‘Punches above its weight’: Swisse optimistic of Sri Lanka entry success despite turmoil

By Tingmin Koe contact

- Last updated on GMT

Swisse has entered the Sri Lankan market. ©H&H Group
Swisse has entered the Sri Lankan market. ©H&H Group

Related tags: swisse, H&H Group, Sri lanka

Swisse has recently entered the Sri Lankan market, highlighting that it is “a market that has always punched above its weight”, despite the country facing one of its worst economic and political crises.

The H&H Group brand is selling in Sri Lanka via health and beauty omnichannel retail chain Healthguard – a subsidiary of Sunshine Healthcare, which is also the healthcare arm of the Sunshine Holdings conglomerate which operates across agriculture, FMCG, and renewable energy.

The exclusive partnership will see Swisse’s products being sold in all Healthguard outlets across the country’s western province and Healthguard’s e-commerce site. The brand also plans to make its products available on third party e-commerce website Daraz and ride-hailing services PickMe and Uber.

The men’s and women’s multivitamins as well as products from the beauty-from-within range will be the focus for this market.

Some of the products that can be found on Healthguard online include Hair Nutrition for Men, Beauty Hair Skin Nails +, Collagen Glow, multivitamins, probiotics, and fish oil.

Sri Lanka has been identified as a regional opportunity for market expansion since Swisse started selling its products online in India in 2020.

“Sri Lanka is the first of those regional opportunities. It’s a market that has always ‘punched above its weight’ in many respects.

“The digital revolution that started in India years ago has now spilled over to Sri Lanka. There’s a large millennial population that are spending more time on social media and they are proactively investing in their health and actively seeking out aspirational brands,” ​Akash Bedi, chief strategy and operations officer at H&H Group told NutraIngredients-Asia.

In particular, the brand will be targeting consumers who are willing to pay a premium for quality products, Bedi said.

He added that the country has a VMS market size of US$280m, with 16 per cent CAGR and there was a high demand for overseas brands and high-quality products.

Some of the trending categories include multivitamins, magnesium, zinc, fish oil, vitamin C, D, biotin, collagen, and herbal supplements.

“Consumers are also switching from personal beauty care to beauty supplements, which is a category that Swisse has a strategic advantage in,” ​Bedi said.

The beauty-from-within category was also identified as one of the five key areas​ for next gen products innovation by H&H Group.

Some of Swisse’s newest beauty-from-within products include Vegan Collagen Builder which contains biotin, nicotinamide, vitamin C, E, calcium etc.

Not a recent decision

Bedi also said that the entry into Sri Lanka was not a recent one, as the brand has been trialling the market for a period of time.

“We have been operating in the market through trials for quite some time now. We also see this entry as a long-term opportunity and the underlying trends around health and wellness still exist despite the unrest,” ​he said.

Moving forward, the plan is to expand via modern trade pharmacies and other retail channels.

Sri Lanka is currently facing soaring inflation caused by a drop in foreign exchange reserves and rising debt. Fuel, food, medicines shortages and power cuts have also plagued the country as a result. 

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