The soap manufacturing industry is one of the oldest industries operating in the FMCG sector in India, and accounts for more than 50% of the consumer goods sector. The soap and industry covers laundry and toilet soaps, in the form of liquid, powder, and bar. Bar soaps can be classified into three sections—premium, popular, and economic.
Around 50% of soaps produced in India are sold in rural markets. Currently, there are around 5 Million retail outlets in India which sell soaps, out of which 3.75 Million operate in rural areas.
Herbal soap is the fastest growing category in the soap market in India. Margo and Medimix dominate the herbal and medicinal soap segment. Government initiatives like Swachh Bharat Mission, which promotes health and hygiene, has led to the growth of the soap manufacturing industry. The United Arab Emirates (UAE), Nepal, and the United States of America (U.S.A.) were the top three export destinations of soaps.
The soap market in India is segmented based on brands, (Lux, Dove, Pears, Santoor, etc.), category (beauty soaps, health soaps, and others), and players operating in the market (Hindustan Unilever, ITC, Wipro, and others). The beauty soaps segment has a market share of about 50%, followed by the health soaps segment. Popular beauty soap brands operating in the market are Lux, Dove, Pears, Santoor, and Vivel.
Key growth factors
Increased internet penetration will help rural consumers to explore the market and avail offers online. Growing awareness about sanitation and increasing disposable income in rural India are key drivers for the growth of the soap market.