Breaking News

P&G's A-Ha Moment in India

October 7, 2013

They were half a world a way from Cincinnati, but Procter & Gamble executives learned something a few years ago watching a man shave while sitting barefoot on the floor in a tiny hut in India. He had no electricity, no running water and no mirror.

The 20 U.S.-based executives observed the man in 2008 during one of 300 visits they made to homes in rural India. The goal? To gain insights they could use to develop a new razor for India.

The visit kicked off the 18 months it took to develop Gillette Guard, a low-cost razor designed for India and other emerging markets. Introduced three years ago, Guard quickly gained market share and today represents two out of every three razors sold in India.

The story of how Guard came to be illustrates the balance companies must strike when creating products for emerging markets: It's not as simple as slapping a foreign label on an American product."That, for me, was a big 'a-ha,'" Alberto Carvalho, vice president, global Gillette, a unit of P&G told the Associated Press. "I had never seen people shaving like that."

India long has been an attractive country for U.S. companies looking for growth. It has 1.24 billion people. And its economy is bustling: India's annual gross domestic product growth was 3.2 percent in 2012, according to the World Bank, compared with 2.2 percent in the U.S. the same year.

Still, India's widespread poverty presents challenges for companies used to customers with more disposable income. India's per capita income is just about $124 a month, compared with $4,154 in the U.S., according to the World Bank.

Gillette has sold razors in India for over a decade. The company had 37.3 percent market share in 2007, selling its high end Mach3 razor, which costs about $2.75, and a stripped down Vector two-bladed razor on the lower end, which goes for about 72 cents.

Now, if P&G would only use that insight and develop an inexpense razor for established markets. Nobody making less than $50,000 a year wants to spend his hard earned cash on a $12 razor that needs refills...even if it's "the best a man can get."



Related End-User Markets:

blog comments powered by Disqus
  • A Facial Bar Grows in Brooklyn

    A Facial Bar Grows in Brooklyn

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 24, 2016
    With three doors in Canada, Blitz Facial Bar opens its first US location in one of the hippest areas of New York.

  • Let the Magic Begin!

    Let the Magic Begin!

    Tom Branna, Editorial Director||October 10, 2016
    IFSCC Congress gets underway at Walt Disney World this month.

  • Ogee Opens for Business

    Ogee Opens for Business

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 10, 2016
    Banking on the power of jojoba oil, a Vermont-based start-up is the newest player in organic luxury skin care.

  • Change Is in the Air

    Change Is in the Air

    Doreen Wang, BrandZ ||October 3, 2016
    Technology is changing the personal care market

  • Skin Care of One’s Own

    Skin Care of One’s Own

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 3, 2016
    Nu Skin’s ageLOC Me—which melds the worlds of smart-phone technology, efficacious ingredients and personalization

  • Proof Positive

    Proof Positive

    Christine Esposito, Associate Editor||October 3, 2016
    Testing service providers enable companies to back up their claims and stay in compliance with regulations.