In the popular detergent ads, one has heard the refrain “ Dho Dala ” (Hindi slang for ‘bashed up’, but could also translate to ‘a tough wash). Now, a small but growing tribe of innovators are intending to take the detergent category to the cleaners.

For now, analysts strike a cautious note. “It could pose a problem to ‘the detergent business, if the easy wash technology is used in garments at value for money price points,” says an FMCG analyst. However, he adds that the total size of the detergent market is too huge at the moment and one brand is too niche to make a dent.

“As things stand now, the adaptability of this concept to the mass market is a must. The problem could start for detergent makers once private labels start manufacturing such garments,” he adds.

Mass appeal is key

“When a Patanjali can scare MNCs in India there is a chance and people will start talking about it if there is mass appeal,” adds Paras Bothra VP-research, Ashika Stock Broking.

Arun Kejriwal, founder, KRIS Research, agrees, and says, “It is too early to say whether the innovation would be disruptive.

One needs to ascertain whether this fabric can be used for every kind of garment. It also remains to be seen whether the substance used to repel stains outlasts the fabric or not.”

Others talk about the impact of disruption.

Bothra says, “Changes in the consumption related businesses are happening very fast as it is percolating to the mass market very fast. However, categories are also getting saturated very fast.”

Changing business models

He adds, “We all understand disruption and what has happened to the manner in which companies do business in the last couple of decades. Earlier factories in the brick-and-mortar businesses used to create wealth. Nowadays those from the virtual world are wealth creators.”

The $26.2-billion valuation for LinkedIn is a case in point.

“One needs to understand that the manner in which the textile industry is organised has to change, if this has to be done on a mass market scale. It is not going to happen overnight, but is a distinct possibility in the future,” he signs off.