Hindustan Unilever regains value leadership in tea

 10 April, 2018


Hindustan Unilever has recovered value leadership in tea from Tata Global Beverages after eight long years. Tata Global, however, continues to lead the market in volumes.

In 2017, HUL’s share in tea inched up to 21.2 per cent from 20 per cent in 2016, while Tata Global’s share slipped to 21 per cent from 21.4 per cent in the same period, said industry sources quoting Nielsen data In the three months ended January 2018, HUL had a higher share of a little over 21 per cent as compared to Tata Global’s 20.6 per cent share. In volumes, however, Tata Global’s all-India share of about 20 per cent is ahead of HUL’s 17 per cent. Value is based on sales while volume is the total quantum sold.

HUL tea business continues to deliver double-digit growth and has gained market leadership in this category at the end of last year.

A multi-pronged strategy appears to have worked for HUL in clawing back value leadership in tea. While premium brand Brooke Bond Taj Mahal continues to promote Indian classical music, HUL’s flagship brand Brooke Bond Red Label has been on an inclusiveness drive. It has conducted bold social experiments and sponsored India’s first transgender music band.

But Tata Global retains a clear volume leadership at the all-India level “by a significant margin. In terms of value market share too, it is very close to HUL. Tata Global is the leader in volume market share as well as value in north & east zones — two of the biggest tea-consuming zones — despite aggressive price cuts by HUL. In west zone, Tata Global is at a similar level to HUL in both volume and value market share.


With both HUL and Tata Global becoming aggressive on the marketing front, it could be a close battle for leadership. Over the last four months, Tata Global has shown gains in value market share (20.3 per cent in October 2017 to 20.7 per cent in January 2018). During this period, HUL’s share also inched up from 21.2 per cent to 21.6 per cent.

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