February 29, 2012

Ghari’s Success Against HUL and P&G

Ghari detergent, a product of Rohit Surfactants Private Limited (RSPL) has overtaken all the biggest multinational brands to become the second largest selling detergent in the Rs 45000-crore home and personal care (HPC) market in India.

In December 2010 there was only HUL’s Wheel detergent ahead of Ghari as the latter doubled its market share to 13.5% entering the Rs. 12000 crore market segment. The gap between both the detergent’s market shares was narrowing very fast. How could a small company like RSPL have achieved such a success beating all the brands that existed in the Indian market? I have done a small study on the strategies that RSPL implemented to gain the competitive advantage over other its competitors.

Ghari has been positioned at the bottom of the market in the economy segment and its main competitors are Wheel, Nirma and Fena. The market segmentation is shown below.

Ghari detergent has grabbed a market share of 17% which is second to the leading HUL 37% which includes Rin, Surf and Wheel. Third is P&G with 16% through its brands Tide and Ariel and fourth is Nirma with 8% of the market share.
The different strategies used by RSPL for this phenomenal success are:
1.       Achieve higher market penetration in existing markets and simultaneously exploring new markets
Most of the Ghari detergent sales come from Uttar Pradesh, which is also its birth place, Madhya Pradesh and Maharashtra. Recently it has started distribution in 8 more states, thus making its presence in a total of 20 states across the country. Entering new markets doesn’t mean that the existing markets are saturated as far as Ghari detergent is concerned. Even in the existing markets, the market share of the competitors was decreasing while the industry as a whole was growing.
2.       Providing Incentives to the Dealers
Ghari detergent provides a profit margin of 9% to its dealers, which is substantially lower than the standard 12-13% for premium brands, and at the same time, higher than the 6-7% being offered by the competitors in the same segment. Thus the company has been working towards creating a strong dealer base while keeping its prices low.
3.       Advertising Strategy
Ghari detergent has been very innovative in reaching the customers. With only 35 crores allotted for marketing and promotional activities it has used trains for initial campaigns to promote the product. Their hoardings were visible at all the railway crossings in Uttar Pradesh and West Bengal. RSPL has even promoted Ghari in roadside shows and magic shows in smaller towns where people are unlikely to see other brands. Recently it has sponsored a show Rakt Sambandh on NDTV Imagine. Also, instead of going with celebrity endorsement, the brand has left it on the consumers to try the product and decide if they like it, just as it claims in its campaign.
4.       Segmentation Strategy
For any successful marketing plan segmentation is the first key step. The organization must carefully craft its strategy to exploit the market potential. RSPL being a small firm could not afford expensive marketing strategy so it has segmented according to it. Generally market is segmented on the basis of demographic, geographic and psychographic variables but RSPL has mainly concentrated on geographic variable. The geographical split of Ghari detergent is shown below.


5.   Pricing Strategy
Keeping in mind its target market, i.e. the lower end of economy, the company has, as far as possible, avoided passing on the burden of rising raw material costs on to the customers.
6.       Restructuring and Optimization of Resources
Citigroup Venture Capital India (CVCI) approached RSPL in 2006 to buy around 14% stakes but the deal did not succeed due to valuation differences. This proved to be an eye-opener for RSPL as it immediately decided to go for introspection, restructured its business and optimized its resources.
7.       Regional Focus
Due to its financial inability to compete with HUL and P&G in other states, RSPL had launched Ghari detergent in Uttar Pradesh. It focused on developing an intense distribution network to reach the customers effectively. This is evident from the fact that out of 3000 dealers in India Ghari has 900 dealers in UP and 25 of them are in Kanpur alone. It also has 9 out of its 18 manufacturing units in UP.
These effective strategies implemented by RSPL for Ghari has made it to the second largest selling detergent in India. In the last fiscal, it has enjoyed a profit after tax of Rs. 190 Cr, more than many of its MNC peers. Further to overtake Wheel the challenge that RSPL should now be concentrating is on the spread in South and Western parts of India and build a distribution network as strong as HUL’s.

The writer of this article, T V Dheeraj Vishnu is a PGP student of Indian Institute of Management, Raipur. He has done his B.Tech in Electrical and Electronics Engineering from Nalla Malla Reddy Engineering College, Hyderabad and can be reached at pgp11039.dheeraj@iimraipur.ac.in or at +91-7587208639.


  1. Ghari Distribution set up is the key to beat competitors like P&G &HUL. But how long will it sustain depends on Good Future distribution set up Of P&G and HUL