Managing Director | 22 Mar 2003
"Timex has captured market share amongst the young and young-at-heart, upwardly mobile, sporty, fashion conscious and those who follow the latest trends in technology"
This time in Brand Speak we talk to Kapil Kapoor, Managing Director, Timex Watches Ltd., about the growing competition in the watch segment, changes in its brand positioning and its initiatives to break even.
Q. Can you tell us about some of the recent marketing initiatives?
As part of the company's growth strategy in the current year, we plan to differentiate the brand at key retail outlets by creating a fantastic retail experience at 100 key stores in India called Club Timex. This concept is designed to be used flexibly in a range of options based on the space available at the best retail locations all over the country. The Club TIMEX can be an exclusive showroom, or at a minimum, an exclusive designer space within a retail outlet. The Club TIMEX retail format creates customer delight with a snazzy ambience, a dazzling array of select brand new TIMEX watches and prompt service and spares for the full range of TIMEX customers, past, present and future. The first ever Club TIMEX Showroom opened in Secunderabad followed by the second one at Bangalore. Our association with cricket has come a long way and was strengthened last year after our successful partnership with Wisden Indian Cricketer of the Century Awards, where we presented a 'one-off' designer watch studded with brilliants to Kapil Dev, Wisden Indian Cricketer of the Century. Taking our cricket link forward, we have tied up with 'Predicta', one of biggest game shows centered on the world cup and would present a replica of the 'one-off' designer watch to the winner of the contest.
Q. How has the positioning of TIMEX changed in past 2 years? Why was it changed?
PrTimex has now been positioned as a brand for the cognoscenti Indian. The brand has now got over its earlier imagery of catering, largely to the price-conscious youth only. Over the last two years, Timex has emerged as a sporty, techy and fashionable international brand. Timex has captured dramatic market share amongst the young and young-at-heart, the internationally oriented, upwardly mobile, sporty, fashion conscious and those who follow the latest trends in technology.
Q. Around the world TIMEX is known for its rugged, value for money watches. How is the Indian market different, and what is its proposition?
Timex is the number one watch of the US and Canada and a leading player in many other markets around the world. It has international stature and is known more for its sporty and techy proposition world over and in India too. The Indian watch market has matured over the years and has seen a paradigm shift from gold to white metal, which is in line with international trends. Till 2001, the Indian watch market was dominated by gold. We introduced our Cognoscenti and Matrix range in metal and bi-metal in 2001 targeting the smart, fashionable and techno-savvy Indian youth. Soon to our realisation, it became a trend and other watch players followed suit. Our Big Bold & Beautiful collection launched in May 2002 paved the way for the new big 'n' chunky looks of today. The Indian watch industry as any other industry viz. clothes, personal accessories, takes cue from the international trends and goes with it. Sporty and casual looks are seeing a growing trend today.
Q. Why was the technology platform chosen? Can you provide us with some marketing insight?
Timex offers groundbreaking innovations in wrist-based technology because of a strong heritage in technology. Timex invented and launched the electroluminiscent technology in the world in 1992 - known the world over as the Indiglo today. In addition, Timex Datalink, Timex Heart Rate Monitor, Timex Speed & Distance GPS Watch, Timex Digital Compass, Timex MP3 and Timex Internet Messenger are some breakthrough watches developed by our R&D team, which are known for their high-tech features. Timex has focused on offering useful technology innovatively to the user. Not just cold technology but technology that helps one ticking in one's everyday life. Easy to use and relevant e.g. an analog watch with a light is elementary but there are not too many watches that can offer that.
Q. Which segment of Indian Watch Industry is growing at a fastest rate?
The segment between Rs.1000-3000 is growing at the fastest rate. Timex's share in this segment has grown steadily in this price band and we are working on having a significant share of our business (more than 50% in value) being catered to by this segment, with new product launches, marketing initiatives and latest international trends.
Q. What are the sales revenues of Timex for the year 2002?
Our sales for the quarter ended Dec 31, 2002 has gone up by 40 per cent to 23.47 crores from 16.80 crores in the quarter ended Dec 31, 2001. The company's sales have increased by 26 per cent to 56.33 crores over the last 9 months ended Dec 31, 2002. We also recorded a remarkable increase in our market share from 15 % to 22 % in the year 2002 as compared to the previous year, according to a study by KSA - Technopak. The survey titled involved random retail telephonic interviews with 50 key retailers across four zones, which was a representative sample of a total of 300 retailers spread evenly all over India.
Q. What is your strategy, is it about to take away the market share from the competitors or its about expanding the market share?
Our strong performance in last quarter and increase in market share are key indicators of the success of the company and growing market leadership through our emphasis on technology, trendiness and reliability. With the restructuring of our supply chain we are poised to take advantages of the emerging opportunities in the year 2003 and are confident of achieving our target market share of 33 % by the year 2004. We always look forward to introduce the latest happening trends in India for the cognoscenti Indian.
Q. What are the newer trends you see in Indian Watch segment?
Big, Bold is still in; there is a trend towards 2-tones in Gold plus Steel i.e Bi-colour watches have been catching on; Sporty, outdoorsy material/texture/colors are seeing a growing trend. Also feature-laden watches with lots of buttons are in vogue with younger kids. Convergence of technology seems to be the new mantra internationally and there are a lot of high-tech watches hitting the market. Never-seen-before Indiglo displays, internet messenger watches, heart rate monitors, eco-friendly watches, 100-hour chronograph with lap, etc have already become popular features today.
Q. What steps is TIMEX taking to increase its distribution in the country?
We have 21 exclusives around the country. But, we definitely find merit in being "where the action is" and that is certainly in high traffic areas. In addition to our traditional distribution channels which are being expanded and strengthened all the time, we are going in shortly for over a 100 TIMEX kiosks called Club TIMEX in leading retailing stores around the country under a "shop-in-shop" concept that will sharply raise our visibility. We plan to spread the Club TIMEX to at least 100 locations by the end of March 2003.
Q. What are the sales revenues expected in 2003 - 2004?
We are expecting a compounded annual growth of approx 20-25%.
Q. Being one of the best brand of watch in India, TIMEX has been constantly in losses, when is it likely to turn profitable?
It is imperative to fix the basics first and build a strong brand. Once you do that, it always an equity you can monetise into a P&L position. We are looking set to break even in the next fiscal 2003-04.