Realities of Emerging Markets: Some Lessons from Unilever's Strategy for Lifebuoy & Sunsilk in India


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Case Details:

Case Code : BSTR295
Case Length : 16 Pages
Period : 2001-2008
Pub Date : 2008
Teaching Note : Available
Organization : Hindustan Unilever Ltd.
Industry : Consumer Packaged Goods
Countries : India

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"Hindustan Unilever is one of the jewels in the company's emerging-market operations. It is India's biggest consumer-goods company and biggest advertiser. One of its strengths is its ability to cater to all segments of the population by adapting products and prices."1

- The Economist, in 2008.

Introduction

With the growth in the developed markets in North America and Western Europe approaching saturation, consumer packaged goods (CPG) companies turned their eyes toward developing and emerging markets to spur future growth. These markets accounted for 84% of the global population2 and were estimated to spend US$ 23 trillion dollars on consumer goods.3

However, the efforts of multinational companies (MNCs) from different industries to tap these markets had, by and large, resulted in failure. Analysts felt that this was because these MNCs had failed to understand the realities of operating in these markets.

Global CGP major Unilever Plc. (Unilever) was one of the companies that had had a headstart in many of these markets - Africa, China, India, and Latin America. For instance, the company had been operating in India since the early 1930s.

Its Indian subsidiary, Hindustan Unilever Ltd (HUL, earlier known as Hindustan Lever Ltd.), held a dominant position in the Indian CPG market with many big brands cutting across categories. It accounted for around 10% of Unilever's worldwide revenue.

Realities of Emerging Markets: Some Lessons from Unilever's Strategy for Lifebuoy & Sunsilk in India - Next Page>>


1] The Economist, "The Legacy that Got Left on the Shelf,"www.economist.com, January 31, 2008.

2] Gunjan Anurag and Kiran Murthi, "Dress Up or Born Again? The Developing and Emerging Market Opportunity: A CPG Context,"www.marketingprofs.com, July 25, 2006.

3] "The India Opportunity and Role of Social Innovation,"www.globalfoodchainpartnerships.org.

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