There’s rocky roads ahead for Hindustan Unilever, according to a report published by Quartz India. The publication picked up on several references to the Indian market in Unilever’s third-quarter earnings call last week.
Among them, was an admittance that ‘market conditions have softened in India’, with executives adding that price hikes prompted by rising commodity costs have seen sales slow. The company has also observed that the rural market is ‘subdued’ and ‘volume growth is slowing’.
The Anglo-Dutch FMCG giant’s Indian arm is also working hard to counter stiff competition in the form of local brands, including the indomitable Patanjali Ayurved and Himalaya Herbals. Unilever’s 2015 acquisition of Indulekha, coupled with adding an Ayurvedic range to its existing Fair & Lovely brand and a renewed focus on Lever Ayush are all strategic examples of HUL’s bid to win back market share from these up and coming domestic companies.
Hindustan Unilever is yet to announce its second-quarter results, but its parent company certainly doesn’t seem optimistic.