Five years ago, a score of executives from one of the world’s largest consumer products manufacturers made 300 visits to rural India in a bid to develop a new razor for consumers in the developing market.
Watching how men shaved in small Indian villages gave the executives the guidance they needed to create Procter & Gamble‘s (PG) Gillette Guard, which hit retail locations in India three years ago. The product was an immediate hit and now accounts for about two-thirds of all razors sold in the country, the Associated Press notes.
The executives were particularly inspired by watching one man, who shaved without electricity, running water or a mirror, while seated on the floor of his small home.
Developing products geared to local conditions, instead of simply repackaging products made for the U.S. market, has helped P&G dramatically increase the percentage of its annual revenue generated in emerging markets.
The Indian market is a strong focus for consumer products makers. The Indian economy is growing at 3.2% annually, though poverty remains widespread. India is home to about 1.24 billion people.
Last month, P&G reduced the number of diapers in contained in packs its popular brands, effectively raising the price.
Shares of P&G slipped slightly in Monday morning trading.