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Indian rural market’s still sluggish, could improve in H2: Colgate executive

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Indian rural market’s still sluggish, could improve in H2: Colgate executive

Synopsis
“Real incomes have come down and the general level of unemployment in rural India is very high. The impact of inflation on them is very high,” Mukul Deoras, president, Asia Pacific at Colgate-Palmolive, said at the Evercore ISI annual consumer and retail conference.

Colgate-Palmolive said India’s urban market has recovered while villages are still seeing sluggish growth due to inflation, falling incomes and lack of jobs. The oral care firm, whose toothpaste is used by every second Indian, however, said it expects the rural market to pick up in the second half of the year.

“Real incomes have come down and the general level of unemployment in rural India is very high. The impact of inflation on them is very high,” Mukul Deoras, president, Asia Pacific at Colgate-Palmolive, said at the Evercore ISI annual consumer and retail conference.

By volume, the country’s overall toothpaste market was down 2-3% in the March quarter, with marginal growth in urban and mid-single-digit decline in rural markets. “But there is confidence that the rural market, which is lagging, will actually start getting better in the second half of the year, assuming all the other things like monsoon and so on are good,” said Deoras, who is also the chairman of Colgate India.

The company behind the eponymous toothpaste brand said when compared to China, the Indian market has a significantly lower online and modern trade contribution, slower pace of premiumisation and low per-capita consumption. Besides, the annual per-capita consumption of toothpaste in urban India is about 200 grams and 100 grams in villages, lower than nearly 300 grams in China.

“The per-capita consumption in India is very low. And therefore, that in itself strategically is a very big opportunity for us because if we don’t drive per-capita consumption in India, then it’s not going to happen. As market leaders, we have to do everything that we can to drive the per-capita consumption, and that remains our single biggest opportunity,” said Deoras, adding that the company’s market share trend is stable and has started inching up.

 

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