Japanese razor products maker Kai sees surging sales in India amid pandemic
By Yukiko Amano
NEW DELHI, NNA – Leading Japanese razor products and nail clipper maker Kai Corp. is seeing a surge in sales in India, driven partly by the start of product sales at supermarkets last year in addition to small Kirana grocery stores.
Kai Manufacturing India Pvt. Ltd., its local unit, logged a 5.6-fold jump in sales in the financial year through March 2020, outpacing the 3.2-fold rise in fiscal 2018, Rajesh U. Pandya, managing director, said in a recent interview with NNA.
He expects revenue to double in the current business year despite the economic fallout from the COVID-19 outbreak.
The rapid sales increase was attributed to the launch of sales at 140 supermarkets under Reliance Industries Ltd., a local conglomerate, and the installation of production lines for export products at its plant, both in 2019.
Kai’s Indian affiliate, the fourth abroad established in 2012 after those in the United States, China and Vietnam, markets shaving razor items, nail clippers and knives at some 5,000 Kirana shops across the country. Revenue comes almost equally from the domestic and overseas markets, Pandya said, without disclosing specific figures.
Beauty razor products for bikini lines and faces have pushed up sales since their release two years ago as they have been hailed by women who do not have time to visit beauty salons, the managing director said.
As people shop more online amid the viral crisis, the company has also seen strong internet sales as it began selling those products on bigbasket, a local online grocery marketplace, this year in addition to Amazon.com.
Kai Manufacturing India reopened its factory in late May after a two-month halt due to a nationwide lockdown to contain the spread of the novel coronavirus, according to Pandya.
As the lockdown has been eased in phases, the company also reopened its KAI flagship shop in New Delhi on June 8.
The epidemic could create a chance for the Japanese group in the country as local people become more aware of health and hygiene issues and the importance of keeping nails clean, Pandya said. In India, people traditionally have the custom of eating with their fingers.
The Japanese group deems India as an export hub as their Indian products have a cost competitiveness thanks to low labor costs and an abundant workforce, compared to Chinese products on which additional U.S. tariffs have been imposed due to the U.S.-China trade row.
Kai’s Indian arm is also eyeing the Middle East and Africa as potential markets, Pandya added.