India: Richa Singh, CEO and founder of Niine Menstrual Hygiene products, has led the movement of female health and hygiene in India, to offer reasonable sanitary napkins and make them available to the mass. In India, 82% of female population is predominantly engaging in unhygienic practices; including rags, hay, old cloth, and sometimes even ash that might lead to serious health issues. Thus, the availability of cheap sanitary napkins as compared to the costly ones, sold by global giants will have a positive impact on the sanitary napkin market in India.
The Niine Movement was launched as an audacious five-year initiative to engage and educate people of all genders and ages to tackle the taboos and stigma attached to menstruation and to ensure every girl and woman achieves their full potential by managing their period hygienically.
Richa Singh, who previously worked in companies like Procter & Gamble, Coca-Cola and Johnson & Johnson, joined as CEO and Founder of Niine Menstrual Hygiene Products after working closely with social entrepreneurs. The strategy that the company adopted is offering lowest price sanitary napkin to Indian customers. The retail cost of the product starts from INR 25 onwards for a pack and INR 7 for one sanitary pad, which has forced the major players to cut their product price as well. The issue regarding the problem of using sanitary napkins is aggravated by the expensive cost of sanitary pads, which is often not affordable for women in most of the rural communities, coupled with innate taboos and stigma around female menstruation prevalent across the country. According to Richa Singh, through their work “in distributing high quality sanitary pads at an affordable cost,” the company “will make them more available and help to break down the taboos that surround menstruation, by being able to discuss them in the open.” This is a strong move for company working for this category of product.
According to BlueWeave Consulting, India has a large untapped market for sanitary napkins, since a major chunk of menstruating women population still don’t use napkins mainly due to its high cost. However, increasing awareness regarding female health and hygiene, owing to rising penetration of mobile phones and media advertisements, female population of rural India is also inclining towards the use of sanitary napkins. Thus, the movement of Niine can potentially tap the consumer demand, due to cheap product offerings, which can be observed in their strong financial performance as compared to global leaders offering the same product. According to the findings of Niine, In India there are around 35.5 crore menstruating women and girls, 71% of these women have no knowledge regarding menstruation before their first period, 82% of these women use alternative products, including old cloth, sand, rags or ash and only 18% of menstruating population use sanitary napkins. Moreover, around 6.3 crore adolescent girls don’t have toilet facilities in their home and 88% of these girls are unaware of health implications that could possibly occur due to poor menstrual hygiene. Thus, use of sanitary napkins offered at reasonable price, coupled with proper education to women can significantly drive the sanitary napkin demand in Indian market.