Philips sees the rise of personal care and DIY trends in grooming

NEW DELHI : Pandemic shutdowns with work-from-home mandates have boosted sales of the Philips skincare range, including hair clippers, straighteners and epilators. In an interview, Vidyut Kaul, head of personal health for the company’s Indian subcontinent division, said that Philips is focused on increasing category penetration and growing its mother care brand. and children Advent. Edited excerpts:

Has covid changed the way consumers use grooming products?

During covid people were housebound and it played out differently for men and women. Among men, 35-40% of consumers who entered the (grooming) category were first-time users. Everyone started trying to cut their hair at home. When offices were virtual, people still had to turn on the camera. We’ve seen men pay much more attention to their facial appearance. Women, on the other hand, have taken up a lot more space in the hair removal portfolio. The hair care part was almost flat. After covid we see many men switching to better products. Although from a volume perspective, we’re not seeing the crazy growth we’ve seen during the covid period. On the side of the feminine toilet, it is in fact quite the opposite. We are seeing a huge increase in volume; in fact, immediately after lockdown, we saw the entire feminine care business, especially hair care, start to explode.

But the penetration of the grooming category in India is still low.

It’s not a very well-penetrated category. From a consumer perspective, I think we’re still at the end of the first phase of category building, which means there’s going to be a lot more penetration happening. This is fueled by two factors. First, ours is still a very young population.

Second, we also see that self-care as a concept is on the rise, as is the electrification of care. As a society, we are moving from “do it for me” to “I can do it myself or DIY”. These are the big changes that are happening. There’s still a long way to go, but with changing consumer behavior, we see huge room for growth.

How will you increase reach and penetration?

In India, there is still a lot to be done to explain the benefits of the product. You see a lot of counterfeit or shoddy products in the market, which are made in low cost countries. They give a bad experience around the category to the consumers. So there’s a lot of education and outreach that we do; we chain celebrities.

As a brand, we believe in the philosophy of understanding unmet consumer needs and then creating solutions. In India, 70-80% of the portfolio was created around the needs of the Indian consumer. This means a lot of work on the part of consumers, understanding price elasticity, usage patterns, etc. Many of the products we sell here, and are developing more, are not products sold in other parts of the world.

Will you be increasing your marketing budgets this festive season?

We have invested a lot of money in advertising. We know we have to play the role of a brand that created the category. We make sure the money is spent where the consumers are. Hence the whole two-pronged approach of getting the message out with mega-celebrities at the top, but also going through local influencers and thought leaders to make sure the message lands. Virat Kohli served as Male Grooming Ambassador and Alia Bhatt served as Brand Ambassador for Female Grooming. Both will continue to champion the products. On the product side, we have innovated, it is in the DNA of the company. While we understand the need to have the right pricing to unlock the category and drive penetration, at the same time we have pushed innovation to ensure it is also relevant for the premium audience. We recently launched a UV flat iron. You’ll see a lot more focus on the mid-range and high-end because that’s where we can deliver a lot more meaningful innovation for consumers.

How do you conduct the care of mothers and children under Avent?

Mother and child care is a very different industry. Here it is about the health and well-being of a child. So there’s a lot of science involved and co-creation with the medical fraternity. Due to government regulations and WHO guidelines that promote breastmilk for babies, which is absolutely the right thing to do, we cannot advertise our products.

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