An overview of the Indian shampoo market

By Priya Chetty on December 30, 2013

An overview of the Indian shampoo market

The shampoo industry in India has evolved extensively since the 1960’s, which was then considered a lifestyle product in urban India. Until 2005, the market was dominated by flagship companies such as Hindustan Lever Ltd. and Procter and Gamble. But since then the competition has broadened to include many more multi-national companies and domestic companies such as Garnier and ITC Ltd. There is high capacity of growth in top and bottom ends of the industry, which is an advantage for companies since the penetration rates are comparatively low.

Hair care market of India

As of September 2009, the Indian hair care market was estimated around Rs. 3,800 Crore. This industry is segmented into smaller categories of shampoos, hair oils, hair serums, hair conditioners, hair colorants and hair gels. Marico dominates the hair oil category with its flagship brand Parachute, followed by Dabur (Vatika).

Shampoo market of India

The word ‘Shampoo’ is originated from the Hindi word ‘Champoo’. The industry is growing at an annual rate of 14% p.a., and the competition is intensifying everyday. Shampoos are further divided into three predominant categories:

  1. Cosmetic (Volume, shine, strength).
  2. Herbal.
  3. And Anti-Dandruff.

Consumer behavior is at crossroads today as it has its roots in both marketing and behavioral sciences. As it is born from marketing it will be hard to deviate from the needs of marketing. But given all the concepts and methods learned from the behavioral sciences it will be impossible to ignore them. The science of consumer behavior will be carried forward with traditional journals and other conferences. However, new journals, like the Journal of Consumer Marketing and other associations will provide a stepping stone to conducting research in the field of marketing.

The target market for shampoos is mainly the upper class, upper middle class, middle class and particularly, housewives and college goers. However, of late, the bottom of the pyramid is proving to be profitable owing to the promotion of one-time use sachets. Cavin Kare, an fast moving consumer goods major created a revolution in the past decade with its experimentation of ‘Re.1/- Chik Shampoos’ in rural areas. Ironically, urban India is witnessing a change in shampoo consumption, since families are moving from ‘one shampoo a family’ to ‘one shampoo a family member’. This metamorphosis is a strong driver for growth. More and more companies are entering the shampoo market every day. The existing marketing leaders are forced to maintain their dominance through aggressive promotion, re-branding efforts and reduction in prices. Companies are also experimenting with sachet promotion to expand presence in the rural markets. This competition is expected to further intensify in near future and the determining factors is consumer connect.

The characteristics of shampoos and its market in India

  • The frequency of shampoo consumption in India is low. Most consumers shampoo once or twice a week, as opposed to everyday in western countries.
  • Some consumers shampoo their hair to attend to hair problems like dandruff, when the hair needs to be conditioned periodically
  • Consumers have common expectations from shampoo consumption, like shine, cleanliness and hygiene, moisturizing, etc. and they expect their needs to be satisfied.
  • Consumers relate formation of lather to the act of cleansing.
  • Even today, many individuals use soap or a combination of soap and shampoo to wash their hair.
  • Shampoo consumers are not very loyal to their brand. They constantly seek changes, mainly so in fragrance.
  • The per wash consumption of shampoo of Indians is higher than most western countries: 6 ml as compared to an average 4 ml per person. This is mainly attributed to hair length of Indian women.
  • Since Indians also regularly oil their hair, their shampoo consumption increases proportionally.
  • Southern India is predominantly a sachet market, as opposed to North India where bottles are more popular.
  • The penetration level of shampoos in rural India is estimated at 32% (2005). Sachets make upto 40% of the total shampoo sales in the country.HUL dominates the market with 47% market share, followed by P&G at 23%. The challenges are expected to increase due to increasing competition and decreasing prices.

Major players of the Indian shampoo market

Hindustan Unilever Ltd. dominates the shampoo market in the country with brands like Clinic All Clear, Sunsilk and Clinic Plus. P&G follows closely with its highly successful brand, Pantene, along with Head & Shoulders, the leading Anti-Dandruff brand in India. Other major players are Dabur, Cavin Kare and Garnier.

Market Share of FMCG Companies in the Shampoo Industry
Market Share of FMCG Companies in the Shampoo Industry

Value-added shampoo segment is gaining immense popularity these days, with many companies launching a myriad of variants to tap market share. Paras was first to launch the hair potion segment with Livon, pharma companies such as Dabur have launched medicated anti-dandruff segment with Vatika.

By 2015, an estimated 55% of the shampoo consumers will be the under-20 years of age segment, giving shampoo giants a huge opportunity to experiment in this sector. With increasing awareness and growing advertising activates, shampoo penetration is likely to multiply threefold in the coming years.


Priya is the co-founder and Managing Partner of Project Guru, a research and analytics firm based in Gurgaon. She is responsible for the human resource planning and operations functions. Her expertise in analytics has been used in a number of service-based industries like education and financial services.

Her foundational educational is from St. Xaviers High School (Mumbai). She also holds MBA degree in Marketing and Finance from the Indian Institute of Planning and Management, Delhi (2008).

Some of the notable projects she has worked on include:

  • Using systems thinking to improve sustainability in operations: A study carried out in Malaysia in partnership with Universiti Kuala Lumpur.
  • Assessing customer satisfaction with in-house doctors of Jiva Ayurveda (a project executed for the company)
  • Predicting the potential impact of green hydrogen microgirds (A project executed for the Government of South Africa)

She is a key contributor to the in-house research platform Knowledge Tank.

She currently holds over 300 citations from her contributions to the platform.

She has also been a guest speaker at various institutes such as JIMS (Delhi), BPIT (Delhi), and SVU (Tirupati).



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