Horlicks Marketing Strategy 2024: A Case Study

Horlicks, a longstanding and reputable brand established in 1873 by James and William Horlick, has cemented its position as a market leader in the health drink industry. With approximately 30 million cups consumed annually, Horlicks has become a household name, offering a diverse range of malted milk drinks, targeted formulations, and snacks.

With a revenue of £680 million in 2017, Horlicks has showcased its significant presence and demand in the market. As a subsidiary of GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the 6th largest pharmaceutical company globally with a market capitalization of £81 billion, Horlicks benefits from strong backing and resources for its marketing endeavors.

However, Horlicks faces stiff competition from various sectors, including energy beverage brands, critical vitamin and mineral supplement manufacturers, milk alternative companies, and bottled fruit juice producers. To maintain its market position and attract customers, Horlicks leverages an innovative marketing strategy focusing on brand positioning, consumer segmentation, and digital marketing techniques.

Key Takeaways:

  • Horlicks is a market leader, with approximately 30 million cups consumed annually.
  • GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), the parent company, is the 6th largest pharmaceutical company globally, providing strong support to Horlicks.
  • Horlicks faces competition from energy beverage brands, supplement manufacturers, milk alternative companies, and bottled fruit juice producers.
  • The marketing strategy includes brand positioning, consumer segmentation, and digital marketing techniques.
  • Horlicks generated £680 million in revenue in 2017, highlighting its significant presence and demand in the market.

Segmentation, Targeting, and Positioning

Horlicks, the renowned brand in the health and nutritional drinks market, understands the importance of consumer segmentation in effectively reaching its target audience. By analyzing customer needs and preferences, Horlicks has successfully divided its market into distinct segments to cater to a wide range of consumers.

Through comprehensive target audience analysis, Horlicks has identified specific customer groups, including toddlers, children, adults, mothers, and women. This detailed understanding allows the brand to develop tailored marketing strategies that resonate with each segment, ensuring maximum value delivery and customer satisfaction.

Consumer Segmentation

Horlicks’ consumer segmentation focuses on demographic, psychographic, and behavioral factors. For example, the brand targets middle-income group customers who prioritize health-conscious choices and seek nutritional drinks that are rich in vitamins and minerals. By addressing the distinct needs of different consumer segments, Horlicks has been able to create a loyal customer base.

Market segmentation is not limited to age or income; it also extends to different life stages. Horlicks operates in four business segments: Horlicks (including Horlicks, Horlicks Lite, and Horlicks Oats), For Toddlers (Junior Horlicks and Horlicks Growth+), For Women (Women’s Horlicks and Mother’s Horlicks), and Plus+ (Horlicks Cardia+ and Horlicks Protein+). This segmentation strategy enables the brand to offer suitable products to customers at every stage of life.

Marketing Strategies and Brand Positioning

Horlicks’ marketing strategies are crafted to align with the diverse needs of its segmented target audience. The brand positions itself as a comprehensive food suitable for consumers of all ages and life stages, ensuring that everyone can benefit from its nutritional offerings. This broad positioning allows Horlicks to maintain relevance and connect with a wide range of consumers.

In addition, Horlicks has established a strong brand positioning in the market, particularly among Indian mothers. The brand’s robust marketing campaigns and endorsements from healthcare professionals have convinced mothers that Horlicks is the best health drink for their children. This positioning has created a powerful perception of trust and reliability, making Horlicks a go-to choice for mothers seeking nutritional products for their families.

Effective brand positioning and targeted marketing strategies have been key contributors to Horlicks’ success in the market. By leveraging consumer segmentation and understanding the specific needs of its target audience, Horlicks has achieved remarkable growth and established itself as a trusted name in the health and nutritional drinks industry.

Competitive Advantage

Horlicks, with its diverse product portfolio, enjoys a strong competitive advantage in the health drinks market. The brand offers a range of variants such as Mother’s Horlicks, Junior Horlicks, Horlicks Promind, Women’s Horlicks, Lite Horlicks, Growth+ Horlicks, and Cardia+ Horlicks, catering to different consumer needs and preferences.

In addition to its broad range of products, Horlicks differentiates itself through its association with GlaxoSmithKline (GSK), a global healthcare company. GSK’s reputation and financial stability provide Horlicks with a competitive edge. As a part of GSK, Horlicks can leverage the parent company’s extensive resources, including research and development capabilities, to innovate and improve its product offerings.

Despite being considered a premium product, Horlicks applies competitive pricing strategies to maintain its market position. The brand offers discounts on bulk purchases and volume-based pricing, making it accessible to a wider consumer base.

