Detergent Wars in India

Case Studies | Case Study in Business, Management, Operations, Strategy, Case Study

ICMR HOME | Case Studies Collection

Case Details:

Case Code : MKTA007
Case Length : 21 Pages
Period : 1970-2004
Pub Date : 2004
Teaching Note :Not Available
Organization : Hindustan Lever Limited (HLL), Unilever, Procter & Gamble (P&G), Nirma
Industry : Fast moving Consumer Goods, FMCG
Countries : India

To download Detergent Wars in India case study (Case Code: MKTA007) click on the button below, and select the case from the list of available cases:

Marketing Case Studies | Case Study


For delivery in electronic format: Rs. 500;
For delivery through courier (within India): Rs. 500 + Rs. 25 for Shipping & Handling Charges

Marketing Case Studies Collection
Marketing Communications Short Case Studies
View Detailed Pricing Info
How To Order This Case
Business Case Studies
Case Studies by Area
Case Studies by Industry
Case Studies by Company

Please note:

This case study was compiled from published sources, and is intended to be used as a basis for class discussion. It is not intended to illustrate either effective or ineffective handling of a management situation. Nor is it a primary information source.

<< Previous

We recognise the challenge of intensified competition from both low-priced players as well as international companies. Most recently, P&G has reduced prices and increased aggression in laundry. Our response, when faced with such challenges, will be to face them 'unblinkingly,' with the level of investment required to both, protect and grow our market positions.

- M. S. Banga, Non-Executive Chairman, HLL1


On the 10th of March 2004, FMCG major Hindustan Lever Ltd. (HLL), the Indian subsidiary of Unilever, convened an urgent meeting of its dealers. HLL wanted to discuss how to retain the volumes and market shares in its fabric wash business in view of the price war, which Procter & Gamble (P&G) had unleashed.

In the first week of March 2004, P&G India had drastically slashed the prices of its detergents - Ariel and Tide. P&G had reduced the price of a 500 gram pack of Ariel from Rs 70 to Rs 50 - a drop of 28 % and the price of a 500 gram pack of Tide from Rs 43 to Rs 23 - a fall of 45 %. P&G's detergents were expected to reach customers across India within a week of announcement of the price cuts. Within two days, in swift retaliation, HLL slashed the price of its premium brand Surf Excel from Rs 70 to Rs 50 and the price of Surf Excel Blue from Rs 50 to Rs 38 for 500 grams. HLL tried to ensure that the products reached the retail shelves within a day or two of HLL's announcement, thus countering P&G's first mover advantage.

P&G and HLL were not the only major players in the Indian detergent market. Henkel and Nirma were also becoming very aggressive. With a shakeout looking imminent, analysts wondered who would emerge the winner in the long run.

Background Note

The Indian Detergent Market

The Indian fabric wash products market was a highly fragmented one. There was a sizeable unorganized sector. Of the 23 lakh-tonne market, laundry soaps and bars made from vegetable oils accounted for around seven lakh tonnes with synthetic detergents making up the rest.

Detergent Wars in India - Next Page>>

1] Ravi Ananthanarayanan, "Price war may not wash with veteran HLL,", 5th March 2004.


Case Studies Links:- Case Studies, Short Case Studies, Simplified Case Studies.

Other Case Studies:- Multimedia Case Studies, Cases in Other Languages.

Business Reports Link:- Business Reports.

Books:- Textbooks, Work Books, Case Study Volumes.