Aishwarya Ramesh

Is there room for a specialised hand cream market in India?

As hand washing and dish scrubbing make palms rough, The Himalaya Drug Company is marketing a 'specialised' hand cream, a segment it hopes will evolve from 'niche' to 'mass'. We spoke to Rahul Panchal, general manager - CPD - marketing, about it.

The Himalaya Drug Company, a leading Indian wellness brand, is highlighting the importance of nurturing and caring for hands with Himalaya Hand Cream. Its latest film is a part of the campaign #LoveYourHands.

The stance taken is not surprising – many households don't have access to maids, given the fears around the Coronavirus spreading. As a result, family members have adopted an ‘all hands on deck’ approach to ensure that housework gets done, right from sweeping floors to washing vessels and cleaning cobwebs off dusty corners.

The current scenario has brought the focus back on the importance of hand washing and hygiene. The situation has also called for a change in habits, and more attention on cleanliness.

Himalaya’s ad film is set in this context, and visually showcases all the work that our hands do while being engaged in house chores. It also shows the results of frequent hand washing, sanitising, cleaning, etc., and emphasises the importance of hand care. This TVC aims to serve as a reminder that those busy hands need care and also nourishment.

Regular washing of hands often leaves them dry and stretched. Himalaya Hand Cream is a powerful combination of natural herbs. It is enriched with the goodness of rose myrtle and cocoa butter, which relieve dry and rough skin, help strengthen the skin’s barrier function, keeping our hands feel soft and supple.

In a press note, Rajesh Krishnamurthy, business director - consumer products division, The Himalaya Drug Company, said, “Today, more than ever, hand hygiene and washing hands frequently has become important, and there is a growing awareness among consumers about the need for moisturising hands after washing. While taking care of the sanitation needs, consumers are also worried about the harsh effects of constantly using soaps on hands.”

Krishnamurthy adds that Himalaya Hand Cream is packed with natural ingredients that help prevent hands from becoming dry from regular washing.

Keerthika Damodharan, brand manager, consumer products division - marketing, The Himalaya Drug Company, added, “Due to frequent hand washing and use of sanitisers, many people have rough and dry hands. Using a specialised hand cream is recommended to get the best results for dry skin, instead of using any skin moisturising cream that might not provide extra care. Our new communication, 'Not just a skin cream', highlights the importance of using a hand cream over any other skin cream for soft and supple hands.”

Highlighting the insight behind this campaign, Garima Khandelwal and Azazul Haque, chief creative officers at Mullen Lintas, said, “The insight for the film comes straight from the new reality that we are all living in. With the increased safety measures and the lockdown, there is an impact on our hands, which are doing way more than they're used to. While the visual language stands as a crucial part of our everyday lives, the track is youthful and vibrant, ensuring that the essence of the brand feels relatable.”

Rahul Panchal, general manager - CPD - marketing, The Himalaya Drug Company, explains that the dryness caused by constant hand washing has created a greater demand for products that help moisturise hands, and keep them soft and supple.

“Before the pandemic, hand cream was viewed as a luxury skin care product. Today, it is moving into the essential space. As a wellness brand, Himalaya has always taken care of customers’ evolving needs. Himalaya Hand Cream is loaded with natural ingredients that help people care for their hands while keeping them clean and sanitised,” he says.

Rahul Panchal
Rahul Panchal

Panchal says that the hand cream market is one that is centred on type and application. He adds that the consumer’s need for soft, moisturised hands existed much before current times, but this need was felt more amongst a niche consumer segment. Now, people primarily use hand creams for moisturisation, and protection from roughness and dryness.

"Before the pandemic, hand cream was viewed as a luxury skin care product, today it is moving into the essential space."
Rahul Panchal

“Winter is usually the time when there is a spike in demand for hand creams. However, many people who spend a lot of time in air-conditioned spaces also have the problem of dry hands. Hence, there is not much of a seasonal swing in the demand for hand creams, which remain on everyone’s purchase list all through the year,” he elucidates.

Panchal adds that as a wellness brand, Himalaya understands that there is a huge gap and demand for creams that are specifically designed to moisturise hands. He says that customers have been looking for a hand cream with natural ingredients since they tend to be gentle on the skin.

"The need for soft hands existed before current times, but this need was felt more amongst a niche consumer segment."
Rahul Panchal

“With a legacy of Ayurveda and contemporary scientific research, we were able to develop a specialised hand cream that could keep hands well nourished. Himalaya’s Age Defying Hand Cream is a daily use, non-greasy cream. It rejuvenates the skin, giving you younger looking hands,” he concludes.

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