However, Horlicks faces intense competition from both domestic and international rivals in the health drinks market. To stay ahead, Horlicks can capitalize on growth opportunities by expanding into new markets and appealing to the increasing health-conscious consumer base.

While government regulations and strong competition pose threats to Horlicks’ market position, the brand’s extensive distribution strategy and investment in advertising and promotion help maintain its competitive advantage. Horlicks has a robust distribution network that includes retail outlets, supermarkets, convenience stores, pharmacies, and online platforms, ensuring easy accessibility for consumers.

Overall, Horlicks’ competitive advantage lies in its diverse product portfolio, association with GlaxoSmithKline, competitive pricing strategies, and strong distribution and marketing efforts.

Product Portfolio Flavors Packaging Options
Mother’s Horlicks *Flavors* *Packaging Options*
Junior Horlicks *Flavors* *Packaging Options*
Horlicks Promind *Flavors* *Packaging Options*
Women’s Horlicks *Flavors* *Packaging Options*
Lite Horlicks *Flavors* *Packaging Options*
Growth+ Horlicks *Flavors* *Packaging Options*
Cardia+ Horlicks *Flavors* *Packaging Options*

Horlicks Product Portfolio

Horlicks, a leading brand in the health food drinks market, offers a comprehensive product portfolio that caters to a diverse range of nutritional needs. With the recent acquisition of GlaxoSmithKline’s (GSK) Health Food Drinks portfolio, including popular brands like Horlicks and Boost, Hindustan Unilever (HUL) has expanded its product offerings to meet the evolving demands of its target audience.

Horlicks recognizes the importance of addressing specific dietary requirements to support the optimal growth and well-being of individuals at different life stages. The portfolio acquired from GSK encompasses a wide range of beverage-based nutrition products that address various segments, including child and toddler nutrition, women’s well-being, and adult wellness.

For the youngest members of the population, Horlicks offers Junior Horlicks, a specially formulated drink that provides essential nutrients for the healthy development of toddlers. It meets their unique nutritional needs, ensuring a strong foundation for growth and overall health.

Furthermore, Horlicks understands the nutritional needs of women during pregnancy and breastfeeding. Its product line includes Mother’s Horlicks, which provides essential nutrients to support their well-being and that of their unborn child.

When it comes to adult wellness, Horlicks has a range of products that cater to the diverse health requirements of individuals. Whether it’s Horlicks Lite for weight management or Horlicks Gold for vitality and strength, the brand has options that suit different lifestyles and preferences.

Horlicks’ product portfolio is not only focused on delivering nutrition but also carries a legacy of trust and reliability. With a rich heritage dating back to the early 20th century, Horlicks has been a part of significant milestones, including polar expeditions and the first transatlantic flight. This history adds to the brand’s appeal and reinforces its reputation as a trusted provider of nourishing beverages.

By offering a diverse range of products that cater to various nutritional needs, Horlicks has positioned itself as a leader in the health food drinks market. Its commitment to providing quality nutrition has allowed it to capture a significant share of the market, commanding around 50% volume market share in India.

Distribution Strategy

In order to ensure that Horlicks products are easily accessible to consumers, the brand has implemented a comprehensive distribution strategy. Horlicks utilizes a wide network of distribution channels, including pharmacies, medicine stores, wholesalers, retailers, kirana stores, and e-commerce websites. The brand understands the importance of having both an offline and online presence to cater to the diverse needs of its customers.

With the rising popularity of e-commerce platforms, Horlicks has forged strategic partnerships with major online retailers, including Amazon, to strengthen its online presence. This enables customers to conveniently purchase Horlicks products with just a few clicks, ensuring a seamless shopping experience.

In addition to a strong e-commerce partnership, Horlicks maintains an extensive offline presence through its association with pharmacies, medicine stores, and other retail outlets. By collaborating with these establishments, Horlicks can reach a wider consumer base and make its products readily available to those who prefer in-person shopping experiences.

This distribution strategy not only enhances the brand’s visibility but also ensures that Horlicks products are easily accessible to customers across various channels. Whether consumers prefer to purchase online or through physical retail stores, Horlicks has established a distribution network to cater to their needs.

Key Distribution Channels Benefits
Pharmacies and medicine stores Accessible locations for consumers seeking health and wellness products.
Wholesalers and retailers Wide reach and presence across various regions, increasing product availability.
Kirana stores Convenient and popular neighborhood retail outlets for easy product access.
E-commerce websites Seamless online shopping experience and easy access for a tech-savvy customer base.

By combining an extensive offline presence with a strong e-commerce partnership, Horlicks ensures that its products are within reach of consumers at all times. The brand’s distribution strategy plays a crucial role in meeting the demands of its target market, making Horlicks a widely recognized and accessible brand in the health supplement industry.

