Nivea vs Himalaya
Both the companies enjoy good sales of skin care and hair care products in the region. But how do they match up against each other?
According to a recent press release, the beauty sector in the Middle East is growing at 12 percent every year and is set to be worth over $10 billion per annum soon. The average purchase-estimates of beauty products in the region reach $350 per head.
Toiletry brands such as Nivea and Himalaya are hoping to cash in on those numbers. While Nivea, part of the Beiersdorf group, is based in Germany, the Himalaya Drug Company is based in India. Both are available across the world, and have established themselves in the Middle East market.
The first Nivea product was made in 1911 by Oscar Troplowitz of the Beiersdorf company. He used ‘Eucerit’, a water-in-oil emulsifier made for the medical field, as the base for a new kind of cosmetic cream. Troplowitz called his cream ‘Nivea’, derived from the Latin words niveus /nivea /niveum, meaning snow white.
The company has since expanded its product range to include hair care, powders, soap, shaving products and deodorants among others.
Himalaya, however, did not start out as a cosmetic company. The Himalaya Drug Company was founded in 1930 by Mohammad Manal in Dehradun, India, to offer new Ayurvedic drugs and therapies.
The family-owned pharmaceutical company has expanded since then, and went on to introduce Himalaya Herbals, a range of natural herbal personal care products including creams, shampoos, hair-gels and dental creams in 1999.
The company’s products are now sold in 76 countries.
While Nivea entered the Middle East market more than 40 years ago, Himalaya set up shop in the region in 2000. Both have grown exponentially.
In 2007, Beiersdorf Middle East posted a 47 percent net sales growth compared to 2006. This, according to the company, is its best result since it started operations in the region. Qatar posted the highest individual country result with more than 69 percent sales growth.
Himalaya has also grown by 65-70 percent since it started operations in the Middle East. And the company now distributes its products in every country of the region through local distributors.
“We do face stiff competition in the region because you get products here from across the world,” says Prashant Agarwal, Himalaya’s marketing manager in the region. “But we are an herbal personal care company and we have been able to build our credibility in the sector.”
The company says its face washes and facemasks are the market leaders in the UAE, and its face-scrub are within the top three brands in the market. Nivea meanwhile claims to have the top position in the mid-priced color cosmetics sector, with Nivea Beaute having a market share of 46 percent in the region (as of 2007).
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