Thursday, November 20, 2014

Legendary Brands of Indian Market

Whenever I compare products today with products 10 years back or 30 years back, I always wonder how much things have changed. From customers' needs to perception, from products dimensions to functions, from companies' attitude to altitude, everything is different. But there are products and brands which had actually changed the market scenario in India. These legends have succeeded against all odds and continued their dominance over a lifetime.

Let us have a look at few of them:

In 1983, when Maruti introduced its first car Maruti 800, nobody would have thought that this brand will become a legend in India. But slowly customers moved towards it because they felt its products were easy to drive, easy to maintain, light on pocket and moreover a different style which many can afford. This brand is ruling the Indian automobile sector and all customer surveys for a whopping 25 years. Maruti has found the pulse of Indian customers and seems like they have a knack of creating legendary products. Now after Maruti 800, Swift and Wagon R have already become iconic brands and creating history again and again.

Amul is one brand which actually ended era of the milkman. The white revolution (or some call it operation flood) which started in 1973 has today reached each and every corner of India. Amul today has over one million, over 10000 distributors and over 7200 excusive Parlours. The success of Amul brand can be easily dedicated to Late Mr. Verghese Kurian who mobilized thousands of small dairy farmers and created this legend called Amul for life.

Parle G:
From over 70 years, Parle-G is the largest selling biscuit brand in India and from last 40 years largest selling biscuit brand worldwide. For some it is a little treat and for some it is a one time meal. Many flavours, many variants of other biscuits had come and gone but this brand has never moved an inch from its leadership position. According to me this is one legendary product which had played and will play one of the longest innings in Indian market.

Launched in 1937, Coalgate revolutionized dental care in India. Those days people used to clean their teeth with neem or babool twig but Colgate changed it all. For over 70 years this Colgate dental cream ruled Indian dental care space and in recent past only it has started facing some heat from the likes of Close-up, Pepsodent, Dabur and Oral-B. But all said and done, this product has been immortalized in Indian history as one of the biggest successes of all times.

State Bank of India can be easily termed as bank for the common man. Roots of this banking giant can be traced back to 1806 when it started its journey as Bank of Calcutta. From then in 1921 it turned into Imperial Bank of India and in 1955 it became today's State Bank of India. With over USD 400 billion assets, deposits of over USD 300 billion and over 20000 branches, this banking legend is going to stay on top for long. Even though 25 years back it was first choice of every Indian and in recent decade new entrants like ICICI, HDFC have taken a big share of urban customers, SBI is still first choice of every common man.

Many companies have come and gone but Bata has remained undisputed king of organized Indian footwear industry from last 70 years. With currently sales of over 50 million pairs of footwear per year in India, Bata has reached where nobody can even think of reaching at present. In fact, rubber slippers launched by Bata under the name 'Hawai' is so famous that every rubber slipper is now called as hawai chappal in India. After seeing history of Bata you can say that in products, 'legends are not born they are created'.

Launched in 1950, Prestige changed the way food was cooked. Its famous tagline for Prestige pressure cooker, "Jo biwi se kare pyaar, vo prestige se kaise kare inkaar", is a household slogan in itself. In last 64 years, this brand has reached to such a height that now on an average every 7 seconds a prestige product is sold in India. This feet can be achieved only by a legendary brand and it seems this is one product which is set to play not out innings at leadership position.

If you want to buy a watch of Indian Brand, I am sure Titan will be the first to consider. With over 60% Indians opting for this brand and a market leadership spanning nearly 20 years, this legendary brand is here to stay for long. Started in 1984, when HMT and Allwyn were at their peak, slowly and steadily this brand kept on winning consumers hearts and today it sells over 15 million watches every year.

The blue bottle of Parachute has become a brand of trust in hair oil segment. When it was launched in 1987, market was dominated by unbranded hair oils but Parachute changed the tide. Today over 18 million households use Parachute and it enjoys over 50% market share in branded hair oil category. This is one brand which has withstood competition from various products and brands but never moved from its leadership position till date.

Thums Up:
Whenever you want to quench your thirst with a Cola, 40% of Indians opt for Thums Up. Launched in 1977 by Parle, it became part of Coca-Cola in 1993. Though Coca-Cola wanted to phase it out but this legendary product was so strong that they had to think otherwise. In last 40 years this product has seen many ups and downs, fierce competition from likes of Pepsi and Coke but remained on top due to strong fan following. Like its logo, my vote goes for it as legend in aerated drinks segment.

Vaseline in my mind will always remain synonym to petroleum jelly. I still remember from my early childhood days when it used to come in tin box. For over 130 years, this legend has ruled the skin care segment and keeping in mind the customer needs, kept on launching new products at regular intervals. Now I see so many products under Vaseline brand that original petroleum jelly seems lost but no other product can take its place as legend for sure.

'Bas 2 Minute' noodles is favourite among kids today and slogan for instant noodles in India. Introduced in 1982, this brand has its share of tough competition, ups and downs in its history. Today it enjoys 60% market share in instant noodles category with a big range of products. Even though my favourite will always be Top Ramen Curry Noodles, brand Maggi will remain a legend in Indian market since it was the first to challenge local snacks like samosas, pakoras etc successfully.

