Smart personalisation, consumer lifestyle push personal care products' sale

Ask anyone who treks down a purchase path that starts with Instagram and ends up at an online shopping cart and she will vouch for this: It takes barely minutes for one single purchase to multiply into many; and for what was meant to be a bargain buy, to end up burning a big hole in the wallet. Digital commerce has been a big game changer for consumer behaviour, say analysts. And, as Euromonitor reports, in India, brands are tracking it closely to drive bigger volumes for their premium labels. 

A recent report “Megatrends: What is shaping the future opportunities in India?” points out that consumer expenditure grew 13 per cent in 2017-2018. It identifies the megatrends as — premiumisation, connected consumers and shopping reinvented (innovative purchase pathways that adapt to changing consumer behaviour)— shaping the Indian market. One example of the move towards premiumisation is in the beauty and personal care industry, wherein premium beauty and personal care brands’ sales to the overall category sales grew from 4.4 per cent (2015) to 4.8 per cent in 2016 and 5.1 per cent in 2017 according to the report. 

“In 2018, India had 560 million internet users and we expect 99 per cent of mobile subscribers will have access to internet on their mobiles by 2030,” says Amulya Pandit, senior research analyst, Euromonitor International. As per the report’s lifestyles survey of 2018, there is more reliance in recent years on independent consumer reviews and recommendations from family and friends influencing their purchase decisions. 

Beauty brands have been able to successfully map this trend by working with influencers and through online tutorials. Plus increased personalisation, which pushes premium products based on past behaviour, has helped. However says K V Sridhar, founder-chief creative officer of HyperCollective, personalisation is nothing new, nor is it a digital phenomenon alone. “Indian consumers were always aware of personalisation. For them, it meant looking at  convenience and aspirations that matched their expectations. It was their emotional equity with a brand that influenced their loyalty. Personalisation was once associated with the service economy however, now it is more about experience economy,” he adds.

The demand for a personalised experience, according to many, is what is fuelling the omnichannel shopping ecosystem and an ‘everything-everywhere’ mindset among consumers. N Chandramouli, founder, Trust Research Advisory says as there is higher disposable income, even smaller cities now have access to premium brands. However, what is missing is the brand’s adaptability to these trends. 

“They (brands) are looking into a mirror but not willing to look outside the window where their consumers live. As a result, the strategies are singular,” he says. The big change he says most brands are still blind to, is the sharp difference in consumer behaviour among people living within a few kilometres of each other. 

Gone are the times, when you could approach a state with a single strategy of positioning your brands. “Neighbouring cities are no longer same. What may work in Coimbatore might not in Chennai. Brands need to be consumer centric and not tier I/II/III centric,” he adds. 

Hence companies will have to look at the emerging megatrends as part of their brand strategy, feels Pandit. “Brands need to know consumer’s priority. There has to be curation and personalisation. The more experiences you offer, the more you will touch the heart of a consumer. Further, anything that will save a consumer’s time, and be readily available is going to be a winner,” he adds.

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