Indian consumers are increasingly worried about the nature of ingredients in daily-use products, with 43 percent of Indian respondents to GlobalData's 2016 Q3 global consumer survey saying that they are very concerned about the impact of chemicals on health and appearance. The combination of yoga, Ayurveda, and Swadeshi endowed the Patanjali brand with an aura of "health and wellness" and "authenticity."
Indian retailers have the capability to push brands and influence buyer preferences, as is evident from GlobalData's Consumer Survey Q3 2016, according to which 73% of Indian consumers completely or somewhat trust the point of sale information provided by retailers when making product choices.
Patanjali Ayurved initially faced strong resistance from the established small local stores that dominate the largely unorganized Indian retail industry, and organized retailers. In response, it launched a chain of exclusive branded outlets.
Excluding its branded outlets, Patanjali Ayurved’s reach now extends to 800,000 stores out of the total of 9.5 million retail stores in India. The company also plans to strengthen its distributor strength from present 6,000 to 25,000 distributors by 2018. The company is striving to ramp up its retail distribution reach to 2.5 million stores in the near term, in line with its ambitious revenue targets.
Patanjali Ayurve incorporated in 2006, is the fastest-growing Indian FMCG company, registering 686 percent growth in revenues over the four-year period from FY2014 to FY2017. It has been a disruptive company in the Indian FMCG sector, forcing competitors to rethink their product development strategies.
Krishi Jagran/New Delhi