First, it was charcoal, then salt. Now it is cardamom, mint, and even turmeric. With yoga guru Ramdev-led Patanjali’s “herbal” game being received well, the offerings of multinational brands in India have been shaken up. Its traditional “herbal” toothpaste flavours have stolen market share from giants such as Hindustan Unilever and Colgate.  As per the report release by HDFC securities, the oral care segment in India is of around Rs. 10,000 crore and the firms selling natural or herbal toothpaste are winning in the marketplace. With the growing awareness of the
adverse effect of fluoride, more and more consumers are switching to herbal and natural products. The oral care category has witnessed significant disruption owing to the success of Patanjali’s Dant Kanti.

The country’s largest toothpaste maker, Colgate-Palmolive, saw its market share plummet below 50% for the first time in decades in May 2018, despite Colgate also introducing their own herbal sub-brands: Colgate Cibaca Vedshakti and Colgate Swarna Vedshakti.

With this background, the students of Northpoint are all set to design an innovative “Go-To-Market” strategy for Colgate to combat its competition and develop a communication campaign basis the same.

Various hypotheses have been formulated to understand the reason for Colgate’s drop in market share after all these years. We believe that people are getting more attracted to herbal/natural ingredients and since brands like Patanjali are known to be solely herbal, whereas Colgate does not enjoy the same reputation, a large number of people may be moving away from Colgate. The lower price point of Patanjali as opposed to Colgate, could also be cause for its downfall.

The team aims to study the usage and attitude of the rural population and understand the shift towards natural or herbal ingredients by nearly every player in the toothpaste market. The study wishes to investigate the effect of herbal brands such as Patanjali, Dabur etc. on the consequent market share of Colgate.

The study will draw its inferences from the data collected both qualitatively and quantitatively from villages around Indore and Jodhpur.  In depth interviews with the respondents will help understand their personal and oral care habits, what brands they use, why they use those particular brands etc. while the questionnaires will help quantify these findings.

The whole exercise will help the team to understand the oral care market scenario in the rural areas. Additionally it’ll help design the recommendations to be made, so as to combat the competitors in the market space.

We are eagerly awaiting the extensive insights we will comprehend through this rural internship! This will enable us to provide a complete detailed report to you at the end of this research, taking you through every step of our journey!

(Watch out for this space in the next issue to view the final report of this study!)

-Ritika Priyadarshani | PGP MR