Consumer Buying Behavior

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Toilet soaps are part of the growing tribe of cleansing and beautifying products available across the country. There are scores of brands and an even greater number of variants making for a bewildering range. The Indian market has over 1100 million people living in more than 4500 towns and cities and in excess of 580,000 villages. Products must cut through several price points and fragrances to satisfy everyone. Toilet soaps are marketed through 5 million retail stores of which 3.75 million are in rural areas, the penetration rate of the toilet soap is around 97 percent in urban areas and 89 percent in rural areas. But, the per capita consumption of toilet / bathing soap in India is very low at 800g whereas it is 6.5kg in the US, 4 kg in China and 2.5 kg in Indonesia.

The market size of the Indian soap industry is around Rs.7129 crores. It can be classified into four categories namely premium, popular, economy and carbolic soaps. The "Premium1 category includes Dove, Mysore Sandal, Pears and some international brands. Brands in the "Popular ' category include Cinthol, Santoor, Rexona etc. Likewise, Fairglow, Godrej No. 1 etc. come under economy brands. Carbolic brands include Lifebuoy and Nima bath soap. Over the years, the "popular ' segment has witnessed rapid growth and has been the category driver. Consumers shift from the premium segment as and when they see better value in the popular category. At the same time, consumers upgrade from the economy segment due to increased in tune with the increasing disposable incomes in both urban and rural areas. As a result, the industry has witnessed a fifteen percent growth in premium brands.

The market is flooded with several, leading national and global brands and a large number of small brands, which have limited markets. Competition amongst the MNCs has intensified, leading to shrinkage of margins. The leading players in this market are HUL (Dove, Pears, Lux, Lifebuoy, Breeze), Nirma (Nima), Godrej Soaps



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