Editorial: Brand New India

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Published: January 1, 2016 12:18 AM

A host of desi companies are taking on the competition from abroad and winning

As we enter 2016, we seemed to have reached a tipping point for ‘Indianness’ with rising interest in Indian brands across a wide swathe of businesses—beverages, fast moving consumer goods, mobile phones, clothing. Indian brands have taken on the competition, including MNCs head on. In others, Indian brands have created a niche where none existed before. The tea-chain Chaayos, that launched “Experiments with Chai” is one of these. With 14 ‘tea-cafes’ across the NCR and Mumbai, it has created a market for tea that could challenge established coffee chains. The 12 add-ons – tulsi, elaichi, saunf, among others—that it offers can make 12,000 versions of tea-as-you-like-it. Hector Beverages offers traditional Indian drinks—aam panna, jaljeera, aamras—in contemporary packaging under the Paper Boat brand. Both brands made it trendy to use products that all along were the preserve of street vendors.

The entry of yoga guru Ramdev’s Patanjali brand is changing the FMCG market. In FY15, Patanjali Ayurved recorded a Rs 2,030 crore turnover and has targeted R6,000 crore for FY2016. That’s nowhere near Hindustan Unilever’s (HUL) Rs 30,800 crore in FY15. But, Patanjali could soon pose a challenge to HUL, P&G and Nestle. We also have Indian brands that followed the global model but offer goods and services for the domestic market. Three Indian smartphone brands—Micromax, Intex and Lava—together account for 32% of the market while leader Samsung has 24%. The newest entrant, Intex, alone accounts for 11% of market, thanks to low-priced models. In the mobile app space, domestic cab aggregator Ola has taken on Uber. Ola cabs are present in 100 Indian cities compared to Uber’s 26. Hotel booking app OYO Rooms changed the face of hotel bookings across 4,000 hotels in 167 Indian cities. Over the year, Indians are not just heading MNCs but also making a mark domestically with quality products.

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