Online Exclusives

The Beauty of India's Middle Class

By Catherine Diamond, Associate Editor | October 2, 2012

India’s rapidly growing middle class is driving the beauty and personal care label market’s increasing popularity.

The growth of the beauty labels market can be seen most clearly in the world’s largest up-and-coming economy: India. India’s middle class is growing at an unprecedented pace – as discussed in Calvin Frost’s recent Letters from the Earth column – and, as a result, demand there is quickly rising for beauty and personal care products.

According to Samir Patkar, managing director of newly formed Gallus India Private Limited, packaging in India as a whole has been growing 15-18%, especially in the label segment. “Fast-moving consumer goods, pharma, cosmetic and liquor industries have been the key growth drivers,” Patkar says.

“The growth of a broader middle class in India is having a long-term impact on packaging markets and the demand for packaged goods. These developments, in turn, are boosting demand for high-quality labels and local manufacturing facilities,” he adds.

Patkar says that as a result of this growth, Gallus is expanding its network of sales and service centers in India to ensure a local service for label printers there. Gallus India Private Limited is headquartered in Mumbai, has a branch in Bangalore and will soon have another in Delhi

Because of its location in India, Gallus has seen firsthand the changing trends among the middle class there. “Consumer buying behaviors have changed with the modernization of retail trade. More shelf space has been created for brand owners to display their products,” Patkar says. “Package decoration is playing a key role in product differentiation.”

Patkar adds that the age of the Indian population has a lot to do with its buying habits. “The India of today is young, and the purchasing power of the young India is increasing. Indians are getting more focused on personal and healthcare and, hence, can be reflected in the consumption on daily basis on such products.”

“Combination printing drives the packaging needs of personal care and beauty products,” he says. “Conventional processes like flexo, screen, HFS, and offset will continue to dominate in these segments in India. I personally do not see threat from digital in these segments for a few years at least.  In the Western world, especially in Europe and the Americas, we see a lot of penetration of the digital technology replacing the conventional small-to-medium run labels.

“Only a converter with good knowledge of the challenges with small run label requirements associated with prepress, coatings, substrates, customer buying behaviors and, above all, focus on sales and marketing to generate multiple small label businesses. While the West has gone a long way in digital, here in the East it is still taking baby steps,” he adds.

Patkar believes that India has a great future in packaging and a promising double-digit growth ahead. “We are in the middle of all the action from growth to development, merger and acquisitions to private equity investments, new product developments to new market openings, domestic consumption to retail modernization - all at the same time…All I can say is the center of gravity in the world business is slowing moving East. Watch out world, ‘Brand India’ is coming!”
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