Chennai: What is common between a Re 1 desi shampoo sachet and the 'premium quality' shampoo and conditioner Satinique that is sold for Rs 329 (US $7) by Amway India Enterprises?
Both are detergent-based and do not specify the content composition on their respective labels. While the attitude of Indian companies is hardly surprising, it is strange to note that Amway India (www.amway-in.com), a wholly-owned subsidiary of Amway Corp, USA, too, adopts the same practice. As a result, customers are kept in the dark as to what actually goes inside the products manufactured by three small- and medium-scale contract manufacturers of Amway India.
(Amway India's rival, Oriflame International, however, adopts a better business practice of printing the ingredients list on its products.)
Amway India managing director and chief executive officer William S Pinckney, who is the new head of Indian Direct Sellers' Association, says his company does not measure its market-share in the Rs 1,800-crore cosmetic market.
Nor do independent agencies like ORG take the sales figures of direct sellers in computing the total market-size and individual companies' share in it. ORG bases its market research of the products that are on the retailers' shelves, and it is unable to include the figures given out by companies like Amway India, Oriflame International and others.
''Never before have I been asked by the Indian press for tonnage figures and category-wise value and volume figures,'' Pinckney reacts when queried about the figures to assess the impact Amway India has created in the premium toiletries and cosmetics segment. ''If you go by the turnover figure alone, we figure in the top rung.''
According to Pinckney, Amway India clocked a turnover of Rs 553 crore for the financial year ended September 2001 and is targeting a figure of Rs 700 crore for the current year. ''It's a matter of trust - you can either believe our words or crosscheck our turnover figures with the income tax returns filed by our company.''
Amway India plans to increase its distribution centres by another 14 before September 2002 to cover around 500 cities. At present it has 41 offices all over India. ''Tamil Nadu has emerged as a top market for us and we intend to open three more offices there, taking the total to five in the state,'' says Pinckney.
From a six-product company in 1998, Amway India today sells 33 products through 3 lakh distributors. ''We are present in four categories - personal-care, homecare, nutrition and cosmetics. We are in the process of adding more products in the existing range and as well as expanding the product categories itself,'' says Pinckney.
Amway India recently launched the Persona talc after launching a toothbrush under the same brand name. ''We will soon introduce a toothbrush, soap and other products for children under the Persona brand,'' he sums up.
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