Historically, skin-lightening creams in South Asia had been aimed almost exclusively at women. Fairness creams have been estimated to account for up to 40% of the profits of the cosmetics industry. The domestic skin-lightening cream industry in India was valued at over $190m in 2005.
With the growing competition in woman's fairness cream market, profit and growth prospects were shrinking. In 2005, Emami Limited a Fast Moving Consumer Goods producer and major player in the cosmetic products market decided to dive into the blue ocean by launching Fair and Handsome, the first fairness cream for men. The target audience was the growing number of metrosexual males in South Asian countries. This was an uncontested market space and Emami had the first mover advantage. Further, the company succeeded in making the competition irrelevant plus creating and capturing new demand. Emami had apprehensions that men would be shy and not buy it, but all such claims proved to be untrue. This move turned out to be a huge phenomenon with the sales of Fairness Cream for Men eventually surpassing the sales of Fairness Cream for Women. Research by cosmetics companies suggested that 29% of Indian men started using the creams.
1. Blue Ocean Strategy (Kim and Mauborgne, Harvard Business Review, Oct ‘04)
2. BBC News
3. Types of Strategy: Which Fits Your Business? (Excerpted from: Strategy: Create
and Implement the Best Strategy for Your Business (HBS Press), 2006)
Author: Shubham Raj