A 3600 Approach to time

Not too long ago, most Indians possessed one watch, which served the purpose of telling time. It has been a long journey from a one brand market to a market where it is estimated that about 28 millions units are sold every year, and the off take is growing at the rate of 30 percent per annum. The wristwatch has indeed come a long way from the time when Peter Henlein of Germany invented the world’s first pocket watch in the 1500s. From one or more brands to the in-numerable brands available in the marketplace, the Indian time wear market has undergone rapid and massive changes. Watchers have today become a fashion accessory rather than mere devices which enable us to know the time.

This case study examines the change in watch retailing in India and how one brand – viz., Titan went on to create a band success in India.

Company Background

Titan Industries limited is a joint venture between the Tata Group and the Tamil Nadu Industrial Development Corporation (TIDCO) It was incorporated as a public limited company in the year 1984, and manufactures and markets watches under the brand name Titan, Sonata, nebula and Fastrack. Titan is the sixth largest integrated watch manufacturer in the world and has sold over 60 million watches across 30 countries of the world. The manufacturing is done out of four factories and the investment in a 450,000 sq ft state of the art facility has been over US $ 130 million.

In India, the company operates over 230 exclusive Titan showrooms and over 8500 dealer outlets. Through this network, Titan has a presence in over 2400 Indian towns Titan is the market leader having a variety of ranges and introducing around 200 new models every year, ensuring sustained growth. It has a 50% share in the watch market. The company believes that it generates wealth for all its stakeholders by creating India’s most desirable brands in watches, jewelry and personal accessories.

The vision of the company is to be innovative world class contemporary and build India’s most desirable brands. This in turn, dictates the values, beliefs and strategy.

The market Scenario

In the mid 1980s the watch market was characterized by the presence of a limited number of brands. The market leader was HMT, which had over 90% of the market share. A few domestic and international brands were available in the market. Very little was offered to the consumer by way of after sales service. Existing watch outlets did not offer the consumer choice or quality of after sales service. Watches were often bought by a looking system and servicing of watches was restricted to small watch repair stores that were unorganized and unreliable.

Given this background the challenge was to the watch showroom of preferred choice by:

1) Offering a superior shopping experience to the customer and
2) Building lasting relationships with them, through a process of continuous improvement and benchmarking across the length and breadth of the country.

The strategy

Titan decided to first focus on creating a format which would enable it to build a strong retail presence and bring the product closer to the customer. The idea was to build and enhance the brand experience through retailing. This led to the creation of the World of Titan showrooms which exclusively showcased the complete product range and provided a brand experience in terms of service and convenience.

At this point in time, the company decided to opt for multiple channels of retailing. The exclusive showrooms would aid market expansion while the multi brand outlets would help increase the market share. This was necessary to expand and achieve town penetration. The two channels catered to different customer segments and helped Titan created a significant retail presence.