The pandemic has brought about a shift in consumers’ preferences when it comes to at-home personal grooming solutions. Almost 35-40% of consumers who entered the personal health category over the last two years were first-time users. They had never held a grooming device earlier. In conversation with BrandWagon Online, Vidyut Kaul, head, personal health, Philips Indian subcontinent, speaks about the growth of the personal health category, the role of online channels, and the future plans for the category. (Edited Excerpts)
How has the personal health business been over the last two years?
With the global crisis impacting the supply chain, there was a bit of confusion initially. Then, we realised that there was a way to reach consumers. With people stuck at home, at-home grooming became an important aspect of consumers’ lives. Therefore, once we started understanding the nuances of the daily lives of consumers, we started putting efforts in that direction. We have continued to keep consumers’ at the heart of everything we do and that has given us success.
Almost 35-40% of consumers that came into the category over the last two years were first time users, who never held a grooming device earlier. Whether it’s pandemic or no pandemic, the desire of consumers to look and feel good will continue and therefore business will grow.
How much does men’s grooming account for in the overall business?
Men’s grooming business accounts for a third of the overall business and continues to grow rapidly. The female grooming business has seen its ups and downs. Post pandemic, the feminine grooming business is expected to touch triple-digit growth. We have seen women wanting to indulge in personal care when things open up and probably when they go out more.
How much would you attribute to online channels in enabling the growth?
Online plays a very important role. Our core target group in India is youngsters between the age of 15-35 years old. These consumers are digitally native so online becomes a very important touchpoint both from a media consumption and purchase perspective. We continue to see growth and engagement online not just in metros and tier 1 but also tier 2 and tier 3 cities.
Today, online and offline platforms account for an equal share of the business. I don’t see the split dying down. The first reason is the consumer segment we are targeting. If you look at the content they consume and the mediums through which they engage and interact with is primarily digital. Therefore, online will continue to be relevant for us and be a growth engine.
At the same time, the importance of offline will also be there as many of these products that we talk about are very new in India and that’s our push right now. Offline for us is a very important experiential play.
How do you plan to expand further?
We will expand in three ways. First, by increasing our presence. Every year, we look at retail census, distribution mapping, and do a population division on the factors such as income, and education, among others. We create a list and then make a decision on our expansion plans.
The second play is e-commerce – by collaborating with marketplaces and category verticals such as fashion and lifestyle. And third is our own play which is direct to the consumer. We would like to take these three different routes to expand.
What will be the marketing strategy and media mix moving forward?
We draft our strategy with the end in mind – which is to recruit consumers and get them into the category or to upgrade them. We recently rolled out a campaign with Virat Kohli #TenOnTenYou for our trimmer range BT3000 aimed at giving power to the consumers to shape their true selves. We have picked up influencers across different categories and genres. This becomes important in order to connect with audiences across segments.
In terms of media mix, we are keeping a close eye on different mediums and consumption patterns. While the consumption of digital grew during the pandemic, traditional media such as print and outdoor have begun to come back. Therefore, we continue to monitor these and align our strategy accordingly.
What are your future plans?
We are trying to bring innovation created around the needs of Indian consumers. We will be getting into the hair care space, the details of which will be revealed later. We will also expand the men’s grooming portfolio as well as the body grooming category.