Retail Feb, 25 2010

Watch out for profits

Arrival of enchanting designs and innovative technologies are augmenting the watch industry to a large extent. The sector is not just catering to the rising demands of the customers but also generating franchising opportunities for aspirants as well. Read

By Ramanjit Kaur
Feature Writer
Watch out for profits

Wrist watches, once a necessity, now account for a style statement. All thanks to the number of domestic and international brands that are making a beeline for the Indianmarket. These popular brands are effectively utilising the franchise route to strengthen their roots and raise their shares in India. This article gives an insight into the journey of the watch industry from a mere necessity to a lifestyle accessory.

The Indian watch industry has been dominated for a long time by HMT (Hindustan Machine Tools Ltd). But the entry of players like Titan and Timex has left the pioneers of the sector far behind. The rapid growth in the disposable incomes of individuals and rising standards of living has led the watch industry to scale new heights. With the introduction of innovative technologies, custom-designed, trendy pieces by international players, the demand for watches especially luxury watches has increased manifold. Franchising has become the preferred mode of expansion for the domestic and the foreign players of the watch industry.

Contributing factors for growth

The change in the perception of the Indian consumers and the improved purchasing power, coupled with the liberalisation of the Indian market has led to a boom in the watch industry. The industry is witnessing tremendous growth and is growing at an average rate of 10 to 15 per cent per year. The estimated annual market size is around 195 million dollars. With the growth and the long standing Indian tradition of identifying watches with jewellery and other traditional items, many watch companies are now interested in entering the emerging Indian market via franchising. Moreover, the concept of gifting watches on several occasions like marriages, birthdays and so on have also added to their popularity.

Franchise trends

The Indian watch industry is witnessing the presence of a large number of organised domestic and international brands that are opting for franchise route for expansion. For instance:

  • Titan (Tommy Hilfiger, Hugo Boss, Fastrack, Sonata)
  • Swatch Group India Pvt. Ltd (Omega, Rado, Tissot, Endura, Longines)
  • Timex (Marc Ecko, Salvatore Ferragamo, Vincent Berard, Versace, Versus, Guess, GC, Nautica, Opex, Helix and Avirex)
  • Maxima
  • Gitanjali Lifestyle (Noraletto, Nina Ricci and Times Avenue)
  • International Watch Company and a few more

These companies exercise three typical formats for showcasing their innovative product lines, which are exclusive brand outlets, shop-in-shops and multi-brand outlets. Besides this, there are few multi-brands outlets that deal in a large number of foreign and domestic brands of watches. However, only few well recognised outlets practise franchising, one of them is Ethos.

SWOT analysis of the watch industry

Wrist watches are an integral part of people’s lives. They are not just meant to tell time rather they symbolise the style statement of the individual. These days, customers are extremely selective with respect to the brand and the type of watches they wear. Being brand conscious, their tastes and preferences change with time, in accordance with trends. Consumers have gone beyond the realm of durability and high prices of watches. So, it is speculated that demands for fashionable watches and fine luxury watches are all set to grow in the future. All this is helping the watch industry to flourish to its fullest thereby, offering immense opportunities for the entrepreneurs.

The advent of international and luxury brands has led to fierce competition. As a result of which, the domestic players have up graded their product lines to survive the competition and generate good profit margins. However, the well recognised entities are jostling for display spaces in the various shops to exhibit the multitude of their designs and to cut competition. In addition to these, the limited number of EBOs in this sector reduces the accessibility of customers to the latest products. Moreover, the watch industry is facing a big threat from the mobile industry as mobile phones have become an excellent substitute for watches.

In spite of these factors, the sector is full of opportunity for aspirants who want to enter the sector and establish their business in it. With the right planning and associating with the right partner (franchisor), there is a huge scope for success in this industry.

Related: Costume Jewellery Offering Genuine Profits

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