It’s true. Some markets are more difficult than others, and India seems to be one of them.
What do you do if you’re Unilever, Nestlé or Procter & Gamble – and all people want is soap containing cow dung, cow urine, milk, yogurt and clarified butter?
Yoga guru Baba Ramdev (you may have seen his photo on busses or billboards around India – his beard is truly memorable) has got it all figured out. His company Patanjali Ayurved Ltd. makes lotions, cleansers and supplements based on Ayurvedic principles.
Ramdev is known for fiercely criticising Western style capitalism and is aiming at providing his fellow countrymen and women with products he thinks they will like. Ironically, he’s not just right but in fact so successful that now he’s built his very own empire (however, all profits go to his ashram and charitable causes).
Growth has been so significant that the large, global giants have actually taken steps in response (L’Oréal, for example, is now studying Ayurvedic plants). But producing similar products, or products with local, familiar ingredients won’t be enough – Ramdev is revered as one of the most experienced teachers of yoga and meditation (he even instructs the Prime Minister…) and consumers simply seem to have faith in his products and their effect.
Sales have gone through the roof and it’s interesting to see that Indians actually prefer spending their rupees on local products. The Wall Street Journal reports that
The company’s sales have exploded in recent years. In the 12 months ended March 31, its revenues jumped 70% to more than $300 million.
From a global perspective, India is such a unique and interesting market (ever wondered where are the international supermarket chains, or the international law firms?) and it’s intriguing to watch how a local brand can challenge the established players.