Wednesday, April 04, 2012

Fast moving consumer goods making headway

Title: Fast moving consumer goods making headway

Published in The HINDU Opportunities on April, 4th, 2012

Online Link to the article:

With India being one of the fastest developing world economic countries, as a result of higher disposable incomes and a middle class that is growing to the next level along with a rural subset that is also expanding to a higher level, the consumer goods companies are relishing huge profits. Both domestic and international companies are investing in the various markets and categories that are available in this sector. The fast moving consumer goods (FMCG) sector is at its peak.

Commodities that are sold quickly at low prices are referred to as fast moving consumer goods. Often, these goods have an expiry period and have to be replaced or used within the lifetime of the product. Examples of such fast moving consumer goods include a vast range of items such as perishable food and grocery items, hair and skin care products, household items, packaged goods, plastic and paper products and medical products. Consumer electronic items such as cell phones, digital cameras, MP3 players and computers also fall under this category.

Among the various categories, food and grocery make up the largest segment of this sector (almost 70%) followed by the personal and beauty care market which continue to grow at a rapid pace. There are numerous job opportunities available in this sector. Here is a look at the employment prospects in this sector.

Skill sets

A basic college degree or a certification with courses in retail, logistics, store operations, marketing and sales is helpful to get into this industry. Experience is preferred in comparison to educational qualification in this sector. The experience can be from working at a store doing sales or working on the operations side of consumer companies. The top qualities required to be successful in this field are strong sales skills, good perception and insight, negotiation abilities and practical knowledge handling daily issues that come up with customers. Having good customer service skills, patience in dealing with a range of customer personalities along with the ability to communicate in several languages, including being familiar with the local dialect is helpful.


A hierarchy of roles are available in this sector that span from an entry level store associate to a senior executive. Positions in store operations, billing and accounting, floor operations, sales and marketing, product management, logistics and retail are in regular demand. Higher level and specialised roles such as Planning and Analysis, Competitor and Market Analysts, Door-to-door sales and direct marketing, Product Management and Territory Sales, Branding and Market Strategy are also available to management graduates.

Core unique roles in retail and food sector for experienced people who come from food and beverage companies such as food technologists, laboratory technicians, nutritionists, sensory technicians and other consumer goods companies with specialised knowledge about the workings of that industry are also available.

Lastly, sales roles are the most common positions that are available in this sector. Sales positions can include direct sales, sales of goods from wholesale to retail outlets and stores, door-to-door sales representatives and online sales. Some jobs also pay a commission based on the number of sales an employee makes and this depends on the industry, as well. On-the-job training is also provided for sales personnel so that they can become acquainted with the products they are selling.

Employment potential

According to a Booz and Company study for the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the fast moving consumer goods industry is expected to be worth Rs.400,000 crore by 2020. With the upsurge in per capita household income and increase in consumption of certain types of consumer goods from the rural population, the growth prospects in this sector continue at an increased pace. The Indian FMCG sector is the fourth largest sector in the economy and with the competitive multinationals entering this domain along with sustained demand from local consumer goods companies, the needs and demands of the Indian population are consistently mounting thereby making this one of the country's aggressively growing sector.

The forecasts suggest that the sector may produce up to three million jobs by 2015.

Key players

Multinationals like Hindustan Unilever Ltd., Indian Tobacco Company (ITC), Cadbury India, Nestle India, Colgate Palmolive, Dabur India, Britannia Industries, Marico Industries have dominated the sector for years. Domestic and regional companies like Godrej (for toilet soaps and hair dyes), Tatas (for cosmetics and edible oils), Amul (for milk products, ice creams) have also marked their presence in this sector. With increasing awareness among the younger population to go with brand names, several international players like Calvin Klein, Tommy Hilfiger, Revlon and L'Oreal have also entered the Indian market. So, if you have a fascination for the competitive world of fast moving consumer goods, the potential for advancement, profit and career growth is highly favourable.

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