Global retailer Fossil, Inc, which specialises in the design, innovation and marketing of fashion lifestyle and accessory products, recently launched its Studio Mixer Collection under the Diesel brand. Fossil India retails watches, leather accessories, and eyewear of the brand Fossil. Apart from this, they also sell watches of Diesel, DKNY, Emporio Armani, Burberry, and Adidas. Early this year, the watchmaker introduced Michael Kors timepieces to their portfolio. They have seen fantastic growth, and target continuing to grow significantly across their portfolio.
Vasant Nangia, Managing Director, Fossil India Pvt Ltd, informed, “Fossil and our other brands have seen a growth of 50 per cent over a small base (this is keeping in mind all our brands have distinct target consumers). We expect to achieve similar figures for the next fiscal.”
Apart from the standalone boutiques of Diesel, Burberry, Emporio Armani, and DKNY where they sell watches, they are also present in major department stores such as Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, and multi-brand chains such as Helios, Ethos, Just in Vogue, and top-end independents across the country.
When asked about their expansion plans, Vasant shared, “The spurt of malls across the country has boded well for brands like Fossil, DKNY, Emporio Armani, and Diesel which retail through departmental stores like Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop and also exclusive watch retailers like Ethos and Helios. Their expansion into Tier II & III cities has helped us penetrate the market better. While we do not have current plans to open any standalone stores, we continue to grow with our partners, both in terms of distribution spread and brands. If the FDI magic wand for retail gets waved for India 2012, you should keep your eyes and ears open for some good news on Fossil.”
The current size of the Indian watch market is Rs 5,000 crore, of which luxury watches account for about Rs 1,500 crore. The market is set to go more than double in the next five years to around Rs 8,500 crore growing at 10-15 per cent every year, driven by youth and premium segment of consumers. In terms of volumes, the organised players currently command 40 per cent of the industry (around 460 lakh units annually) and the rest 60 per cent by the unorganised segment (grey market). Watches are typically segmented into specialist watches and fashion watches. All International watch brands have a clear position as to where they belong. In India, most sales are in the fashion segment. Male watch buyers far outnumber females and account for around 65 per cent of sales.
“Today, the Indian consumer no longer sees a watch as a functional necessity. The Indian consumer is extremely brand-conscious and sees it as a status symbol that showcases his distinctive personality. The brands we handle can be segregated into premium fashion (Fossil, Diesel, DKNY & Michael Kors) and luxury brands (Burberry & Emporio Armani). Out of the two groups, faster growth can be expected in the premium fashion segment as the consumers get their first taste of luxury and are ready to explore further. In terms of numbers, Fossil is of course our leading brand while Diesel, DKNY and Emporio Armani vie for second place. These fall in between the price band of Rs 3,995-34,995. While our fashion brands move faster than the luxury brands, all our brands are doing considerably well in their unique customer base.” The price range of the different watch brands that Fossil sells lies between Rs 1,495 and Rs 50,000.
Elaborating on their marketing strategies, Vasant added, “We are in the business of fashion, and India is now ready for graduating from utility brands to fashion so we are in the right place at the right time. Fossil has the global rights for manufacture and distribution of all the brands under their corporate umbrella through multi-brand stores and individual boutiques. We are consistent in offering great value across our portfolio, and yet each brand has a distinct target in terms of the demographic/social profile. Then we look for the right place to meet our target audience so you would not find our brands in every corner store. And finally, we aim to deliver a great customer experience through our product, merchandising, service, and so on.”
Fossil’s core target audience (men and women) falls in the range of 20-30 years of age. The target for Emporio Armani and Burberry is more mature in terms of age, style, and taste. The collections are usually updated four times a year as part of the Spring, Summer, Fall and Holiday seasons for all brands. Fossil is mainly focused on activities close to the customer – such as at point of sale rather than mass media. They trust that they understand the needs of their target audiences for each of their brands and believe in focused marketing activities, so they could do some BTL activities appropriate to the brand. “The Indian market is extremely price-quality sensitive, it makes sense to enter the gigantic market in a phased manner. Watch marketers have to use strategic multimedia platforms to reach out to their target consumers and it is also imperative to have the right local partners – dealers, distributors and retailers which help with the point-of-sale and after-sale services. We have done this quite successfully with our retail partners. We also use leading watch trade journals to communicate the various schemes, new launches and events with a dealer-retailer base that is spread across a vast geographic distance”, Vasant added.
The company’s primary medium of communication is their Point of Sale. The in-store brand communication is frequently and regularly updated. He stated, “We ensure that our Point of Sale communicates a story through the freshness in visuals and newness in seasonal watch styles. We also rely on positive word of mouth and positive coverage in media. You will find us in industry stories, fashion photo shoots and wherever our category and fashion in general are covered.”
The most recent launch has been for the brand Diesel. Diesel is an unconventional fashion brand that has established itself as the ‘casual alternative to luxury’. Their latest range of timeframes ‘Diesel Studio Mixer’ revolving around a music theme was recently unveiled. Diesel Studio Mixer timeframes are a collection of five distinct styles reminiscent of early music equipment which produced the first records. The durable black canvas straps with brushed stainless steel faces are all brought together with a modern ‘black and yellow’ theme. The collection is strategically and attractively priced between Rs 5,995-15,995. This collection will be available at select Lifestyle, Shoppers Stop, Helios and Ethos stores across the country. As for advertising regarding the new collection, Vasant commented, “The launch was supplemented by a short outdoor campaign as a run-up to the event. Full page ads have been placed in widely read music and lifestyle magazines. Also, a cleverly designed window for the Studio Mixer collection is displayed at the point of sale.”