Market of Hand Sanitiser
Market of Hand Sanitiser

With the spread of swine flu and H1N1 disease in India, there are several initiatives undertaken by the government and other socially responsible institutions to make the consumers aware of the diseases and the precautions to follow along with campaigns related to personal hygiene.


Manufacturers have taken the message as an opportunity and products like hand sanitisers, gels, wet wipes and liquid soaps have flooded the Indian retail market. These products have suddenly received brisk response from the consumers. Among them, hand sanitiser market has also been recognised in the urban cities but the awareness is still nascent. Let us look into the details of this new merchandise which has gained substantial importance in recent years.


Major Market Players & Products


The market of hand sanitisers is around 25 crore in the country and it is growing at a rate of 50 per cent every year. This is an encouraging sign for many FMCG companies to foray in hand sanitiser product market.


Dettol Hand Sanitiser(50ml at Rs.49 and 200ml at Rs. 175): The timing has been right for the product launch as a natural extension of the category. Mr. Chander Mohan Sethi, Chairman and Managing Director, Reckitt Benckiser, India said that; "Dettol, one of India's most trusted brands, has always endeavoured to offer best protection from germs to consumers in line with their evolving needs. Hand Sanitiser is a convenient format that provides protection on-the-go. Dettol Sanitiser is well accepted world over and we are happy to introduce the product in India.”


The other major players include—HUL’s Lifebuoy hand sanitiser; GD Pharmaceuticals, which manufactures the popular cream Boroline, has its anti-bacterial product Suthol; Himalaya Drug Company’s Pure hands (50 ml at Rs 39 and 500 ml at Rs 225); PavLin Inc, a Bangalore-based company which sells ‘New Clear’ brand in three unit categories; Godrej’s Protekt launched with the slogan’ Freedom to Touch’ to name a few in the Indian market.


Sales Response: Personal Hygiene as the Main Catalyst


The demand of hand sanitisers has suddenly shot up due to the pandemic diseases like influenza A (H1N1) and swine flu in the country. The country has witnessed deaths over 1500 from Swine flu till May 2010 and 75 deaths recorded till last week September 12, 2010.


Vineet Jain, GM NCR, Future Value Retail Ltd, asserts, “The demand of sanitisers is still in the nascent stage. Consumers have started using the product, especially in the metro cities, but the sale figure is not that overwhelming.”


As explained by Mr Chander Mohan, Chairman and Managing Director, Reckitt Benckiser, India,Consumers are becoming increasingly aware of hygiene for their children as well as for the families at large. Realising that hand wash is the first step of defence against common illnesses, consumers accept these products due to the increasing awareness for personal hygiene and for promoting germ free protection on the go.”


Pavneet Singh, managing partner of PavLin Inc, opines, “The demand for hand sanitisers has shown an upward move due to personal hygiene. The product is so useful that its usage does not require water, paper or soap and also encourages the concept of ‘Go Green’. It is not gaining so much of attention at present as swine flu is not swirling around (as compared to last year) majorly in the country.” On the other hand, Saket Gore, Business Head Division, the Himalaya Drug Company says, “In the past one year, our sales figure has touched the numbers which we had sold in 5 years of time.”


Challenges: Consumers’ Perception


The sales figure has shown an upward bend but the results are not as appreciable due to the following reasons.

  • Consumers are still naïve in its usage: Consumers still take it as medicine instead of daily routine hygiene. This is acting as a major deterrent in its consumption.
  • Still stick to their conventional modes of hygiene habits—washing hands with soaps.
  • Retailer’s hesitant but there is a gain in impetus to keep it as important merchandise in the roll of hygiene portfolio of products.


Retailer Role to encourage its Sale


Majorly supplied to the selective destinations like hospitals, airports, hotels etc, these products have been in demand due to the fatal diseases that invaded India. The manufacturers are negotiating with big retailers to provide the product to the masses at ease. Besides, retailers are also taking initiatives at the store level to make its brand visibility. At retail store—for example Dettol has placed a hanger with 6 sanitisers placed at retail outlets, table top prominent positions easy to grab product placement. This was supported by other media – strip ads, advertising on boarding passes etc.


Companies like Himalaya Drug Company have started supplying the product to Big Bazaar, Food World, Some grocery shops. As described by Mr Pavneet Singh, “Retailers largely look for the margins. The product need more brand visibility as people still take it as a medicine rather than treating it as a regular hygienic product.” He further explains, “We pay monthly fee for exclusive shelf display to make its visibility substantial.”


Would be a success


The product has immense potential in the coming times. With the government initiatives and impactful advertisements, the need to include it at ‘regular basis’ as consumer durable is a challenge for both manufacturers and retailer.

  • Consumers increasingly need to be educated on germ protection and we are a witness to a spurt of ongoing advertorials on disinfection, six steps to hand washing etc.  
  • Expanding distribution – realising the need to reach the masses the companies have made a conscious effort to reach the depths of Indian market. The challenge was in using differential tools for better visibility and breaking through the clutter using tin plates, dealer boards, in store branding and wall paintings.
  • School contact program:  Dettol is actively reaching out to the youth – teaching the children, who are very highly susceptible to germs and infections, the importance of hygiene and hand washing.
  • Doctors’ recommendations: Doctors and other educationists have been approached by manufacturers like Himalaya Drug recommend ‘Pure hands’ for hygiene purposes.

Hopefully, following with the increased usage in the west, Indians will soon wake up to the call of hand hygiene and the sanitisers will become a necessity like the daily soap in every household.




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