The soaring palm oil price in the international market till July 2013 forced the Indian soap industry to increase the price of its commodity across the board. Then when the price of palm oil fell by about 20% the soap manufacturers in India started offering promotions.
This increased the sales in 2013. Companies such as HUL, Godrej Consumer and Wipro Consumer were big gainers from the current round of promotions. Over the past two years, these large companies gained considerable market share from regional firms like Venus Soaps that were unable to keep prices low given the rising palm oil costs.
In the December quarter of 2013, HUL's Lux and Lifebuoy were India's leading soaps with a market share of 14.4% each, while Santoor had 8.8% and Dettol 7.8%, according to Nielsen data. Industry experts forecast that palm oil prices will stay near current levels for the next two quarters, which may prompt the Indian Soap industry to look up.