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Pollution concerns in India not skin-deep

Anti-pollution facewashes, toners and face cleansers from brands such as Pond’s, Amway and Lotus have grown 25-30% this year compared with fairness products, which are growing at 8-10%, albeit on a larger base. The country’s top fairness creams include Fair & Lovely, Lotus Whiteglow, Nivea Natural Fairness and Garnier White Complete.

, ET Bureau|
Dec 07, 2019, 08.15 AM IST
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Almost all the big companies are pushing products that list ingredients to protect the skin rather than just lightening it.
NEW DELHI: Pollution protection has toppled fairness as the fastest-growing category in skincare, riding on consumer fears over hazardous levels of air toxicity in India’s urban markets over the past two years, large firms operating in the space said, citing industry data.

Anti-pollution facewashes, toners and face cleansers from brands such as Pond’s, Amway and Lotus have grown 25-30% this year compared with fairness products, which are growing at 8-10%, albeit on a larger base. The country’s top fairness creams include Fair & Lovely, Lotus Whiteglow, Nivea Natural Fairness and Garnier White Complete.

“Anti-pollution skincare products are now growing three times faster than the fairness range, as consumer demand for solution-based products is rapidly moving up,” said Nitin Passi, chairman of Lotus Herbals, which sells premium pollution-protection products such as serums. “The category is growing all over the world, especially in geographies where air pollution is very high.”

Almost all the big companies are pushing products that list ingredients to protect the skin rather than just lightening it.

“Our anti-pollution skincare products at both the premium and affordable range are outperforming the other skincare regimes by at least 25%,” said leading direct seller Amway India’s chief executive Anshu Budhraja.

Part of this is the backlash against the entrenched obsession with ‘fair’ skin, experts said.

“Promoting colour of a particular kind isn’t a politically correct thing anymore and companies are increasingly acknowledging that now,” said social commentator and brand consultant Harish Bijoor.

Preference for Functional Benefits
“In urban markets, consumer trends are surely shifting to functional benefits over just colour.”

While fairness has historically comprised half the Rs 7,000 crore skincare category, anti-pollution creams and formulations are rising in the high double digits compared with overall skincare which is growing at about 7%, two industry executives said, citing Nielsen data .

Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL), India’s biggest consumer goods maker, said the company sees strong traction for such products. “Given the increased awareness of the damage that pollution and harsh weather conditions can cause to skin, consumers — both men and women—are seeking evolved solutions that act as an add-on to the basic requirement of skin protection,” a spokesperson said.

HUL’s anti-pollution facewashes, which lead the market, and its recently launched cream under the Pond’s franchise are growing faster than the overall market, the person said.

“Our key insight from a consumer perspective have been the growing awareness of pollution-related issues and how brands are focusing their formulations towards this need,” Amway’s Budhraja said. “Pollution protect is a growing space in skincare and is over indexed to youth.”

Amway introduced its Attitude herbals range with antipollution benefits in the third quarter last year, followed by extending its Artistry brand with skin protection against pollution damage, which the company said has hit its threemonth target in one month.

Wellness and beauty care startup Cosmic Nutracos founder Dolly Kumar said its Skinella brand of pollution-protect skincare, including facewashes and scrubs, has grown 21% over the past three months compared with the previous quarter.

A report by global market intelligence firm Future Market Insights forecast that with rising pollution levels, the antipollution beauty ingredients market will grow at a CAGR of at least 5% in 2019-2029.
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