Calvin Klein, the international designer brand, is entering India with its complete range of perfumes and eau de toilettes for men and women.
The fragrances will be imported and marketed by Hindustan Lever Ltd and will be available in 100 ml and 50 ml bottles for women and in 100 ml bottles for men. The launch will commence in the first week of December 1999, beginning with Mumbai and Delhi, followed by Calcutta, Chennai and Bangalore.
At a press conference held on 25 November, HLL unveiled the range, which includes Obsession, Eternity, Escape, Contradiction, 'cK' one and 'cK be'. The last two are unisex fragrances and will be available in splash and spray formats. At prices ranging between Rs 1,600 and Rs 2,295, the range automatically targets the premium end of the market. "We are going for globally competitive pricing for the range," said Harish Manwani, head of personal products, HLL.
Calvin Klein Cosmetics Company, a subsidiary of Unilever, is the New York-based manufacturer of the fragrances. Its marketing services manager, Valerie Bushell, currently in India for the launch, said, "Calvin Klein Cosmetics is globally recognised for creating fragrances that capture the essence of modern men and women."
Anil Chopra, head of speciality business, HLL, said at the unveiling, "The launch marks our foray into the fast growing prestige segment. Our aim is to make Calvin Klein the number one premium fragrance brand in India. We are investing heavily at retail points to create the whole experience of fragrances. At the time we launch, we are going for an aggressive advertising campaign across print, television and outdoor media."
Retail stores identified in Mumbai include Shoppers' Stop, the Akbarally's chain, KBN, Eternia, Benzer, Vama, Asiatic, Sheetal, and, surprisingly, Planet M. Contradiction will also be available through Aviance Beauty Solutions, HLL's recently introduced personal selling system that works on a networking format.
Queried on what kind of consumer numbers Calvin Klein can possibly look at in India, Mr Chopra responded, "There are 6 lakh households in India with incomes of over Rs 10 lakh per annum. Disposable incomes are high here. And our research indicates that there is a change in mindset emerging towards aspirational and lifestyle products, a movement that's happening very fast."
And what of brand awareness, so essential for willingness to spend on premium, aspirational products? "Awareness of Calvin Klein as a brand is good in India, but appreciation of individual brands is missing. That is what we will create," Mr Chopra says.
People have been buying Calvin Klein fragrances in the grey market in India so far. Will globally competitive pricing be enough to take care of that?
HLL feels that the grey market flourishes when products are not officially allowed to be imported into the country. Besides, though prices in the grey market are prone to swings, consumers are always worried about whether they are picking up the authentic stuff. As Calvin Klein fragrances are made available across the market, the tendency to head towards the grey channels should come down, the company believes.
HLL had no comments on when Calvin Klein's other product ranges would be launched in India. Right now, the company is talking fragrances and prefers to keep it there.