Brand Equity

Horlicks has established strong brand equity in the market, making it a trusted and recognized brand among consumers. The brand’s focus on health benefits has resonated with consumers, who value the positive impact of their products on their well-being.

Horlicks emphasizes the health benefits of consuming its products, which include improved focus, maintenance of blood flow, immunity building, and healthy weight growth. This messaging has struck a chord with health-conscious individuals, parents, physicians, and nutritionists, who are seeking healthier alternatives in the health food drink market.

In fact, concerns were raised by the primary target audience regarding the side effects of sugar as a key ingredient in beverages like Horlicks. As a response, the brand has shifted its focus towards healthier and preservative-free alternatives, addressing the changing consumer preferences.

With a revenue of £680 million in 2017 and 80% of their worldwide sales coming from India, Horlicks has solidified its position as a market leader in the health food drink segment. The brand’s significant presence and strong demand from consumers highlight its brand equity and consumer trust in the market.

In a fast-growing health-drinks market in India, Horlicks is expected to leverage its brand equity to drive double-digit growth in the medium term. By capitalizing on its established brand reputation, Horlicks can continue to expand its product portfolio and capture the evolving needs of its target demographic.

To further enhance brand equity, Horlicks has employed various marketing strategies, including region-specific commercials in different languages, high levels of promotional activities, and engaging campaigns targeting specific consumer segments. These efforts have not only increased brand visibility but also solidified Horlicks’ position as a trusted and preferred brand in the market.

Brand Equity in Numbers

According to a case study, the implications of the merger between Hindustan Unilever Limited and GlaxoSmithKline Plc’s Consumer Healthcare Ltd. India business have provided valuable insights into the competitive shifts within the Indian health food drink market post-merger. With the Indian malt-based hot drinks segment estimated to be worth $1.1 billion and the health-drinks market projected to see 9% average growth between fiscal years 2017 and 2022, Horlicks is poised to capitalize on this growth.

The case study, designed for graduate-level marketing courses, highlights the importance of brand management, brand equity, market strategy, and mergers and acquisitions within the Indian consumer health care market. It showcases the significance of brand equity in driving revenue and market dominance, making Horlicks an exemplary case study for MBA/postgraduate students interested in these areas of expertise.

In conclusion, Horlicks’ strong brand equity, coupled with its focus on health benefits, has positioned it as a leading brand in the health food drink market. With a solid reputation, strategic growth strategies, and an understanding of the evolving consumer needs, Horlicks is well-equipped to maintain its market share and drive revenue growth in the future.

Competitive Analysis

Horlicks faces fierce competition in the market from various brands in the beverage and nutritional supplement industry. To thrive in this competitive landscape, Horlicks has employed a strategic approach, focusing on product line expansion and offering a diverse range of options to meet the needs and preferences of its target audience.

One of the key strategies employed by Horlicks is continuous product line expansion. By introducing new and innovative products, the brand stays ahead of its competitors and maintains its position as a market leader. This approach allows Horlicks to cater to different customer segments, ensuring a diverse range of options for consumers to choose from.

In addition, Horlicks’ product line expansion helps in attracting new customers and retaining existing ones. By offering a wide variety of options, Horlicks caters to the evolving needs of its customer base and provides them with a range of choices that suit their individual preferences.

The competitive analysis reveals that Horlicks faces tough competition from energy beverage brands, critical vitamin and mineral supplement manufacturers, milk alternative companies, and bottled fruit juice producers. However, with its strategic product line expansion and commitment to offering a diverse range of options, Horlicks is able to differentiate itself in the market and maintain its competitive edge.

By continuously analyzing market trends, consumer preferences, and competitor strategies, Horlicks is able to adapt and evolve its product offerings to stay ahead of the competition. This proactive approach ensures that Horlicks remains a preferred choice for consumers seeking a nutritious and delicious beverage.

Brand Market Share
Horlicks 52.6%
Bournvita (Cadbury’s) 17.2%
Boost 12.6%
Complan (Heinz) 12.1%
Viva 0.8%
Maltova 0.5%
Other Brands 4.2%

The data illustrates Horlicks’ dominance in the malted milk foods industry in India, with a market share of 52.6%. While competitors like Bournvita, Boost, and Complan also hold notable market shares, Horlicks maintains a significant lead.

With its competitive analysis and focus on product line expansion to offer a diverse range of options, Horlicks continues to position itself as a trusted and preferred choice in the market.

Case Competition

As part of their marketing strategy, Horlicks organizes an annual case competition that provides students with a unique opportunity to gain hands-on experience in the competitive FMCG industry. The case competition serves as a platform for students to showcase their creativity, strategic thinking, and entrepreneurial skills.

