Cleanups, confidence, and cosmetics: Marketing beauty in India

Gauri Pathak, Mimi Nichter

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

1 Citation (Scopus)

Abstract

Since economic liberalization in 1991, India has been experiencing rapid economic growth and a shift to consumer culture, making it fertile ground for marketers of consumer goods. Historically, sales of beauty products in India had been limited by high taxation, restricted consumer choice, and high levels of poverty; post-liberalization, the country was therefore seen as a market with immense, albeit untapped, potential. However, even as beauty industry reports tout the potential for growth, nearly three decades after liberalization, per capita sales of beauty products continue to be some of the lowest in the world. Little is known about why beauty products remain stubbornly resistant to aspirational marketing efforts. Meanwhile, scant social scientific attention has been paid to the creation and marketing of tastes and desires by the beauty industry in India and women’s engagement with those desires. In this article, we present ethnographic depth on how local beauty cultures affect understandings of bodily aesthetics to create hybrid beauty practices and on how marketing efforts seek to channel these practices into consumer behavior. We examine some of the major points of contingent difference linked to low volumes of cosmetics sales in India and explore the approaches adopted by advertisers and marketers of beauty products to convert such difference into new imaginaries that foster mass consumption.

Original languageEnglish (US)
JournalJournal of Consumer Culture
DOIs
StateAccepted/In press - Jan 1 2018

Fingerprint

Beauty
cosmetics
beauty
Marketing
Cosmetics
India
marketing
confidence
sales
liberalization
Beauty Culture
Industry
Economic Development
Taxes
Poverty
Confidence
industry
Esthetics
consumption behavior
taxation

Keywords

  • Beauty work
  • consumption
  • globalization
  • India
  • makeup
  • marketing

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • Business and International Management
  • Social Psychology
  • Arts and Humanities (miscellaneous)
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Economics and Econometrics
  • Marketing

Cite this

Cleanups, confidence, and cosmetics : Marketing beauty in India. / Pathak, Gauri; Nichter, Mimi.

In: Journal of Consumer Culture, 01.01.2018.

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

@article{ce99f01db60246028164e91734d8a881,
title = "Cleanups, confidence, and cosmetics: Marketing beauty in India",
abstract = "Since economic liberalization in 1991, India has been experiencing rapid economic growth and a shift to consumer culture, making it fertile ground for marketers of consumer goods. Historically, sales of beauty products in India had been limited by high taxation, restricted consumer choice, and high levels of poverty; post-liberalization, the country was therefore seen as a market with immense, albeit untapped, potential. However, even as beauty industry reports tout the potential for growth, nearly three decades after liberalization, per capita sales of beauty products continue to be some of the lowest in the world. Little is known about why beauty products remain stubbornly resistant to aspirational marketing efforts. Meanwhile, scant social scientific attention has been paid to the creation and marketing of tastes and desires by the beauty industry in India and women’s engagement with those desires. In this article, we present ethnographic depth on how local beauty cultures affect understandings of bodily aesthetics to create hybrid beauty practices and on how marketing efforts seek to channel these practices into consumer behavior. We examine some of the major points of contingent difference linked to low volumes of cosmetics sales in India and explore the approaches adopted by advertisers and marketers of beauty products to convert such difference into new imaginaries that foster mass consumption.",
keywords = "Beauty work, consumption, globalization, India, makeup, marketing",
author = "Gauri Pathak and Mimi Nichter",
year = "2018",
month = "1",
day = "1",
doi = "10.1177/1469540518818631",
language = "English (US)",
journal = "Journal of Consumer Culture",
issn = "1469-5405",
publisher = "SAGE Publications Ltd",

}

TY - JOUR

T1 - Cleanups, confidence, and cosmetics

T2 - Marketing beauty in India

AU - Pathak, Gauri

AU - Nichter, Mimi

PY - 2018/1/1

Y1 - 2018/1/1

N2 - Since economic liberalization in 1991, India has been experiencing rapid economic growth and a shift to consumer culture, making it fertile ground for marketers of consumer goods. Historically, sales of beauty products in India had been limited by high taxation, restricted consumer choice, and high levels of poverty; post-liberalization, the country was therefore seen as a market with immense, albeit untapped, potential. However, even as beauty industry reports tout the potential for growth, nearly three decades after liberalization, per capita sales of beauty products continue to be some of the lowest in the world. Little is known about why beauty products remain stubbornly resistant to aspirational marketing efforts. Meanwhile, scant social scientific attention has been paid to the creation and marketing of tastes and desires by the beauty industry in India and women’s engagement with those desires. In this article, we present ethnographic depth on how local beauty cultures affect understandings of bodily aesthetics to create hybrid beauty practices and on how marketing efforts seek to channel these practices into consumer behavior. We examine some of the major points of contingent difference linked to low volumes of cosmetics sales in India and explore the approaches adopted by advertisers and marketers of beauty products to convert such difference into new imaginaries that foster mass consumption.

AB - Since economic liberalization in 1991, India has been experiencing rapid economic growth and a shift to consumer culture, making it fertile ground for marketers of consumer goods. Historically, sales of beauty products in India had been limited by high taxation, restricted consumer choice, and high levels of poverty; post-liberalization, the country was therefore seen as a market with immense, albeit untapped, potential. However, even as beauty industry reports tout the potential for growth, nearly three decades after liberalization, per capita sales of beauty products continue to be some of the lowest in the world. Little is known about why beauty products remain stubbornly resistant to aspirational marketing efforts. Meanwhile, scant social scientific attention has been paid to the creation and marketing of tastes and desires by the beauty industry in India and women’s engagement with those desires. In this article, we present ethnographic depth on how local beauty cultures affect understandings of bodily aesthetics to create hybrid beauty practices and on how marketing efforts seek to channel these practices into consumer behavior. We examine some of the major points of contingent difference linked to low volumes of cosmetics sales in India and explore the approaches adopted by advertisers and marketers of beauty products to convert such difference into new imaginaries that foster mass consumption.

KW - Beauty work

KW - consumption

KW - globalization

KW - India

KW - makeup

KW - marketing

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/record.url?scp=85058841637&partnerID=8YFLogxK

UR - http://www.scopus.com/inward/citedby.url?scp=85058841637&partnerID=8YFLogxK

U2 - 10.1177/1469540518818631

DO - 10.1177/1469540518818631

M3 - Article

AN - SCOPUS:85058841637

JO - Journal of Consumer Culture

JF - Journal of Consumer Culture

SN - 1469-5405

ER -