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ITC 20 Mar 2015

ITC looks at Savlon brand extension to rival Reckitt Benckiser’s Dettol

ITC’s Savlon will face a tough competition from RB’s Dettol, which dominates the antiseptic category with an 85 per cent market share and is also among the top five soap brands in the country, say market analysts.

As ITC has acquired Johnson & Johnson’s brands antiseptic product Savlon and Shower-to-Shower, is aggressively working towards expanding its presence in the personal care segment by leveraging its distribution infrastructure.

By acquiring Savlon, ITC aims to directly compete with Reckitt Benckiser’s Dettol, which has moved from antiseptic liquids into soaps, hand wash and hand sanitisers. The former brand is presently looking at brand extensions of Savlon antiseptic liquid to fight multinational competition in the country.

Reportedly, Dettol currently leads the pack in the branded antiseptic segment with an 85 per cent market share. To sustain its leadership in the segment, RB India is betting big on increased penetration and aims to reach out to maximum consumers. The company is currently working on plans to introduce low-priced units of its flagship brand Dettol to drive penetration in tier-II and tier-III towns.

As informed by leading business daily, an RB India spokesperson said, "As a part of our ‘Go-to-Market’ strategy, we are looking at increasing our distribution network to take our products to more towns and villages. As Dettol is an essential brand in our portfolio, it is bound to benefit from a stronger distribution network.”

The spokesperson further added that RB India will also drive penetration by creating relevance of ‘germ protection’ in the lives of consumers.

He said, “Our priority is to increase RBs’ reach in India. We will remain consistent to Dettol’s core positioning of ‘germ protection.”

The company has recently kicked off a nationwide marketing campaign titled ‘Dettol – Banega Swachh India’.

The company has invested R100 crore for this initiative. At present, RB India’s portfolio includes Dettol soaps, Mortein coils, Harpic and Lysol.

Like RB India, yet another major player in personal care category, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) is running a rural marketing campaign ‘Khushiyon Ki Doli’ to promote its Lifebuoy brand which is positioned as ‘a soap that gives 100 per cent more germ protection’.

Meanwhile, after clinching its first acquisition in the personal care products range, ITC is drawing up strategic plans to market its new brands.

Commenting on the company’s strategy, Sandeep Kaul, Chief Executive, ITC’s Personal Care Products Business said, "These acquired brands will provide us opportunities to grow and expand the existing consumer franchise by leveraging ITC’s institutional strengths in consumer insight and understanding, brand development and the extensive trade marketing and distribution infrastructure. ITC is open to acquisitions, provided they are synergistic with our plans and strengthen ITC’s portfolio."

According to market experts, ITC’s Savlon will face a tough competition from RB’s Dettol, which dominates the antiseptic category and is also among the top five leading soap brands in the country. “Savlon is a distant second to Dettol, and it will have a tough time to gain mind and market share," noted an industry analyst.

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