Colgate’s Herbal Push Fails To Stem Decline In Toothpaste Market Share

Colgate-Palmolive Co. brand oral care products are arranged for a photograph. (Photographer: Daniel Acker/Bloomberg)

Colgate’s Herbal Push Fails To Stem Decline In Toothpaste Market Share

Colgate-Palmolive India Ltd. continued to lose ground to rivals in the nation’s $1.5-billion toothpaste market even as the marker leader ramped up its herbal appeal.

Colgate, a brand recall built over decades, saw its market share in the mainstay toothpaste segment fall to 46.9% in the 12 months trailing April from 48.32% a year earlier, according to Nielsen data sourced from industry executives.

Pure-play herbal product makers gained at Colgate’s expense. In the last five years, Dabur India Ltd., the maker of Lal Dant Manjan (red toothpowder); and Patanjali Ayurved Ltd., with its muddy-brown Dant Kanti (Sanskrit for shining teeth), cumulatively garnered close to 24% market share in the segment once dominated by Colgate.

Colgate declined to comment on BloombergQuint’s query on loss of market share in the toothpaste segment.

NielsenIQ, in an emailed statement, said, “Owing to client confidentiality policies in place, NielsenIQ cannot share any market information on specific companies or brands, hence we are unable to verify or validate the data.”

The loss of market share reflects in Colgate’s revenue growth. In FY21, the company saw its domestic revenue rise close to 8% over a year earlier, according data shared by brokerage Systematix. By comparison, Dabur’s oral care revenue rose 23.2%.

Colgate’s launch of herbal variants such as Vedshakti, Cibaca Vedshakti, Active Salt, Neem and Sensitive with clove oil failed to stem the decline. The company also launched Colgate Diabetics and Colgate Charcoal Clean.

Colgate, along with new launches, invested in advertisements and promotions across channels to build brands with innovation and technological superiority, Systematix said in its May note. But this strategy, it said, is yet to deliver meaningful results in terms of market share recovery in the toothpaste category.

Dabur, on the other hand, has been constantly seeing a rise in demand across its toothpaste brands over the last few years, a distributor for the company told BloombergQuint on the condition of anonymity out of business concerns.

Dabur, after its fourth-quarter FY21 results, told investors that it has seen a 120-basis-points increase in the toothpaste share compared to a year earlier. “Recently launched Dabur Dant Rakshak and Dabur Herbal range of toothpaste continue to do well,” Mohit Malhotra, chief executive officer at the company, said during the conference call with investors. Dabur Lal Dant Manjan, too, witnessed a growth of 23% during the quarter, he said.

Market share for other competitors in the toothpaste segment such as Pepsodent from Hindustan Unilever Ltd. remained stable. GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare Ltd., which sells a variety of toothpastes under the brand name Sensodyne for treating tooth sensitivity, has witnessed a steady increase since 2018.

“Tooth sensitivity is highly prevalent in India, as many as one in three Indians suffer from tooth sensitivity, however only one in five take action. Therefore, our focus has been on driving condition awareness. This has played a key role in shaping the brand journey over the years,” Anurita Chopra, area marketing lead (oral health) at GSK Consumer Healthcare, told BloombergQuint. The dentist fraternity, according to Chopra, too, has continued to recommend Sensodyne to sensitivity sufferers.

BloombergQuint’s emailed queries to Dabur, Patanjali and HUL remained unanswered.

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