Use of cleaning products in India is still at a nascent stage: Gaurav Rathod, Director, Cello Group

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March 18, 2021 12:45 PM

Covid-19 2020 lockdown has changed the spending of Indian consumers. Their spending patterns reflect their concern towards protecting their health and renovating their store-cupboards, warding off boredom, and keeping their homes neat and tidy.

Gaurav RathodGaurav Rathod, Director, Cello Group

Covid-19 2020 lockdown has changed the spending of Indian consumers. Their spending patterns reflect their concern towards protecting their health and renovating their store-cupboards, warding off boredom, and keeping their homes neat and tidy. India has never been a large market for cleaning home products such as spin-mop, vacuum cleaner, air purifier, or dishwasher due to the easy availability of domestic help. But the global pandemic has changed that market completely. With work from home becoming a reality in the coming years, Indian consumers have started investing in consumer durables to enable them to multitask better.

As millions of Indian consumers juggle between work from home and household chores without dependence on domestic help—to avoid exposure to coronavirus house cleaning product sales in the country have picked up like never before during 2020. With no risk of contracting the deadly virus, cleaning home products are the most preferable domestic helpers in the Indian household.

After the pandemic, various traditional brands have strengthened their online presence, embraced the latest engagement solutions to drive sales. For most household products manufacturing brands, pursuing an e-commerce strategy was not just an option, but absolutely crucial. India’s largest consumer household product manufacturer Cello Group has reported a surge in demand for Kleeno, a cleaning category offering different cleaning products such as spin mops, brushes, scrubs, brooms, wiper,s etc. The company has reported a 30% sales growth in the cleaning category in the past few months. Gaurav Rathod, Director, Cello Group talked about Covid’s impact on the brand and more. Excerpt

Please tell us about the Cello Group. Brief about the various segments under the aegis of the brand.

Cello Group is a 60-year-old brand with a highly diverse portfolio of household consumer products. It is the largest consumer household products’ brand in India. The company started in 1967 with the manufacturing of PVC footwear and bangles. Over the years, Cello Group has diversified into a wide range of product categories and launched numerous innovative and aesthetically-superior products, in order to fulfil its vision of becoming India’s most-preferred household brand.

Some of the notable household consumer products manufactured and sold by Cello Group include: dinnerware, glassware, kitchen appliances, melamine ware, plastic & steel houseware, air coolers, cleaning products, moulded furniture, bottles, tiffin carriers & lunchboxes, jars & flasks, home appliances, etc. Among a plethora of products, the glassware, steel and plastic-based houseware and thermoware segments have emerged as the biggest and the highest-revenue-generating categories for Cello Group in the last decade.

Today, Cello Group is proud to have 18 manufacturing units in 6 cities of India. Apart from selling its products through a 50k retail network and 600+ outlets pan-India, Cello has also emerged as one of the leading exporters of household products in the world, supplying its products to numerous retail stores globally.

Is there any specific product segment in which the brand has observed more traction or growth?

Over the past 7-8 months, two specific product segments from our brand have done really well, i.e. the Opal dinnerware category and the cleaning category (Kleeno range of products). The massive growth we witnessed in these two segments can be attributed to the fact that a large majority of the people in our country have actually started spending more time inside their houses, ever since the lockdown was first announced.

How Covid has impacted the business of the brand?

Due to Covid shock and lockdown, our business got nearly wiped out during the first quarter of FY 2020-21. However, we were able to bounce back slowly and steadily, starting from Q2. Having a diverse portfolio of products in the household utilities domain helped Cello Group to sustain amid the times of crisis. During the festive season of the last year, i.e. September-October onwards, we further witnessed an accelerated traction in the business, as our sales in various categories spiked. As of date, it can be said that Cello Group’s product sales and overall business has gone back to 70% of the pre-Covid levels.

What is the market size of the cleaning category in India before and after Covid?

The cleaning products industry in India is still at a nascent stage, and the market for these products is quite small and unstructured. Therefore, it often becomes difficult to estimate the market size and/or growth numbers (in the absence of adequate data). However, according to our company’s internal findings, the market in the cleaning category has grown by roughly 30% after Covid happened.

What percentage of growth observed in the cleaning category?

Cello Group has witnessed a significant growth of 50% with respect to the cleaning products’ category since Covid. The increased demand for home cleaning products such as brooms, spin-mops, and brushes has contributed to this growth.

How much cleaning category contributes to overall turnover? Are you looking to introduce any new product in the cleaning category?

The cleaning category has always been a niche and small segment for us. On an average, the cleaning products’ category usually contributes to only 3% of Cello Group’s annual business turnover. However, given the increased demand for Kleeno’s products in the recent months, this time we expect that the segment may be responsible for around/at least 5% of the gross turnover.

In the next few months, we will continue to explore and analyze market demand, trends and opportunities in the cleaning category, and thereafter take a call on the introduction of new products. Be it in cleaning or any other domain, Cello Group is always committed to cater to every type of need/requirement that arises in households, and to that end, the company will keep on innovating and launching new products on a regular basis.

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