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'Premium and luxury segments becoming more prominent in India'

By Aneeka Chatterjee
March 09, 2024 13:48 IST
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'The Indian economy is expected to grow in terms of per capita income and GDP, and with that, the luxury segment becomes more relevant.'

Photograph: Kind courtesy Tanishq Jewellery/Instagram

Titan Company is anticipating continued dominance in the jewellery sector due to its substantial size.

Chief Financial Officer Ashok Sonthalia tells Aneeka Chatterjee/Business Standard in a video interview that the company is aiming for margin optimisation through cost control and growth through international expansion and product diversification.


Which business segments will drive growth in the coming quarters?

The size of each business is different. Jewellery is the largest industry with Rs 5 lakh crore vis-a-vis watches or eye care, which would be around Rs 10,000 or Rs 20,000 crore.

Jewellery will continue to be the primary driver of the financial performance and its share will not come down easily.

The absolute growth rate of businesses like eye care, watches, Taneira (the apparel brand under Titan), and international businesses can be higher in terms of percentage growth rate.

Do you see a change in consumer behaviour for the premium segment?

India is gradually coming to a stage where premium and luxury segments are becoming more prominent.

The Indian economy is expected to grow in terms of per capita income and GDP, and with that, the luxury segment becomes more relevant.

In the past 18 months, factors like interest rates going up, the bottom of the pyramid or the entry point of various categories showed a certain slowdown and difficulty in their ability to spend.

At this point, the entry point across categories is exhibiting stress whereas premium and luxury segments are doing well.

This behaviour is likely to continue in India for some time till the next 6-12 months, as the disruption is largely due to high-interest rates and inflation.

How is Titan addressing the inclination of consumer behaviour towards the premium segment?

As far as Titan is concerned, every category - jewellery, watches, eye care, fragrance, Taneira - has a clear strategy on how to keep inching up on the value chain, offering more premium products while holding the entry-level wherever we are present.

But there is a distinct focus on high-value jewellery, like our premium luxury diamond jewellery brand Zoya, which is expanding its number of stores and offerings.

In watches, our multi-international brand Helios is also expanding rapidly.

Simultaneously in the analogue space, we are coming up with more premium products, either under Edge, Sonata, or Nebula.

In eye care, there are international brands as well as our house brands, which are premium both in lenses and frames.

Hence, category-by-category business teams are working on addressing the premium customer segments through channel, brand or expansion.

What are the initiatives to boost Titan's market competitiveness?

We opened our first store in Dubai in October 2020 and we are trying to grow rapidly. That's a big opportunity for us.

The global Indian diaspora is prosperous in various pockets of the globe and we can address them, and gradually, the adjacent communities and local nationalities too.

The international business division has a huge growth opportunity, and we are working on it.

In India, there is a great opportunity in the jewellery division with Carat Lane, Mia, Tanishq, and Zoya.

These businesses are trying to cater to the widest range of customer segments.

Our watch segment is on premiumisation and we see huge opportunities in India.

Delivering a consistent margin profile at a company level is the philosophy at this point, and accordingly, all these steps are being taken.

Could you elaborate on the company's other global expansion plans?

In terms of geographies, we are already present in the US, UAE, Qatar, and Singapore. Canada might happen later.

We might open up in one or two more countries. Our focus will be to penetrate countries where we are already present and serve customers.

Currently, we have 14 international stores and will have between 25-30 international stores by the end of the financial year 2025.

The international business would double. Apart from jewellery, we have started seeding the eye-care segment in the UAE market and have received good preliminary responses.

This is currently in the pilot stage. We will be putting up a few more stores to further solidify our understanding of the market.

Feature Presentation: Aslam Hunani/

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