Zandu Balm:
For new generation, this may be a surprise inclusion but this iconic product is market leader in pain relief segment for over 100 years now. Zandu Balm has become synonymous to all balms and in India it is a part of over 50 million households. It may be feeling heat from new products like Volini or Moov or to some extent Tiger Balm, but this legendary product still has more leadership years left in it.

Dabur Chyawanprash:
Again this may be a surprise inclusion but this product is market leader in its segment from last 70 years. Nowadays people may rely more on health drinks for vigor and vitality but chyawanprash is known to be best natural ayurvedic resource for youthfulness. In our childhood I still remember everybody in most of the families taking Dabur Chyawanprash daily and this habit has not changed for many families till date.

There are many more legendary brands in Indian market but I guess space will be always less to mention them all. Indian market is filled with legends, stories of triumph where tides have been turned but it is some who had created history and that is what my heart whispers to me...........

Monday, November 10, 2014


Indians seems to be on an e-commerce spree now-a-days. With revenues of e-commerce companies swelling like our pot bellies, I always wonder what will happen when this euphoria is over and sensibility will start settling in. Right now mudslinging is happening in the top rung and down the line new start-ups are fighting in that mud for survival. Every other new venture is in e-commerce and now from onions to diamonds everything is available at just click of a button. Will this golden era keep on going for ever or will this threaten to disrupt the equilibrium of the society in near future, this is a debateable question which I don't want to put forth as of now but one thing is sure that consolidation will happen soon enough in this segment. 

Let us see according to me where top contenders stand in this race as of now:

Flipkart: The Prime Mover
Flipkart is the first company which can be truly credited with e-commerce revolution in India thanks to its founders Sachin Bansal and Binny Bansal. With revenues touching almost US$ 5 billion, it is far ahead of other players as of now. Excellent customer interface, huge product portfolio across categories and exclusive deals such as Xiomi products are some of its major advantages. There may be some hiccups recently such as 'Billion Dollar Day', which earned huge revenue but huge criticism as well; you cannot count Bansals out of the race anytime sooner. Profitability may not be a concern at present but it will be sooner or later in future so they should keep a check on the same. Takeover of will also help them in securing a large pie of fashion space which can prove to be a very big advantage in future. I guess if they can keep on maintaining creative deals and innovative services in the loop, they can remain prime mover of Indian e-commerce industry for long.

Amazon: The Challenger
Amazon is a known name in e-commerce jungle worldwide and with extra deep pockets plus army of technical and creative minds at helm; it can be true challenger for numero uno position. With already revenues topping US$ 1 billion within a year, you can expect some solid ground work from them and then serious ground breaking in near future. Since they have everything to gain and nothing to lose, Flipkart will have tough time to save its territory and its customers from this e-commerce giant. Strategically, with sites such as in their kitty, you can expect some heavy fine tuning by Amazon in terms of deals and offers. Nevertheless they are also facing same constraints as our prime mover and it will be great to see who finds the key to everlasting success among them.

Snapdeal: The Innovator
I had always liked their philosophy of doing business and Snapdeal can be credited with start of innovative deals in e-commerce segment in India. Kunal Bahl and Rohit Bansal started on the right track but could not overtake Flipkart since stiff challenge was at their doorstep sooner than expected. But now Snapdeal has also thrown its hat into the ring and seems to be fully prepared to take the blows as well as inflict damage to the competition. However, customer interface and product range across portfolios need to be improvised in order to stake claim for the numero uno position.

Indiatimes Shopping, Homeshop18 and Ebay: The Invisibles
Roots of both Indiatimes Shopping and Ebay in India can be found even prior to Flipkart and Snapdeal. Started as market places for online selling, these sites had great potential but I guess lacked the hunger to conquer. They have every asset at their disposal to make it big in Indian market space but god only knows when they will start firing on all cylinders. Homeshop18 even have their own 24 hours channel to promote products but they still have to find the right combination of television and internet selling to make it to the top.

Quikr and Olx: The Resellers
So customer base is large, following is large, product range is infinite (since mostly people sell their all sorts of old used items) which means the scope for them is also quite promising. You can also see few people selling brand new items on these sites as well but mostly individuals and not organised retailers. However, any of them can be a big player in e-commerce space if they choose to enter the big arena of branded new items through retailers as scalability will not be a big issue with them.

Others: The Niche Segmenters,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,, and so on, the list is never ending. Everybody has got the funding, everybody has got the advertisements and everybody has got a niche segment or may be niche customer base. However, most of these players will look for consolidation with big players at some point like what Myntra did with Flipkart until and unless they are happy with their limited reach or they have guts and resources to fight the big guns.

Whatever is going to happen in future that does not matter since as of now the customer is the king and we can reap as much benefit as possible till funding is coming to these companies. But let us beware that this will happen only till a certain point where equilibrium or ecosystem of business is not in danger so enjoy till then and that is what my heart whispers to me...........