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Beauty industry issues

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The industry stalwarts of the beauty industry came together at the India Retail Forum in Mumbai to discuss the opportunities and avenues of the beauty care business in the advent of modern trade in India at the India Retail Forum on Wednesday.

Business stalwarts and experts from across segments including luxury, beauty and hair services as well as mass brands including Chanel, The Estée Lauder Companies, L’Oréal India, Jean Claude Biguine, Lakmé, VLCC, Kaya and The Body Shop shared their views and experiences throughout the session. According to them, beauty is one of the fastest growing categories in modern trade with a double digit growth across segments of make-up, skincare, hair and fragrances.

The panel was chaired and anchored by Rohan Vaziralli, Country Manager, The Estée Lauder Companies.

While several of the premium brand leaders called for a better retail infrastructure as well as more specialised beauty retail outlets in high-net-worth areas, experts like Sameer Prasad, Chief Operating Officer (COO), Planet Retail, which has brought The Body Shop to India says, “We are not waiting for retail to develop but are going in expanding with our own retail outlets in Tier II cities such as Ludhiana, Jaipur, etc.”

Betting on the fact that beauty is already a growing segment across the board, the panelists shared their individual experiences in terms of growth and their retail experiences in the market. Kaya, which has 99 skin clinics has been following a growth model across India which has focused on skincare led by dermatologists. “We will launch our 100th outlet within the next month,” says Rakesh Pandey, Chief Executing Officer (CEO), Kaya Ltd.

Ashutosh Bharadwaj, COO, Personal Care, VLCC said that the 114 slimming and beauty centres have seen an enormous growth in customers with a growing age group from 16 to 60. “While earlier it was about facials and hair cuts for customers the focus is more on total wellness now,” he adds.

Retail formats followed by Lakmé tend to be more varied, observed Rakshit Hargave, COO, Lakmé Lever, with a focus on ensuring uniformity across the salons whether they be in malls or in street front locations.

Premium brands such as Chanel and L’Oréal have been facing more of an uphill task. “Our challenge is to make a luxury experience wherever we make our stores. We invest a lot in training our staff to provide the premium experience to our customers,” says Xavier Bertrand, Managing Director, Chanel India.

Dinesh Dayal, COO, L’Oréal India comments, “The whole business of premium beauty is new in India. There is no one size fits all strategy – it has to be customized at different levels.”

“Just being a foreign brand is not enough in this market Lancome, for example is a
70 year old beauty brand which brings with it years of beauty expertise,” he adds further.

Representing the hair services segment, Dharmendra Manwani, CEO, Jean Claude Biguine India said that the whole focus of growth was on experiential marketing. “What matter for customers is setting up the right expectations and bringing customers an authenticated experience which leads to loyalty, word-of mouth recommendations and growth for the brand.”

The panelists concluded that beauty markets were growing fast in all segments and is a ‘look good, feel good’ market expanding on all levels.

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