P&G takes nuanced approach in China

25 November 2009

BEIJING: Procter & Gamble, the consumer goods giant, is taking a nuanced approach in China, mixing new product launches with in-store activity and forging closer ties with retailers.

As previously reported, the world's biggest advertiser is currently seeking to heighten its presence in emerging markets, and increase consumption levels in key areas such as China.

The world's most populous nation was the Cincinnati-based firm's second biggest market by volume sales for last year as a whole, and its fourth largest market by revenue during the same period.

Henry Karamanoukian, general manager of customer business development for P&G China, said "last year was good. We had double-digit growth in sales revenues, and a single-digit gain in volume."

"The business has been growing very nicely in China this year," he added, with the rate of expansion having improved on the total recorded in 2008.

More specifically, he suggested that the progress the company is making in the rapidly-developing economy is "mainly because of innovation."

One major recent initiative it has launched in China is the Global Data Synchronization Program, which provides statistics about the latest sales trends observable among shoppers.

This system also allows retailers such as Carrefour to use a range of tools in order to access real-time information about availability levels across P&G's range.

As a result, Karamanoukian argued, "we cut inventory by 30% and increased availability of products on the shelves. It's not a big investment, but it is significant because the data for P&G and the retailers are 100% connected by codes."

Product launches have formed another key element of the multinational organisation's strategy, with new introductions in 2009 including Camay soap, which is targeted at middle class shoppers.

Crest Pro-Health, the toothpaste, and Olay Pro X, the anti-ageing lotion, have also been added to its stable in the premium tier.

In an effort to boost overall brand awareness levels, the owner of Gillette and Duracell has also established "Living Artist" booths in a number of major retail outlets across China.

These stands contain offerings from across its portfolio, and aim to encourage consumers to choose P&G brands in a variety of categories.

Data sourced from China Daily/People's Daily; additional content by Warc staff