Participants in the case competition are tasked with developing innovative and practical marketing strategies for Horlicks. They utilize various tools such as SWOT Analysis, Porter Five Forces Analysis, PESTEL Analysis, and VRIO Analysis to conduct a comprehensive analysis of the market and identify key challenges and opportunities.

Throughout the competition, students work closely with industry experts from Horlicks and Unilever who provide valuable insights and guidance. This interaction allows participants to gain real-world knowledge from experienced professionals in the field of marketing.

The case competition not only strengthens participants’ understanding of marketing concepts but also enhances their interpersonal communication and presentation skills. Students learn how to effectively communicate their ideas and strategies to a panel of judges, which includes top executives from Horlicks and other renowned organizations in the industry.

By participating in this case competition, students not only learn from the experiences of the authors of the case study, Sanchita Krishna, Sandeep Puri, and Rakesh Singh, but also get to showcase their talent and stand a chance to win exciting prizes, internships, or even job opportunities within the company.

Previous Winners and Success Stories

Over the years, the case competition has produced remarkable success stories. Many of the winning ideas and strategies have been implemented by Horlicks, contributing to the growth and success of the brand.

One notable example is the launch of Women’s Horlicks in 2008, which resulted in significant sales growth and revenue increase for GSK Consumer Healthcare (GSKCH). This successful extension of the Horlicks brand was the brainchild of a previous case competition winner, showcasing the impact and relevance of this competition.

The case competition continues to attract young talents who are passionate about marketing and provides them with a platform to apply their knowledge and skills in a real-world scenario. It serves as a valuable stepping stone for students aspiring to enter the FMCG industry and gain hands-on experience.

The case competition offers students a unique opportunity to showcase their creativity, strategic thinking, and marketing expertise. It equips them with the necessary skills and knowledge to excel in the fast-paced and competitive world of marketing.


In conclusion, Horlicks’ marketing strategy has proven to be successful in reaching and engaging a wide audience through effective segmentation and targeted marketing efforts. The brand’s competitive advantage lies in its diverse product portfolio and its strong association with GlaxoSmithKline. Horlicks has strategically expanded its distribution channels, ensuring that its products are readily available to consumers both offline and online.

Furthermore, Horlicks has established a strong brand equity and recognition, evidenced by its significant increase in social media engagement and brand recognition through their influencer marketing strategy. Additionally, product placement in popular movies and TV shows has played a crucial role in increasing sales and brand visibility for Horlicks. Social media contests have also proven to be successful in driving engagement, brand loyalty, and boosting sales.

However, Horlicks faces competition from brands like Boost, Complan, and Bournvita in the health drink segment. Moreover, the health drink market is constantly evolving with a growing trend towards healthier and organic products. This poses a challenge for Horlicks, necessitating continuous innovation and adaptation to meet changing consumer preferences and stay competitive in the industry.

In conclusion, Horlicks’ marketing strategy has positioned the brand as a trusted industry leader, holding a significant market share in countries like the UK and India. By leveraging their competitive advantage, diversifying their product offerings, and consistently staying attuned to consumer needs, Horlicks is well-positioned to maintain its success in the health drink market.


What is Horlicks’ marketing strategy?

Horlicks’ marketing strategy focuses on targeting a wide audience through consumer segmentation and tailored marketing strategies.

How does Horlicks differentiate itself in the market?

Horlicks differentiates itself through its diverse product portfolio and association with GlaxoSmithKline, providing a competitive advantage.

What products does Horlicks offer?

Horlicks offers a diverse range of products to cater to the unique nutritional needs of different age groups and life stages.

How does Horlicks distribute its products?

Horlicks utilizes a comprehensive distribution strategy, including offline channels such as pharmacies and retailers, and strategic partnerships with online platforms like Amazon.

What is Horlicks’ brand equity?

Horlicks has established strong brand equity through its emphasis on health benefits and generated significant revenue in the market.

How does Horlicks stay competitive?

Horlicks stays competitive by continuously expanding its product line and introducing innovative options to meet customer preferences.

What is the Horlicks case competition?

The Horlicks case competition provides students with hands-on experience in the FMCG industry and an opportunity to present innovative marketing strategies to industry leaders.
About the author

Nina Sheridan is a seasoned author at Latterly.org, a blog renowned for its insightful exploration of the increasingly interconnected worlds of business, technology, and lifestyle. With a keen eye for the dynamic interplay between these sectors, Nina brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to her writing. Her expertise lies in dissecting complex topics and presenting them in an accessible, engaging manner that resonates with a diverse audience.