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Sep, 10 2010

WATCH OUT FOR EYEWEAR

WEAR your success on your sleeves if you are vying for an entry into the watches and eyewear sector.

WEAR your success on your sleeves if you are vying for an entry into the watches and eyewear sector. For, it offers wearable products in two segments and has emerged as a potential organised sector. New technology and global designs are driving it further. Franchisees have a lot to look out for and reap profits.

Business potential

Wrist watches and eyewear have become an integral part of people's lives and are now looked upon as an extension of their personality. This is what drives them to a branded store. Though 70 per cent of sale in the watches segment is still prevalent in the unorganised sector, a shift can be seen towards the branded players. As customers have surpassed the realm of durability and high prices of watches, the demand for fashionable and fine luxury watches is bound to soar, opening up more doors of opportunities. Jeslin Panakal, Group Marketing Head, The Rose Group of Companies, elaborates, “The Indian watch market is estimated to be around 40 to 45 million pieces annually. The Indian watch market is growing at an approximate rate of 10 per cent year-on-year and the organised sector is growing at a brisk rate of 30 per cent annually. The organised sector has been growing at a steady pace in the last decade with the opening up of the economy and the advent of international brands in the Indian space.”

Titan, Timex, Maxima, The Rose Group, Citizen watches, Ethos and Gitanjali are some of the key franchise players.

The eyewear industry in India is growing at a CAGR of 1.4 per cent and will exceed the $68 billion by 2013. Sunglasses and visioncare are the segments that aspiring franchisees can venture into. Brands are looking at venturing into tier I and II cities. The premium and value segment are growing rapidly and it is advisable to grow with brands in these segments.

Loopholes

As the competition increases, franchisors are looking for new retail formats to venture into to increase their presence, footfalls and profits. Aspiring franchisees can choose from amongst exclusive stores, multi-brand outlets, shop-in-shop concept and even kiosks, according to the level of investment.

It is advisable to go in for a shop-in-shop model as it will give you the advantage of offering four-five brands under one roof. Throwing light on the challenges, Panakal tells, “The biggest challenge is the extremely heavy import tax policy of the government towards international watch brands imported into the country. Our country and government enforces close to 100 per cent taxation by way of import duties, excise, inter-state taxation, value added tax and octroi. While the government is seemingly protecting the Indian watch manufacturing industry, these tax implications do not provide the customer parity in pricing for international brands as compared to other markets like Dubai, Hong Kong, Singapore, etc.”

Franchisability

As a franchise concept, watches and eyewear are relatively young markets. However, replicating the franchise business model is not cumbersome. As the support and training comes from the franchisor, there is not much that you need to be worried about. Ronnie Talati, VP and Business Head, Fastrack, avers, “For a franchisee, it is very easy to partner with us. We receive a lot of request from the existing World of Titan franchisees, who are keen on further taking up the franchise of Fastrack. We offer training in operations, stock, display and merchandising.”

Financial viability

The financial statistics of the industry are alluring enough that franchisees can look at it as a profitable decision to step in. With investments beginning from a mere Rs 10 lakh and moving up on the spectrum, return on investments can range anywhere above 15 per cent. The profit margins are also quite enticing, keeping in mind that location and footfalls play a key role.

Exit option

The beginning of a venture is always exciting for a new entrepreneur. But with time, dedication and effort need to be sustained. But those who cannot cope up with the same should know about their exit options. A typical franchise term in this industry is three year with the option of renewing it, if the business is proving to be what you wished for. The company has the last say in such matters but do put on the table the offers that can be looked into.

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