Bengaluru: Incense stick maker Cycle Pure Agarbathies has repurposed its factory and units to manufacture hand santisers amid the Covid-19 lockdown. The Mysuru-headquartered brand is using its fragrance stock to make ayurvedic hand sanitisers ever since its product portfolio comprising incense sticks, prayer and wellness products came under the non-essential category. Currently, only food and groceries are permitted to sell in the government-imposed lockdown
“Once supply chain opens, we will retail our hand sanitisers nationally. We will also launch liquid soaps and home care products like cleaners because we have the advantage of being in the fragrance space already,” said Arjun Ranga, managing partner of N. Ranga Rao & Sons that owns Cycle Pure Agarbathies.
In the interim, the 70-year-old company has held back other product innovations citing liquidity concerns. Cycle’s routine strategy saw monthly launch of new products and variants. Last fiscal, they forayed into puja samagri space with products such as puja oil, cotton wicks and camphor. To increase consumer engagement, the brand had also recently launched a personalisation service on its online platform enabling shoppers to customise agarbattis.
“The strategy for the next 4-6 months is to achieve liquidity. We need to conserve cash to take care of our employees, trade partners and associates. I will not go overboard on launching and investing in new prayer products and promotions for now,” Ranga added.
At 15% market share, Cycle produces about 12 billion incense sticks a year and counts Karnataka, Maharashtra, Andhra Pradesh, Kerala and Bihar as its top markets.
The agarbatti market is pegged at Rs 7278 crore with over 600 companies in the organised sector, as per Nielsen data. Incense stick brands in the country were already clocking slow growth due to a sluggish market last fiscal that faced pains such as unseasonal weather changes, bandhs and government restrictions on raw agarbatti imports from China and Vietnam.