NEW DELHI: GlaxoSmithKline, the healthcare firm, is hoping to strengthen its consumer products arm in India, after the country delivered the most growth for this aspect of its operations worldwide last year.

Jayant Singh, executive vice president, marketing, at GlaxoSmithKline Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH) told the Times of India that its results in India had been especially strong.

"India contributed most to GSKCH's global growth in 2012," he said.

The oral healthcare category appears especially promising, with sales of Sensodyne toothpaste, for example, exceeding Rs 100 crore having only been launched in January 2011.

In less than two years the brand has overtaken rival Colgate Sensitive in the sensitive toothpaste segment in modern retail outlets and pharmacies and is now seeking wider distribution.

"Colgate has a head start in groceries," said Singh, adding "our aim is to be present in any outlet selling toothpastes. It is just a matter of time now."

The original Sensodyne has been joined by two variants, Rapid Relief and Repair & Protect, and the latest Nielsen data suggests that GSKCH now has a 26% share of the sensitivity segment of the toothpaste market, compared to Colgate's 25%.

GSKCH has further built its presence in the sensitive oral healthcare segment with the launch of Parodontax, a gum care toothpaste, including a campaign across print, television and outdoor platforms and a dentist engagement programme.

"Gum bleeding is a concern that plagues a majority of the Indian population; however, seldom do sufferers recognize it as a serious condition and hence keep it untreated," noted Singh.

Analysts have suggested that future GSKCH product launches in this category could include mouthwashes and toothbrushes.

The other sector the company is looking at seriously is breakfast, with Singh observing that product extensions for Horlicks were being considered.

"We could expand into the ready-to-drink category for Horlicks or even snacks and muesli...but that is speculative right now. But we are already into the category and now we are only looking at how to expand," he said.

Data sourced from Times of India, Business Standard, India Infoline; additional content by Warc staff