Ticking nonstop for 30 years now, Titan has gone a long way from being a watchmaker to becoming a lifestyle company housing various brands. With time, the company felt the need to move beyond traditional watches and cater to the requirements of its evolving consumers. Titan’s S Ravi Kant highlights the growth of each brand and the strategy ahead, over a chat with BrandWagon’s Chandni Mathur. Edited excerpts:
Tell us about the growth of Titan’s watches and accessories division.
Titan has developed two consumer focussed brands over a period of time, one targeting the youth and the other targeting women — Fastrack and Raga, respectively. In our ladies watch segment sales, a large contribution of revenue comes in from Raga, not only in India but also overseas. We also have a presence across multiple channels going from World of Titan stores (around 480) to Fastrack stores (over 150) and large retail chains, with around 8,000 dealers across the country. The market has been growing at a slow pace for some time but we are seeing it pick up with e-commerce and technology making it easy and convenient for the consumer.
Being one of the oldest brands, you have the legacy of being known for traditional watches. How are you changing this mindset?
Titan has always been a consumer driven company; there have been times when we have brought in a new trend. We won’t call Titan a traditional brand as such because we have always invested a lot in consumer research and spent quite a bit of time and energy in understanding the consumer. A lot of our new products are driven by consumer sentiments. We created an exclusive brand — Fastrack — for millennials; so we are tracking them closely. Even if we talk about the smartwatch segment, Titan was amongst the first five brands in the world that came out with a product. I remember when we launched the Juxt smartwatch, there was only a handful of brands that had unveiled their smart products. Many Swiss or Japanese brands still have to unveil their products in this segment. The point I am making is: Titan has been at the forefront of innovation.
What about market share?
There is no published figure but based on consumer research, trade research, etc our market share is over 50%. Our consumer price for all our portfolio of brands would be around Rs 3,500 crore. Market size is always measured at the consumer price level, so it should be in the range of Rs 6,500-7,000 crore.
What is your strategy for smartwatches?
In India, it is still in the early days, but worldwide it has created quite a buzz and has also brought in new players in the market. We have deep-pocketed mobile phone players in this space now. As per IDC, the Indian smartwatch market is currently 0.6% of the international market. For us, it will be in low single digits as we have launched our products recently but I see it growing well over the next few years. Over the last one year, we have introduced around four-five new smart products — Juxt, Juxt Pro, Sonata Act, and something that has become a runaway success is our recent product — Fastrack fitness band. We have just launched Titan We smartwatch for women in the dimension of safety, reaching out to age groups like 50-60 years as well. Smart is not relevant only to the youth. We have a fairly aggressive strategy for smartwatches and at the same time, we will keep developing traditional watches, as not everyone wants smart features.
Young adults are hardly attuned to wrist watches. Is it a challenge? How are you doing this through Fastrack?
You hit the nail on the head. Fastrack’s growth had slowed down around two years back and if you see now, not many youngsters wear watches. The money they get or have is spent on mobile phones and every six-nine months, they want to upgrade to the latest version. We also observed that quite a few of them had also started wearing fitness bands and that is when we thought Fastrack should not confine itself to watches, and we launched Reflex. That contributed a lot to the growth of Fastrack. And it is not only the youth you see wearing or buying Fastrack, it is anybody under the age of 35-40 who is youthful. Fastrack contributes close to 30-35% to the overall portfolio.
How are accessories under the Fastrack division performing?
The core of Fastrack is and will remain watches. When it comes to accessories — bags, belts, wallets, etc — they will always bring in 15-20%. The good news is that on account of various things we have done in the last few years — new products, strategy and new ways of reaching out to the consumer — Fastrack is our fastest growing brand in our entire portfolio this year.
Has Raga evolved as a festive gifting range for Titan?
Initially, Raga was conceived as an ethnic brand for the Indian market, but over the years it has evolved and become fairly contemporary now, performing well in the international markets. Over the years, it has become an occasion watch because of the collections we launch. Women buy it pre-Diwali or wear it to weddings, etc. We got this feedback and thought we should make women wear Raga more often. Last year, we launched the Raga Viva collection which is not very design-heavy and can be worn to work and other formal occasions. The recent Masaba collection too will reach out to younger consumers, so Raga is becoming a big brand with multiple dimensions.
Titan recently entered the US in partnership with Amazon. Is online the way for you ahead, globally?
We chose to enter the US market only through online because if we had to start looking at an offline presence in that market, we would require billions of dollars of investments whereas e-commerce there is very developed. We have a tie-up with Souk.com in the Middle East and one in Singapore and Malaysia as well. We are in the process of signing up a deal in China too. In Singapore, Malaysia and some Middle East markets, we have a good offline presence as well but in markets like the US and China, online is the way to go.