Smaller, local brands are often outperforming big market leaders in lockdown India, as consumers go for what is available rather than confining themselves to brands they know and trust. 

Retailers say smaller brands have outpaced sales of their larger rivals in almost a dozen key categories. The easier availability of kirana stores and shorter supply chains appear to be the keys to success, reports Brand Equity.

Brand Equity quotes Nielsen data showing, for example, that the market share of the top three brands selling hand sanitizer fell from 85% in January and February to just 39% in March, when 152 new brands came to market. The top three rice brands, similarly, saw a decline in market share, from 72% in February to 64% in March.

“Local brands have a more local supply chain – that makes it easier for them to manage disruptions in times like these,” Abheek Singhi, senior partner and managing director at The Boston Consulting Group, said.

“I believe it is not a matter of less or more trusted choice, but the fact that there was no choice in some cases. Hence, availability trumped everything else,” he added. 

Distribution, a focus on key products, and an efficient supply chain seem to be vital during the current constraints in India.

PC Musthafa, co-founder and CEO of iD Fresh Food, told Brand Equity, “What worked for us is that we own our entire supply chain and have a robust distribution network. One of the key decisions we made during the lockdown was to scale down the operations and provide only the essential products, like idli dosa batter, chapati, parotta, paneer, etc. in all markets,” 

Start-ups and smaller brands have in many cases also proved more nimble when it comes to adapting operations to the lockdown’s new normal.

Food brand Soulfull, owned by Kottaram Agro Foods, has both deployed tech efficiently and applied flexibility to work around problems, MD and CEO of Kottaram Agro Foods, Prashant Parameswaran, told Brand Equity.

“As a start-up, we do not have regional HR teams for every city/state and our leaders from the sales team moved into being the CEOs for the region and took on the spot decisions,” Parameswaran said.

“Our sales team not only collected orders via phone or with our app but also ensured delivery by taking their vehicles or distributor vehicles. We had set ourselves into a war-zone mentality,” he added.

Sourced from Brand Equity