GLOBAL WATCH BRANDS CATCH THE PULSE
Thanks to the high aspiration value backed by the purchasing power of the youth, the country is on the wish list of the global premium watch makers.
Is whateverâ€™s in your mind reflected on your wrist? Today for the brand conscious Indian consumer, a branded wrist watch is an attitude symbol that showcases oneâ€™s distinctive personality. It is all about the exquisite diamond-en-crusted Cartier, or the solid gold Rolex or the bond watch Omega, sporty and chic Tag Heuer, elegant Longines and other in the high end segment, as exquisite timepieces are selling almost at the tick of a minute.
With the pay packages of Gennext getting hefty, and jobs demanding people cross shores thus contributing to the rise in the awareness level and availability of plastic money being easy, India seems to be attracting the attention premium watch makers.
India is a country, which is on youth revolution and we would want to be a part of it says a brand manager, LVMH India, (watch and jewellery division).
Dior appeals to those who are very trendy and fashion aware, it is positioned as a high end luxury fashion brand for trendy men and women in the age group of 21 to 35 years. This is what expressed by the brand manager of Dior.
Industry players are estimating the premium watch market segment in India being at around 450crores with a growth rate of approximately 25% annually. These branded watches start at a price ranging from Rs7,000 and go as high as you can afford. Tag Heuer starts at Rs30,000, the Dior range of watches starts from Rs22,000, Omega at Rs80,000.
India is one of the most promising markets in the Asia pacific region for luxury watch brands. This is keeping in mind the Indian consumerâ€™s ever increasing purchasing power, exposure to luxury brands and style trends through increased exposure to international media.
Another watch company authority commented that gone are the days when premium branded watches were luxury items for the rich and the famous. Today itâ€™s the youngsters who buy these watches in substantial numbers.
Loaded with heavy pay packages and credit cards that offer installments to repay, they walk in and buy their timepieces and contribute to increase in sale of these watches.
People come prepared with their homework on watches and ask for their desired time piece. They need not have to be informed about other available options.
SWIFT BUSINESS MOVES
Watch makers spotting this trend are leaving no stone unturned to grab their share of the pie. Market believe that the purchase be judged from the fact that over 18% of the countryâ€™s over a billion population falls in the SEC A category and this figure forms a huge potential market for luxury watch brands.
All this inspires the watch makers to make their presence felt. They have straightforward business models, right pricing and simultaneous launch of all the latest products in the Indian market which was not the case some years back.
In this scheme of things pricing in the international markets plays an important role. Despite the levy of heavy duty, the watches available in India are reasonably priced. Despite very high import duties the global watch manufacturers of reputed brands ensure that all watches are made available at international prices. They have kept the market prices fairly well set compared to international markets.
SELLING WITH STYLE
With so much happening around, the whole scene of selling watches has undergone a sea change, the old watch shop is swapped by trendy boutiques showcasing various products, the old watch salesman been replaced by well-trained staff who not just communicate well and look smart but have a thorough knowledge of the brand they are selling.
At LVMH staff is trained every few months to ensure the highest quality standards and a holistic approach to customer handling.
Following the trait the multiple brand showrooms too are not far behind. The sales people of these show rooms are well informed and the plus point lies in the fact that the service staff is trained at the international centers of the various brands at display.
We are in an investment phase and are investing a lot to establish the brand. The brand building model hinges very strongly on the â€˜brand ambassador- the very popular and famous Shah Rukh who the brand manufacturers think epitomizes the brand. Besides Shah Rukh, two other pillars of the brand are golf and polo. In advertising, they use Shah Rukh and Sushmita(former Miss Universe) to promote the lines and focus on key cities of the country.
But whether all these ambassadors have an impact? Having a brand ambassador is no sure sign of succeeding in the market place. It can work both ways, having a local ambassador surely helps to connect with the audience. But those who are paying for these watches in my opinion are not swayed much by the ambassadors opine some marketers on the business.
Well this is for the companies to decide, how they go about managing their finances and strategies to penetrate the market. However the adage Time is money suits luxury.