The customer behaviour from a long time ago where people used to dog-ear pages from books and magazines or save clippings from the newspaper of things they would like to buy has translated to pinning pictures to a board, saving a screenshot, adding to a wishlist or double tapping to ‘love’ something on Instagram.
As gifting styles evolve, consumers can choose products that are funny, thematic or pop culture-driven, with diverse offerings from domestic companies
The customer behaviour from a long time ago where people used to dog-ear pages from books and magazines or save clippings from the newspaper of things they would like to buy has translated to pinning pictures to a board, saving a screenshot, adding to a wishlist or double tapping to ‘love’ something on Instagram. Most of these items fall under a reaction-inducing spectrum. Going by the current online parlance, the adjectives commonly associated with such products range from funny, unique, quirky, bright, colourful or ‘sooo pretty’, to name a few. Gifting, which for the younger generation not too long ago was a task requiring a lot of legwork, has become something the consumer can have fun with as more online portals and offline stores offer a wide range of products to choose from. Gifting and lifestyle is targeted more so towards the urban woman who would like to put a little extra thought into what she buys. That is not to say there is nothing in it for men, given there are products now that appeal to their humour and sensibilities as well.
From The Wishing Chair to Chumbak
Take for example, The Wishing Chair, which has products across gifts, decor, kitchen and dining, lighting and stationery. The brand takes cues (both visual and thematic) from pop culture, books and movies to come up with specific colour palettes for its product designs basis seasons. The brand targets the 25-45 year-old urban woman who loves to travel. Currently, 87% of its customers are women. Since a good portion of the appeal of the brand’s products is driven by its aesthetics and visuals, there are currently three physical stores that let consumers discover and experience what is on offer. The offline medium contributes 25% to its revenue. Avneet Mann, the company’s CEO shares, “We are looking at opening four more stores in the next 18 months and aim to have a bigger depth to our current product categories.” Every store houses The Mad Teapot, an all vegetarian restaurant that allows customers or even browsers, to set their own pace of shopping while going through the products. The Wishing Chair is
currently growing at 15-17% y-o- y. With 38 people running the company, most of the design (about 65%) is thought in-house, with the rest coming from manufacturing vendors with design capabilities.
The price range of products falling between Rs 990 to Rs 1,500 is where the brand has found its sweet spot. Seasonality brings in a spike of anywhere between 20-30% in sales. Where The Wishing Chair brings to you softer hues, florals and pastel colours, Chumbak Design adds the bold pop and patterns to products. Targeted at women aged 18-40, who are financially independent and residing in the top 15 cities in India, Chumbak’s physical stores bring in close to 70% of revenue with a current count of 20 stores across eight cities. It aims to reach 45 stores by FY19. The company is looking to achieve close to 40-50% growth in the next two years, informs Somanna Muthanna, head of marketing, Chumbak Design. Seasonal spikes occur in December, February and August which see new season launches by the brand.
Beyond the circus
Now consider the popular Happily Unmarried, a company that despite having branched into grooming in 2015 sees a spike in its gifting and lifestyle business during the wedding and festival seasons. The most popular products in the gifting and lifestyle segment are bar accessories. Other sub-segments include home accessories, stationery, bags, etc. The gifting and lifestyle business, which is what the brand started with, is largely offline but the grooming business is online currently. The brand relies mainly on digital marketing with 25% of its marketing spends attributed to it. This spending will be down to single digits as the brand matures, according to Rajat Tuli, co-founder, Happily Unmarried. Then there is also India Circus, which began in 2012 as an e-commerce portal and has expanded offline too, since. In 2016, Godrej and Boyce acquired a 51% stake in the company. In 2017, the brand opened two stores in Mumbai; the first at Kala Ghoda and the other at High Street Phoenix. The aim is to add nine more stores in the next two years, with the next store being launched at Palladium Chennai in March. Its bestsellers include cushion covers, tumblers, fashion and lifestyle accessories. The range begins with a cushion cover for Rs 370 and goes up to Rs 3,000 for a bag. Décor and dining contribute close
to 60% to the business while 40% comes from the remaining categories. The company recently launched six shop-in- shops across Mumbai, Chandigarh, Bengaluru and Delhi through Shoppers Stop. It is also present at airport stores, WHSmith, Archies, Crossword Bookstores, Lotus House, etc. Clearly, gifting options have never been more diverse and colourful, and one can only see more entrants in this space in the near future.