Companies

Wipro Consumer’s India FMCG business grew 17% in FY21

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on July 08, 2021

Vineet Agrawal, CEO   -  BL

Second pandemic wave hits Q1

Despite the impact of the pandemic, Wipro Consumer Care and Lighting said it crossed the ₹8,400-crore mark in revenues in FY21 compared to ₹7,700 crore in FY20. India FMCG business grew by 17.3 per cent while international markets such as Philippines and South Africa also witnessed growth in double digits.

Speaking at a virtual media roundtable, Vineet Agrawal, CEO, Wipro Consumer Care & Lighting, said that FMCG business in India had an impressive volume growth of about 15.8 per cent. “The April-June quarter of FY22, was challenging due to the severity of the second pandemic wave. The India business grew in high single digits with Santoor growing in double digits crossing ₹2,150 crore (sales),” he added.

Rural demand hit

Unlike last year when rural consumption was outpacing urban demand trends, the second pandemic wave had a significant impact on rural demand. “This time there was a clear impact in rural regions. Not many workers moved back home. The mindset of the consumers were very different as they focused on conserving cash. People were fearful of working in rural markets due to Covid and a lot of consumers’ money was spent on getting medical treatment,” he added.

For the company, rural regions are key for soap brand Santoor with nearly 50-55 per cent of its sales coming from the hinterland. Asked if the rural demand will continue to outpace urban, Agrawal said, “Our understanding is that rural growth will be almost equal or marginally higher than urban region. While the fear was very high in April and May, we saw improvement in both urban and rural regions in June. If there are no more waves, demand will come back.”

The company’s discretionary portfolio led by Yardley had a better run in the second wave compared to the first wave. “Unlike in the national lockdown of last year, usage of such products didn’t stop completely during the second wave. Also consumers bought products to replenish their supplies even as they stayed at home,” he added.

Responding to a query on price hike, Aggarwal said due to factors such as dramatic rise in palm oil prices, the company has already taken two rounds of price hike for soap brand Santoor in the last four months to the tune of 8 per cent. “Margins did get impacted in the first quarter of this fiscal year as the price hike did not fully compensate for the increase in costs. But we are not looking to take any further price hikes,”Agrawal added.

As the company witnessed strong growth in the e-commerce channel in the past year, it is also gearing up to focus on launch of e-commerce exclusive brands in July. This will include hair-conditioning brand Vitress and skin care brand Bio Essence.

Published on July 07, 2021

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