Lifebuoy one of HLLs power brands is an over 100 year old brand with sales estimated at around Rs 350 crore. The brand registered a growth of 31 per cent in the second quarter ended June 30, 2003.
The move, said sources, is mainly targeted at the expansive rural market, at a time when there is a sense of a feel-good factor in the economy. This is expected to finally translate into a rise in consumer spending, that could lead to growth in the fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector. The soap category has been worse hit in the prolonged slowdown in the FMCG sector, with leading players like HLL redefining their pricing and marketing strategies to spur growth. At Rs 2, an analyst commented, Lifebuoy would be in a better position to enable deeper penetration into the rural market, which comprises 40 per cent of HLLs turnover. It would also offer an option to the urban consumer at a low price point.
Toilet soaps available at lower price points in small size packs were being produced by companies to cater exclusively to institutions such as hotels and railways. However, according to an HLL dealer in Mumbai, the company is trying to push the Rs 2 (18 gram) Lifebuoy in a new packaging format and will sell the soap in a strip of 12 packs, like in shampoo sachets. Sachets in shampoos is a well known success story with sachets forming 70 per cent of the total shampoo market. HLL, said an analyst, could be attempting the same in soaps.
A continuing thrust on innovation by HLL saw Lifebuoy growing at a double digit level of 24 per cent in calendar year 2002. HLL had relaunched Lifebuoy in 2002, which marked a turning point in its history, and lifted its market share.
Earlier, the brand was characterised by its carbolic property, which has been upgraded by the company thus strengthening the brands positioning on the health plank.