Titans Sonata Targets Up-country Market

Mumbai, Sept 24: | Updated: Sep 25 2003, 05:30am hrs
The Sonata brand of watches is the main weapon in Titans arsenal to target the unorganised watch market in India. Through a combination of communication and distribution, the company is looking to entice first time owners of watches to the Sonata brand in small towns and cities. Penetrating the market by riding piggy back on the distribution strength of other companies is also under contemplation to further the reach of the brand. The starting price point for the range of watches is also being reduced in an all out effort to grab the market in these areas.

Talking to FE, Bijou Kurien, chief operating officer - watches, Titan Industries Ltd said that the brand Sonata is aimed at attracting the first time users at the small towns and cities, which is largely serviced by the unorganised players. The total watch market is 31 million units, where 12 million units are sold by the organised players, the rest 19 million units comes from the unorganised players. Therefore, through Sonata, we are looking to tap this segment, said Kurien.

In order to bring the customers in smaller towns and cities to the Sonata fold, the company is revising the pricing. The prices for the range which starts from Rs 495 is being revised to Rs 395 onwards upto Rs 1000. Mr Kurien said that the revision comes in an attempt to break the psychological barrier which the first time owners might have while buying watches. In small towns and cities, the price point of Rs 500 is costly, which may not be the case in the bigger metropolitan cities. The revision is therefore aimed at making the brand affordable to the consumers, said Mr Kurien.

The other strategy which is under contemplation by Titan is to ride piggy back on the distribution strength of other companies who have a far greater reach in the interiors of the India. At present the distribution strength of Sonata is 74 distributors all over the country, who reach out to 8000 dealers at 1900 towns and cities. The target, revealed Mr Kurien is to touch 15000 outlets in three years, which would effectively cover all towns and cities in the country. One way to further our own distribution is to leverage on the distribution depth of other companies. However, there should should not be conflict in terms of similarity of businesses, said Mr Kurien. He however refused to say whether any such negotiation is underway with any companies.

On the communication front, tying up with FMCG companies to utilise their communication mediums is also another way through which the Sonata brand can be driven, according to Mr Kurien. He said that various FMCG companies have the van distribution model, which acts as a shop cum communication medium for their brands. Thats another medium, which can also be utilised to sell the Sonata brand to the consumers, said Mr Kurien. At present, the Sonata brand is communicated largely through terrestrial television channels, vernacular press and promotional activities in fair and festivals in the country.

The size of Sonata business unit, which is part of Titan Industries, is at present Rs 200 crores, which the company aims to take it to Rs 230 crores by the end of financial year 2003-2004.