Hindustan Unilever (HUL) plans to launch a range of baby care products under its Dove brand in the next few months to challenge the dominance of Johnson & Johnson in the Rs 4,000-crore market, two officials privy with the development said.
"Several of these products will directly compete with Johnson & Johnson (J&J) and will be their (J&J's) first serious competition in the country," one of them said. HUL's decision is part of a strategy to expand Dove that transformed itself from being just a bathing bar in 1993 to shampoo, deodorants, lotions, body and face wash last decade, the officials said.
A company spokesperson said, as a policy, it does not comment on market speculations.
Research agency Euromonitor expects demand for baby and child-specific products to remain high due to a host of factors, including rising disposable incomes, the increasing number of nuclear families in urban centres, rising awareness of baby products, and the expected rapid growth of modern retailers.
Experts feel the baby personal products category has huge potential as it largely remains under-penetrated despite an estimated 26 million children born every year in the country. "India is under-branded in the baby care category despite high potential and birth rates. There has been low level of innovation and product introductions too," said Devendra Chawla, president, FMCG and brands, at Future Group.
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