Titan Company witnessed strong growth last year, posting a double-digit rise across most businesses. Company longtimer and CEO of watches and wearables division of Titan Company Suparna Mitra talks to Christina Moniz about the company’s expansion this year, the rebranding of its stores and the growth opportunity in the smart watches category. Edited excerpts:
We conducted a consumer study between 2019 and 2020 and found that consumers were seeking a more premium shopping experience, international brands and smart watches. With our rebranding, we have made our stores look more aspirational and international. Our aim was to create a new store design with a more premium look and feel. The uplift is seen in both the stores and the range of products. We have a separate section for smart watches, the area behind the cash counters has been redesigned, and we also have something called the Hot Zone where we feature new arrivals and advertised collections. The international brands too have a specific space in the stores. All these steps have given the stores a more modern and premium look and feel. The rebranding exercise has resulted in an increase in the average revenue per customer. There is also an increase in customer metrics like net promoter scores and GMB (Google My Business) scores.
How are you then differentiating the Titan World and Helios stores?
Titan World has been positioned as the face of brand Titan with the full range of watches from the Titan Company portfolio and a host of curated international brands, delivering a differentiated shopping experience. On the other hand, Helios has been positioned as a premium watch store. Helios is a separate international, multi-brand outlet.
How was 2022 for the watches and wearables business?
2022 was a good year for the watches and wearables business, and the festive season has also been good. We saw extraordinary growth of about 169% in Q1 of FY23 with a quarterly income of `785 crore, but that needs to be viewed in light of the fact that Q1 of FY22 was badly impacted by the pandemic. Q2 also was a good one for us with about 21% growth, so this fiscal has been a good one so far. There are some notable takeaways this year. Premium products have been doing well. While the pandemic years saw a significant growth in online sales, offline retail is back. Last year, e-commerce accounted for 19-20% of our sales. This year, it is 16% of our sales, which means physical retail has definitely bounced back.
The watches and wearables business has a fairly big offline presence nationwide. Are you planning to expand your store footprint in 2023?
We have approximately 600 Titan World stores today, of which more than half have undergone the facelift and rebranding. The rest will be completed over the next three quarters. We also have around 170 Helios stores and 168 Fastrack stores. We opened close to 100 stores in the past 11 months, which makes CY22 an exceptional year. In previous years, even pre-pandemic, we typically opened around 20-25 stores a year, so this year, we have expanded by around four times that number.
Additionally, we sell to over 7,000 multi-brand outlets in the country. We are on an expansion path across all our formats, but it’s still too soon to discuss our expansion plans for CY23.
What kind of growth opportunity do you see in the smart watches segment?
The category has exploded in India and is growing month on month. There are high-end brands like Apple and Samsung, and a bunch of lower-end Indian brands in the market. We offer smart watches from Fastrack priced between `3,000 and `6,500, and Titan smart watches are priced between `7,000 and `12,000. So the price points at which we operate are the white space in the category. We are eyeing a high, triple-digit growth from smart watches.
What will your core focus areas be for the watches and wearables business?
Serving the premium customer well is a big priority for us. These are customers buying watches priced over `15,000 and their expectations are different, so we have to ensure we give them the right experience and product. The other focus will be on sustaining the journey for Titan World and Helios. Smartwatches are the other key priority, and we expect to continue to perform well here.