All consumer companies in the business of discretionary products saw their business coming to a grinding halt during the coronavirus lockdown and Raymond Consumer Care was not an exception. The FMCG arm of Raymond earned 80 per cent of its revenue from fragrances and condoms, and that came to a standstill during the first three months of the lockdown. The Rs 750 crore FMCG company realised that to stay afloat it had to quickly change its business model. "In April this year, we were at 5 per cent of our average revenue and we knew that we had to make major realignments in order to stay relevant not only in the COVID era but also in the post COVID world," points out Sudhir Langer, CEO, Raymond Consumer Care.
The FMCG company quickly forayed into categories that were the need of the hour - floor cleaners (Flor Safe), disinfectant sprays, handwash and sanitisers (under the Acti-Safe brand). "We were the fastest movers in terms of rejigging our portfolio. We launched sanitisers in 45 days, handwash in 60 days and floor cleaners in 75 days," claims Langer. The company partnered with third-party distribution companies such as Udaan and technology platforms such as Swiggy to make sure it reached consumers on time. "Retailers were short-stocked, so we got a natural foothold," he says. In fact, Raymond Consumer Care's new portfolio earned 40 per cent of its revenue in July and the share has been rising month on month. Langer hopes that by the end of October, the company would be able to hit its pre-COVD sales numbers.
The biggest lesson for the FMCG company during the pandemic has been agility to respond to changes. "When the pandemic struck, I told my team not to panic and instead be open to experimenting and believe in our business model." So, will the hygiene portfolio be the future growth driver for the FMCG company? Langer believes that when good times are back, its core categories fragrances and condoms will continue to have immense growth potential. He says that the penetration of fragrances in India is just 13 per cent, while condoms have a mere 7 per cent penetration and therefore a lot of growth potential. "We are in young categories which will help us double our revenue in the next 3-4 years."
Langer is also bullish about his premium shampoo and soaps business and says that the company would invest in that too. Going forward, he expects fragrance and condoms to contribute 70 per cent to the revenue, while the remaining 30 per cent would come from the shampoo, soaps and essentials business. "Our USP across all the categories would be fragrance and care," he says.