Hindustan Unilever (HUL) owned detergent brand, Surf Excel, became the first Indian home and personal care brand to cross one billion dollars in annual sales in 2022, reported Economic Times (ET). With a total sales of Rs 8,200 crore, it also HUL's first brand to reach the milestone. HUL's second largest brand is Brooke Bond with annual sales of Rs 5,000 crore.
Deepak Subramanian, executive director of home care at HUL, says that this was made possible due to the "premiumisation" of the segment using liquid detergents and fabric conditioners.
Subramanian further added that marketing and innovation had a big role to play in helping Surf Excel reach the milestone.
"So, we have taken purpose, performance and innovation and then really de-averaged it through our winning in many India strategy," he told ET.
Apart from Surf Excel, HUL also has two other detergent care brands, Rin and Sunlight. In all, these have a 43 percent share of India's detergent market. This is the highest share HUL has grabbed in over a decade.
Moreover, the sales of Surf Excel have jumped 32 percent despite inflation mainly due to the increasing preference for the Rs 10 packets.
HUL has been in the Indian market for over six decades. In 1985, it was removed from the top spot by homegrown detergent brand Nirma. In response, HUL launched Wheel detergent. Later in 2012, Ghari took the top spot.
However, for the past three years, Surf Excel has been the segment leader in India.
Much of its popularity can also be attributed to its advertising as Subramanian points out. Surf Excel has been advocating that soiling one's clothes is good if it is for a good cause for over a decade. Its “Daag Acche Hain” (dirt is good) proposition has struck a chord with consumers creating memorable ads with its agency partner Lowe Lintas.
The brand has also strived to create a bigger impact by partnering with mothers and young children to promote the government’s cleanliness drive, "Swachh Bharat Abhiyaan".