New Delhi: Iconic windproof lighter maker ZippoManufacturing Company is targeting nearly 50 per cent growth in sales in India for 2023 and expects to continue strong double-digit growth over the next five years, said a company official. The company gets around 60-70 per cent of sales from e-commerce channels in India and is also expanding its presence in offline channels, where it expects faster growth in 2023, said Zippo Global Marketing Associate Vice President Lucas Johnson.
The company has done successful tests with very big retail partners such as Reliance and has plans to roll out lighters at more retail stores as it senses a “huge opportunity” there, he added.
The company, as per its retail strategy prioritises online sales with its own channel besides several key e-commerce channel partners such as TATA Cliq Luxury, Amazon and Flipkart. It is also present in high-end gift shops or places like Cafe Coffee Day, Beer Cafe etc.
“Based on our success in the Indian market this year, consumer excitement for the brand, and the vast potential for Zippo products placement into new retail channels, our projections indicate that we will see nearly 50 per cent growth of Zippo sales in India for 2023, with strong double-digit sustained growth continuing over the next five years,” Johnson told PTI.
Though the company did not share its sales/revenue figures for the Indian market but said in the last two years, Zippo has witnessed tremendous growth in the e-commerce sector, which is the focus area of the company.
Besides the metro markets, having high purchasing capacity, Zippo is also witnessing demand from smaller tier II & III cities from the aspirational sections there.
When asked as to whether Zippo looks at high taxation on tobacco products by the Indian government on cigarettes as a hurdle in its growth here, Johnson said:” We on a global basis have been very successful of showing that a Zippo lighter is not a tobacco accessory. We are a portable flame used for a lot of things.”
Zippo always position as a “portable flame”, he said adding Zippo is much more than a cigarette lighter widely used for different purposes from lighting bonfires, and grills to stoves and candles.
Moreover, there is also a number of consumers who purchased the bow lighters to never use them and purchased them more as a collectable or commemorative, he added.
Zippo has also introduced iconic Indian places and designs to be engraved on its lighters to reach out to more potential consumers, reflecting the culture and traditions of India.
“Anytime we go into a market, particularly in India, right, it is important to have designs that are relevant to the consumers,” he said, adding over the last 90 years, Zippo is putting decoration on lighters that speaks to individual consumers, their likes and preferences.
The company has involved distribution partners, and some of the major e-commerce platforms with its designers to come up with designs that make sense, particularly for Indian consumers.
“In 2023, we look to expand that and begin to explore different collaborations or licensing agreements that could make sense,” he said some of these would also go global targetting the widely spread Indian diaspora by adding “some of the designs may go to your fellow country folks around the world”.
Pennsylvania, US-based company entered India after officially setting up its subsidiary Zippo Lighters India in 2020.