While the Coronavirus pandemic has ravaged nations across the globe, it has also brought people closer to their traditional ways of living and eating. In India, people have started looking towards Ayurveda as one of the ways to build natural immunity. Many ayurvedic firms have ramped up their portfolios and sales of Ayurvedic products have gathered much steam in the last one and a half years. In an exclusive conversation with the Financial Express Online Sanchit Sharma, Founder & Director, Ayouthveda talked about Ayurveda’s comeback, their growth story and much more. Excerpts:
Do you think because of the coronavirus pandemic, the golden days of Ayurveda are back?
Absolutely, the pandemic has made people realize the enormous value of Ayurveda and the extent of its impact in keeping all of us healthy. People have now fully adopted Ayurveda in their daily lifestyles and have understood that Ayurveda is one of the saviours of their life, this trend can be observed by noticing the penetration of herbal products into people’s homes in midst of pandemic.
How has Ayurveda industry fared in the last one year compared to say 2019?
The Ayurveda industry has grown exponentially owing to the rise in popularity & consumption of health and wellness products, now you can see every company has its own range of immunity boosters. This boost in sales & consumption has put Ayurveda industry in double digit growth CAGR of 15% which is expected to continue till 2026
Due to the covid-19 wave, do you think people have become receptive towards ayurvedic and other organic products?
I think Ayurveda has got a meaning to its definition in this pandemic, it has truly become a “way of life” for all individuals, people have become receptive towards Ayurveda & organic products as they have realised that healthier and better products based on concepts of Ayurveda can be available to them in easy to use form and they need not put any efforts in form of processing any of the ingredients on their own. Moreover the pandemic has resulted in a change in consumer lifestyles, with an increased focus on preventive healthcare remedies leading to a surge in demand for immunity-positioned supplements, including Ayurvedic medicines and products.
Considering Ayouthveda has been launched in 2020 during the pandemic, how has the brand performed in the last one year?
Ayouthveda has done exceedingly well in FY 2020-21 owing to robust revenue contribution from all of its categories, we beat our estimates by over 2 crores with top line revenue of Rs. 12 crores against target objective of Rs. 10 crores. Our Quarter on Quarter (QoQ) growth has been 30% with a 22% return customer rate in the first year of our operations.
At a time when businesses were hit hard due to the pandemic, how did you manage to stay relevant in the market?
As soon as the country went into lockdown we started to work on our emergent strategy, we knew that companies which relied on 60-70% on handful of products will be hit much harder by the pandemic hence we brought a wide range of category & product mix after analysing the need of the market for e.g. our R&D wing pivoted from beauty centric product approach to beauty with hygiene approach to launch products like Intimate hygiene wash for women, Exclusive all natural Handmade soaps, Gentlemen pH wash, Fruit & vegetable wash, unique herbal handwash etc. we also increased our time to market speed exponentially which helped us in reducing time costs and increasing revenues.
With respect to the 3 decade legacy of AIMIL, how much has it has benefited when you were planning to launch Ayouthveda?
Aimil’s legacy has been a goodwill asset for us and its brand image has helped us in gaining the trust of our customers for their first purchase. The quality driven product concept of Aimil has always been an inspiration for us. And quality products are one of the most core differentiators in this segment.
How is Ayouthveda different from other Ayurvedic personal care brands?
Ayouthveda is an amalgam of Modern science with Traditional Ayurveda rituals in a unique way that is being liked by today’s youth. Our mission is to help people switch from synthetic & semi-synthetic products to harsh chemical free products. We’ve been completely transparent in terms of product’s ingredients and even excipients, providing authentic Ayurveda experience to our customers because of our own world class manufacturing facility which is not available to other brands making them rely on outsourcing which can affect quality in a major way. Transparency is also important as we believe that today’s youth have a right to know everything that goes in the product he or she uses and also deserves safe & effective solutions for their skin health management
What kind of marketing strategies did you adopt for a launch during the pandemic?
We had worked on all critical success factors of a brand launch which involved building a digital marketing team to promote products of all social media platforms. A strong offline marketing team was also put in place to generate demand at retail stores, one unique promotional tactic which we applied was placement of beauty advisors at point of sales (POS), this was a result of right talent hiring strategy involving recruitment of the laid off employees from other companies. We capitalized on our strong distribution channel to ensure product availability in maximum cities. Also promotion of problem solving products like Anti Hairfall tonic for Hairfall, Acne enemy range for Acne helped us to fulfill the need of the market in the beauty segment.
Considering you might have started the research 1.5 to 2 years before the launch, did the pandemic result in any change in the brand’s approach?
Although we started R&D in 2015, where my team and I played an active role in the development of all products, the pandemic has made us more adaptable & helped us in pivoting to a more diverse category of hygiene. With a decline in disposable incomes & increasing inflation, customers now want “affordable luxury” in response to their revenge shopping behaviour and Ayouthveda with its mass market luxury products is well positioned in the current scenario.
What are your future plans/share your roadmap to the 100 crore club?
This target will be achieved in a phased manner, in FY 2021-22 we are aiming for Rs. 40 crores and in FY 2022-23 we are expecting Rs. 100 crores in our top line. To achieve this we will go full throttle in our expansion by opening more than 100 retail stores all over the country, increasing the number of beauty advisors, sales officers & by building a diverse range of products. Currently we are present in the United Kingdom, from there we will expand to the whole European Union (EU).
Post-Covid, how much do you see Ayurveda market growing in the next 3 years?
Indian consumers are gradually realizing the real benefit of Ayurveda, especially personal care products and have started switching from harsh chemicals products to safe products. This demand along with the growing discretionary spending can definitely help Ayurveda to become $ 15 billion industry two years earlier i.e. in 2023.