MUMBAI: After eight years of value share leadership, Tata Tea has ceded the top spot to Hindustan Unilever, despite Tata’s continued hold on the market by volume.

The competition remains close, however. According to the Economic Times, in 2017, HUL’s share grew 1.2 percentage points from 20% in 2016 to 21.2%.

Meanwhile, Tata’s share slipped from 21.4% to just 21%. In the three months ending January 2018 HUL beat Tata with its share of just over 21% compared to Tata’s 20.6%.

In volume the balance goes the other way as Tata maintains an all-India share of around 20%, ahead of HUL’s 17%.

A spokesperson for Tata defended the company’s “significant” volume leadership, adding that the firm is “the leader in volume market share as well as value in north & east zones — two of the biggest tea-consuming zones — despite aggressive price cuts by HUL.”

It is possible to attribute Unilever’s gains in India to its diverse strategies for different teas, with one brand focusing on its relationship and support of classical Indian Music, while Brooke Bond Red Label has received recognition in a number of awards for its inclusive image, epitomised in its 2015/16 campaign ‘6 Pack Band’ which highlighted the discrimination that India’s transgender community faces.

Meanwhile, its long-term ‘Winning in Many Indias’ structure was launched in September 2014 as a way to understand finer nuances about local consumers, provide a more granular understanding of the market and customise national brands to local tastes.

The battle continues however, as both companies have shown the same (0.4%) value share gains with Tata rising from 20.3% in October 2017 to 20.7% in January 2018. In the same period, HUL edged up from 21.2% to 21.6%.

Sourced from the Economic Times, WARC