It’s been a little over two months since N. Thiruambalam took over as CEO of the Chennai-headquartered FMCG company CavinKare Pvt Ltd. A former Chairman and Managing Director of Heinz, Thiruambalam wants to consolidate CavinKare’s position in the herbal hair care space. With hair wash powders and shampoo brands such as Karthika and Meera, and hair colour with Indica, he is looking at maintaining growth rates well over 20 per cent or more.
The company’s strengths are in traditional hair care products and it will look to leverage that, he says. With a larger presence in the south, brand Karthika saw a value growth of 34 per cent in FY13 while brand Meera registered a growth of 19 per cent, according to researcher Nielsen’s figures. Nyle, a national brand, also saw growth rates of 22 per cent in the year.
While Indica registered 34 per cent growth, its Spinz Deo performed more modestly, with a growth of 3.8 per cent. Among the fastest growing categories, the market for deodorants grew by 18 per cent in 2012-13. However, CavinKare also markets the Adidas and Jovan brands of deos and cornered a market share of almost 5 per cent in this category.
The only fly in the ointment was Chik, its flagship brand, dominant in sachets, which saw two per cent dip in its growth rate during the last year while fairness cream Fairever, which once challenged HUL’s Fair & Lovely and held a 10 per cent share, saw growth in south India alone dip by nine per cent in the last year. The brand’s share is now a shade under three per cent of the Rs 682-crore fairness creams market. A revamped product is in the offing, says Thiruambalam. “Fairness creams’ growth is being driven by higher value products in the portfolio,” he says.
The company says that even though 75-80 per cent of the Rs 4,740-crore shampoo market is accounted for by sachets, the 50 paise sachet segment, in which Chik is a predominant player, has been stagnant as rural consumers look to upgrade to more premium brands in its portfolio such as Meera and Nyle, which sell in sachets as well. Shortage of 50 paise coins is an issue as well so consumers are moving into higher priced sachets, with Rs 3 being the maximum retail price for a sachet of shampoo now.