Q4 Results Preview: Packaged Food Drives Consumer Goods Makers’ Sales
A worker wears a protective face mask while serving customers at a supermarket checkout counter in Mumbai. (Photographer: Dhiraj Singh/Bloomberg)

Q4 Results Preview: Packaged Food Drives Consumer Goods Makers’ Sales

Packaged food sales helped drive business for consumer goods makers in the last quarter of the pandemic-hit fiscal even as personal and home care categories continue to lag, according to a BloombergQuint survey.

Demand for personal care products like soaps and shampoos remained under pressure in some regions, a survey of eight large distributors across India revealed. Consumption of health supplements like ‘Chyawanprash’ rose, they said on condition of anonymity out of business concerns.

Personal and home care products sales, however, have been recovering. Marico Ltd., maker of Parachute hair oil, said in its quarterly update that its India business grew in double digits on a lower base. Demand, it said, is improving as the economy grows and Covid-19 vaccination gathers pace.

“Revenue growth in fourth quarter was even higher than volume growth due to pricing interventions in key portfolios to partially alleviate the significant input cost push during the period.”

Godrej Consumer Products Ltd., a maker of hair colour and soaps to mosquito repellant, also witnessed “strong growth” during the three months through March. “In India, we expect to deliver sales growth around the thirties, driven by strong volume growth and calibrated price increases,” the company said in its update. “Sales growth was quite broad-based across key categories of soaps, household insecticides and hair colours.”

Also read: Second Covid-19 Wave Likely To Hit Consumer Sentiment, Economic Recovery: Citi Research

Yet, according to distributors, it's the food category that has been driving demand in some of the biggest consumer states.

Gujarat

Food companies witnessed double-digit growth, while sales of personal care products fell 10-15% over last year. There’s a shift towards online as Covid-19 spreads across the country.

Delhi/NCR

Demand for food and beverages fell during the quarter—by around 25% year-on-year.

Maharashtra

Food sales rose in the mid-teens while that of home care and personal care segments grew by 8-10% over a year ago.

Uttar Pradesh

Sale of foods and home care products picked up pace compared to last year. Online sales are rising amid the pandemic, with stores opting to purchase from cash-and-carry outlets.

Odisha

Sales grew in double digits across categories. However, sales of higher-priced personal care products fell as consumers opted for affordable packs. The segment’s sales remained largely flat in the quarter ended March.

Punjab

Sales across categories remained largely unchanged compared to last year amid falling incomes. Online sales have gained significance, and the trend is expected to accelerate.

Goa

Sales rose across categories by 8-10% as economic activity wasn’t affected much by the pandemic.

Telangana

Sales fell as consumers are shifting online. Consumption fell in double digits across categories.

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