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Shrugging off pandemic pangs, FMCG firms go on a launch spree

Meenakshi Verma Ambwani New Delhi | Updated on November 27, 2020 Published on November 27, 2020

9,700 new product launches were recorded in the period   -  eldinhoid

Over 3,000 health and hygiene products introduced in April-September period

In a bid to meet the evolving consumer needs during the Covid-19 pandemic, FMCG companies have gone on a launch spree, especially in the health and hygiene segment. According to estimates by markets research and insights firm Nielsen, FMCG companies launched 9,700 new products in the April-September period, a surge of nearly 35 per cent compared to 7,200 launches in the same period last year.

Banoja Acharya, Lead-Client Delievery, Retail Intelligence, South Asia at Nielsen Global Connect said the health and hygiene segment dominated the new launch strategies of FMCG companies in the second and third quarter of the year. “Historically, we have seen the foods category driving new launches, but now we are seeing more launches happening in the non-food space. As Covid prompted the consumers to reframe their habits into health and hygiene, more new launches have been made in categories such as hand sanitisers, floor cleaners, toilet cleaners and antiseptic liquids,” she added.

Fast-tracked launches

Acharya pointed out that nearly 3,000 new products were introduced in the health and hygiene space in April-September, which contributed 37 per cent in value of all new launches in the Covid period. This trend is expected to continue. The value contribution of new launches in the health and hygiene category was six times higher during the April-September period as compared to the same period last year, as per Nielsen’s estimates.

Most FMCG companies fast-tracked new launches despite facing challenges, in line with consumers’ growing focus on health and hygiene. For instance, Dabur India launched as many as 50 new products since the pandemic outbreak, largely focussing on strengthening its presence in the health, immunity boosting and hygiene categories. New launches contributed about 6 per cent of the company’s total sales in the July-September period.

In the first half of the year, ITC launched over 70 new products in segments such as hygiene and packaged food. As per analyst reports, HUL has launched over 100 SKUs in the past few months.

Small players

Among the other key trends observed by Nielsen was that small FMCG players garnered higher growth in the July-September quarter compared to large and medium-sized players. Small FMCG manufacturers were aided by “higher presence in rural India and the staples basket” in this period. In terms of value growth, small FMCG manufacturers clocked a growth of 11.3 per cent in the September quarter.

“While large and medium manufacturers have also witnessed a reversal of decline with unlocking, smaller players were more agile during this period, especially ensuring stock presence at stores. Also, a higher presence in rural India and the staples basket helped with higher growths for the smaller manufacturers,” Nielsen stated.

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Published on November 27, 2020
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