Sakshi Deepchandani
Sakshi is Trend and Innovation Consultant – India at Mintel, and is responsible for providing clients with cutting-edge insights, thought-provoking opinion and strategies within new product development, with a focus on the Indian market.

With initiatives like ‘Swachh Bharat’ by the Indian government and celebrities endorsing hygiene-focused programmes, there is an increased awareness about hygiene among Indian consumers today.

In addition, busy and stressful lifestyles are creating the need for solutions that can help consumers relax. Another trend increasing in popularity is demand for male-centric products with a focus on the importance of a well-groomed appearance.

To better engage with consumers, there is a need for soap and bath product brands to work on reassuring hygiene benefits, create solutions that have a de-stressing effect including natural and chemical-free ingredients, and offer innovative solutions specific to various demographic groups.

Here, we take a look at three key consumer trends that are influencing India’s soap and bath industry.

Kill the germs

More than a third of adults in India who use soap or shower products say they look for an anti-bacterial feature when they shop, according to Mintel research. As a result of rising consciousness about cleanliness, consumers are now increasingly looking at personal hygiene.

The fear of communicable diseases among consumers is touted to be one of the important factors driving the demand for hand wash and sanitizers. This gives brands an opportunity to provide solutions to consumers that concentrate on the hygiene aspect of health.

Bathing as a therapy

Bathing is considered a therapeutic activity in Ayurveda and consumers are looking for products and wellness treatments that can help them relax their mind and bodies in the most natural ways possible. With busier lifestyles, Indian consumers are dedicating their time for relaxation, in a bid to lead a healthy lifestyle.

This creates an opportunity for brands to offer solutions that can help consumers heal and de-stress through bath and shower products naturally. Fragrances that help in enhancing the sensorial experience are likely to attract such consumers.

Man in the Mirror

There is a rising aspiration among men to maintain a well-groomed appearance as it makes them feel more confident. Rapid urbanisation and increasing per capita income are some other factors that contribute to the increasing demand for male-centered products.

As this market grows, brands have an opportunity to offer gender-specific products that suit the needs and requirements of male consumers.

Local brands responding to these trends

Consumers are now conscious of product formulations and are looking for natural and chemical-free products. It can now be seen that the hydrating and moisturising claims are high in products made with natural ingredients. Apart from botanical and herbal products, products are also seen with cow-derived ingredients.

Body wash with neem and calendula: Love Organically, Neem & Calendula Miracle Body Wash

Cow ark handwash: Cowpathy Herbal Hand Wash

Product innovations are seen across formats and textures like salts, granules, scrub, liquids, and gel. Brands are coming up with solutions that are specific to certain demographic groups like men, products suitable during pregnancy as well as innovative products that address specific skin related concerns.

Targeting the male demographic: AVA Ayur Veda Aroma Mixer Orange & Bergamot Anti Hangover Shower Gel for Men

Today, brands in India have an opportunity to address consumer demands by providing solutions made with natural ingredients, soothing fragrances, anti-bacterial properties, and gender-specific products. Format and texture innovations could aid sensory experience and ease of use, in turn increasing the brand value.

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