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Patanjali steps up to challenge Johnson & Johnson with Shishu Care

The company is expecting to gain a substantial share of this segment by 2020, emerging as a main challenger to the global leader Johnson & Johnson

Harping on its ‘natural products’ positioning and affordable pricing, Baba Ramdev's Patanjali Ayurved is eyeing to be a dominant player in the Rs 2,000 billion baby care category. 

As per a Kantar Worldpanel report, the baby care products category currently has a market of Rs 2,000 billion in India. The report has covered market size for all daily needs and food products for infants from age group 0-5. The report said number of babies in the country in the age group of 0-5 years will increase from 127 million to 135 million by 2020. 

According to Patanjali insiders, the company is expecting to gain a substantial share of this segment by 2020, emerging as a main challenger to the global leader Johnson & Johnson in sub categories such as oil, shampoo, soaps and powder. And this penetration in the segment is likely to come riding on the credibility of Baba Ramdev. The marketing campaign for the same has already been rolled out on TV and a separate campaign in print with a focus on regional newspapers will begin soon. 

"The category quite lucrative. Affordability and trust on baba is an important aspect of our expectation of increased sales. That will work in our favour," said SK Tijarawala, Spokesperson, Patanjali Ayurveda.

Patanjali has set itself a target to double its total revenues to Rs 20,000 by the end of this financial year. Growing at a rapid pace, Patanjali has already become the third-largest fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG) player in the country, surpassing firms like Nestlé, Godrej Consumer, Britannia, and Dabur.

Tijarawala said Patanjali is targeting baby care segment including baby food for its next phase of growth as the category offers a huge potential. 

“With more and more nuclear families coming in, all the resources, energy, effort and money goes into that one child (or two children) of the family. There is no concept of half-a-dozen children. This has made parents more conscious of their choices," he said.

Shishu Care was launched as a separate vertical by the company in August 2016. However, instead of banking entirely on a B2C campaign, the company is focusing on B2B market as well to make inroads in the category that's dominated by international giant Johnson & Johnson followed by Himalaya, Dabur and several other brands. 

“Doctors and delivery centres are exactly where these decisions are made. We will soon be tapping that area. B2B is a strong sales driver in the baby care category. In fact, a lot of times, paediatricians are the advisors of the new parents, since the guidance from the elder generation is lesser as everyone is on their own these days. We have designed our promotion plan accordingly. Moreover we have advertised in the past and we will boost it soon. We have started focusing on this category quite recently.”

The over-conscious nature of the parents forces them in doing too much research on what is good for their babies and the choice about the product is also made largely on word of mouth. 

Tijarawala said the word-of-mouth works well. “This is a category where recommendations, referrals and word of mouth work the best. If the grandmother and mother used J&J, the daughter is ought to use the same products. And a long while ago, J&J was the only brand present in the country and they have a huge first mover advantage. We want to break that shield.”

Tijarawala also said that the affordability will be a main driver for the Shishu Care category. 

“There is too much financial pressure on the parents after delivery since the medical costs are also very high. In such a scenario, parents often go in the guilt trip as to whether they will be able to give the best to their kids, if they will be able to give good products to the baby. Shishu care helps there. It brings a huge advantage of affordability and the babies will be told that you are a Shishu Care baby," he said.

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