Syska, Havells turn the light on personal grooming

Bollywood actor Sushant Singh Rajput stares into the mirror with an electric shaver-cum-trimmer in his hand. No, this isn’t an ad for Gillette shavers, but Syska trimmers and shavers instead.  Syska, popular for its LED lights and bulbs, has recently added one more category to its list – personal grooming – launching 30 different products for men and women under its label. Currently, a high-decibel ad campaign is on air featuring Singh who endorses the men’s range and actress Tamannaah Bhatia, for the female range.

Syska isn’t the only player to clamber onto the bandwagon. Electrical and lighting major Havells has recently entered the category, with 18 new products. Saurabh Goel, executive vice president, Havells India, says, it was a logical extension for the firm, given that the category has seen rapid growth in recent years. He claims that personal grooming has the potential to deliver high margins. “Personal grooming has a high involvement of the youth due to the felt-need to both look and feel good. With the right mix of products at the right price, the endeavour is to connect with them,” he says.

Priced between Rs 1,000 and Rs 7,200 a piece, Havells’ new range also features products for kids, a category that is expected to grow in the coming months. Not only are personal grooming products no longer the preserve of a few women and men, they are also finding their way into the children’s demographic. However the bigger point here is that of the growing presence of lighting and electrical companies in personal grooming.

Rajesh Uttamchandani, director, SSK Group, promoter of Syska, says, “This space will see more players, from lighting to appliances as there are hardly any barriers for entry. Plus consumers want a good set of products.”

The ball was set rolling by lighting major Philips. It saw a huge opportunity in both male and female grooming, tying up with Bollywood celebrities Varun Dhawan, Alia Bhatt and Arjun Kapoor two years ago to increase salience and brand recall for its products. Philips remains among the key players in the space in India, competing with the likes of Panasonic and Braun.

According to Euromonitor, the male grooming market alone in India is projected to touch sales of around Rs 14,200 crore by 2020, up from Rs 3,000 crore in 2010 and Rs 7,500 crore in 2015. Of this, the electrical shavers segment, among the fastest growing is pegged at around Rs 500 crore. Its growth rate, according to experts, is around 25-30 per cent per annum, led mainly by consumers in metros and mini-metros.

The female grooming and beauty market, on the other hand, is larger than men’s, pegged at Rs 44,000 crore currently and slated to touch Rs 1.34 lakh crore by 2025, according to Assocham. Of this, the electrical beauty products market including everything from blow dryers to epilators and straighteners is around Rs 1,000 crore in size, growing at around 20-25 per cent per annum.

Traditionally, the grooming space has been the domain of personal care majors from L’Oreal to Nivea, Gillette, Hindustan Unilever, RB (formerly Reckitt Benckiser), Emami and Dabur among others. They have set the agenda for the category as a whole all these years. But the entry of the next order - electricals, lighting and appliance majors - hints, say experts, at the allure of the category. And how consumers are beginning to demand ‘customised and convenient’ solutions to everyday problems.

In a recent report on the top ten global consumer trends for 2017, Euromonitor consultant Daphne Kasriel-Alexander says, “While there is a lot more  personalisation of  ‘mass-produced’ items, high-end personalisation is also thriving.”

Uttamchandani of SSK is blunt about his intentions. “One of the reasons for the spate of products that we launched is because our initial surveys showed that consumers, men and women, were looking for simple lifestyle solutions, something to help cut their trips to salons and parlours,” he says. Pricing, which is around Rs 1,000 to Rs 5,000 per piece for Syska products, according to industry sources, must be viewed through this prism of convenience, says Uttamchandani. “Consumers in tier I and II markets can afford these products and with digital, the reach can go beyond the metros and mini-metros,” he says.

Goel of Havells is more circumspect. “Apart from a few national players, the personal grooming market is actually quite fragmented, with different products at half the price, but suspect in terms of quality. We were clear that we wanted to steer clear with well-designed products that were effective,” he says.

Even as the new kids on the block look to secure their positions, a bunch of start-ups such as Bombay Shaving, LetsShave, Ustraa, based on the US’s Dollar Shave Club (a subscription-based personal grooming major acquired by Unilever last year) is threatening to change the game yet again. It comes as no surprise then that key operators such as Braun, Philips, Panasonic, Havells and Syska are shoring up their digital play too, for online is where all the action is expected to be.

Looks matter

* The men grooming market is projected to touch sales of around Rs 14,200 crore by 2020, up from Rs 7,500 crore (2015). Electrical shavers are the most popular

* The women grooming and beauty market is slated to touch Rs 1.34 lakh crore by 2025, up from Rs 44,000 crore. Electrical beauty products are selling the fastest

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