Less is seldom more in life. But that is changing. Walk down any retail store, or for that matter, next time you go to pick up something at the neighbourhood corner store, just look around. You will be surprised to note the number of sachets and palm-sized packs of the most premium of brands: Tresemme shampoo sachets, Oreo cookie packs, Tropicana powder packs, Huggies single diaper pack, and even mini cans of Park Avenue deodorant are jostling for space with the regular Parle-G packs and Clinic shampoo sachets. The Indian middle class is recalibrating its aspirations to own premium brands in the face of rising inflation and the downturn in the Indian economy. And brands are playing ball.
In the last six months, several fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) companies across categories have launched either smaller product packs, stock keeping units (SKU) in marketing parlance, or affordable versions of their premium products in a market impacted by weakening sales and low consumer confidence. For instance, FMCG giant Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL) has launched a R3 sachet of its premium haircare brand, Tresemmé, apart from pushing a new 50g bar of its Dove soap for R22. PepsiCo India, on the other hand, is selling a powder version of its premium juice brand Tropicana in sachets for R10 in select markets including Mumbai, Chennai, Pune and Bangalore. Interestingly, Pepsi also retails smaller pack sizes of flavoured variants of Quaker Oats at Rs 10. Similarly, JK Helene Curtis Ltd, part of Raymond Group, has launched a smaller variant of its premium deodorant brand Park Avenue, 40 ml at R59. Next, Parle Products sells its premium biscuit brand Hide & Seek Bourbon (44.5 gm) for R5 and Hide & Seek (25 gm) biscuits for R5. Meanwhile, chocolate company Cadbury too is pushing its R5 pack of cookie brand Oreo. Nestle India on the other side is selling premium chocolate Alpino in a pack of two bonbons for R25.
Rajat Wahi, partner, consumer and retail, at management consulting firm KPMG in India says that the main reason behind the sudden spur in launching smaller SKUs or affordable products is a weak economy. “The main idea is to reduce unit price with the launch of small SKUs/ affordable range of products. This, in turn, also helps in attracting first-time consumers as most of the time consumers hesitate to buy a new product in bulk but are