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Makeup, skin care biz up as people step out


(This story originally appeared in on Oct 19, 2020)

Mumbai: As people socialise again, discretionary categories in FMCG like makeup and skin care are finally seeing a gradual recovery, according to data provided by Kantar. Supplies of these products were hit during the strict lockdown.

According to consultancy Kantar, which tracks monthly FMCG purchases of over 81,000 Indian homes, growth in household care was 6.6% in June-August, up from 4.2% in March-May. But personal care growth was at a little over 14% in June-August, higher than the 10.2% seen in March-May. While hygiene continues to see high demand. But the marked return of grooming and beauty needs helped personal care categories claw back some growth (see graphic). FMCG, as a whole, grew at around 5 % in June-August from 3.6% in March-May.

In personal care, skin creams — which contracted 9% during March-May — have grown 2% in June-August. Talcs, which shrank 17% during March-May, registered 3% growth in June-August. In hair colours & dyes, the negative growth has reduced from -19% to -9% over the same period. All the numbers are for all-India volumes. Kantar MD (South Asia, Worldpanel division) K Ramakrishnan said, “The data is for categories that have seen a tough lockdown period (March-May), but had better performance in June-August. Grooming categories like talcs, hair oils, hair colours and even skin creams — all are in this bucket of categories.”

A L’Oreal India spokesperson said a combination of improving supply, shops reopening and people resuming socialising and work-from-office resulted in consumption going up. This has also resulted in a greater engagement with discretionary categories like makeup and personal care in the June-August quarter.

According to research conducted by L’Oreal, half of the respondents have already invited friends over and gone to meet them. “While still not back to 2019 levels of course, we expect every month to be better than the previous, especially given the upcoming festive season,” said the spokesperson.

However, according to Nielsen, the skin care category witnessed a double-digit decline of around 10% for in terms of sales value for the year ending August 2020 (moving annual total, or MAT). Nielsen Global Connect executive director (retail intelligence — South Asia) Sameer Shukla said, “The skin care category was on the non-essential list of consumer goods when the nationwide lockdown was announced in March. Over the last few months, consumers were not going out as much, and even now people have hesitation in stepping out of their homes/workplace — so usage has been low. This has impacted the skin care category severely over the last six months, resulting in a double-digit decline for the category sales value in the year ending August 2020 (MAT).”

Shukla said the face care segment within the skin care category suffered more than ‘hand and body care’. “The latter has actually bounced back strongly, clocking a high double-digit growth in June-August,” said Shukla.

Commenting on the FMCG business in the last seven months, Nivea India MD Neil George said every category in India has faced very different and unique situations during the crisis. For instance, the movement of a large number of people outside their residence had an impact on purchase and consumption of categories like ice creams, aerated beverages and alcoholic beverages like beer. The classification of a product as essential and non-essential, on the other hand, impacted its availability and sales. The retail footprint of the category also made a difference.

“During the lockdown, large retail formats like supermarkets and cash-and-carry outlets got severely impacted as shoppers stayed away from these due to fear of moving out of their homes or due to restrictions placed by the authorities on entry (timings and numbers). As a result, categories with heavy reliance on modern retail were more impacted (larger sized haircare products, for instance) than the ones that had contribution coming from general trade (for example, sachets and smaller sizes of haircare products). The shutdown and credit issues of some large retailers further exacerbated the issues of categories heavily dependent on modern retail,” said George.

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