6 in 10 Indians brush their teeth just once a day – highlighting untapped innovations in oral care

June 12, 2024

Mintel latest research reveals that a staggering 59% of Indian consumers brush their teeth just once a day, while only 34% do so at least twice daily. A closer look at gender-specific data suggests that women are more diligent in their oral care routines compared to men.

Specifically, 62% of men aged 18-34 and 68% of those aged 35-44 brush once daily, compared to 55% and 52% of women in the same age groups, respectively. This highlights a significant opportunity for brands to enhance toothpaste usage frequency among male consumers.

Furthermore, India is seeing an upbeat activity in oral care, with innovation centred around toothpaste. Over half (51%) of new launches between January 2023 and December 2023 were toothpaste according to Mintel Global New Products Database (GNPD). The oral care category is also witnessing the entry of new home-grown brands, which focus on innovation for sensitive teeth, whitening, and other concerns.

Tanya Rajani, Principal Analyst, Beauty & Personal Care, Mintel Reports India, said: “According to social listening tool Infegy Atlas, conversations on social media around terms like ‘oral care’ or ‘toothbrush’ or ‘toothpaste’ are rampant with approximately 11 mentions per hour. Mintel GNPD data also indicates that new claims, such as whitening, are gaining momentum, representing 18% of product launches with such claims in the year leading up to December 2023. This demonstrates a growing emphasis on these claims by both brands and consumers, even on social media.”

To leverage this growing interest in oral care, Rajani said brands can explore linking oral health with total wellbeing, emphasise beautifying benefits to improve usage among men (e.g. whitening, stain removal), and stir excitement with novel flavours.

Brands are premiumising oral care through whitening claims

In India, the oral care category has traditionally maintained affordable pricing. The majority of launches still fall under approximately USD 2, but launches over the past five years suggest a shift toward products at slightly higher price points. For instance, 27% of oral care products launched between January 2023 and December 2023 are priced between USD 2 and USD 4, while 5% of the launches in that same period are priced between USD 4 and USD 6—according to Mintel GNPD.

“Indians have always been mindful of the price-to-benefit ratio, and with brands eyeing premiumisation opportunities, focusing on value propositions and proving worth will be key,” said Rajani.

As brands premiumise through whitening claims, 38% of ‘advanced users’—defined as consumers who brush at least twice a day or use more than six types of oral care products—recognise the importance of maintaining oral health as an integral component of overall well-being. 

“Brands can premiumise by positioning themselves as partners in holistic health. Incorporating herbal ingredients, vitamins/antioxidants and probiotics can aid them in this endeavour. Mintel research shows that 34% of advanced users agree that natural/herbal toothpaste provides better gum health compared to regular ones,” said Rajani.

Diversify flavour profiles beyond traditional mint

Mintel research suggests that another way of stirring interest in oral care products is for brands to offer novel flavours. About one in four Indian consumers, particularly those in Tier 2 cities, are willing to pay more for oral care products with fruity, floral, and gourmet flavours.

“Flavour innovation is a relatively untapped area in the Indian oral care market with mint being the most established flavour,” Rajani noted. “Introducing new flavours can not only reignite consumer interest but also align with the growing trend of integrating sensory experiences into daily routines.”

Additional research on oral care trends and interviews with the analyst team are available upon request from the Mintel Press Office. For those interested in purchasing the full report, please visit the Mintel Store.

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