After suffering a major setback in the months of lockdown, Titan Company’s watch and wearables unit made a comeback with an 88 per cent improvement in the third quarter. Suparna Mitra, CEO of Titan Company’s watch and wearables unit, told Samreen Ahmed that the category is expected to improve 100 per cent by the March quarter. Here are the highlights:
Titan’s jewelery unit has already returned to growth. When will the watch category see an increase?
We are aiming for 100 per cent improvement in the March quarter and after that the mind will return to the path of growth in the first quarter of 2022. Kovid gave us time to look at various processes including manufacturing, supply chain, marketing and retail that had been operating in the company in the same manner for the past 30 years. We have realized our current strength and this time has helped us in acquiring new strengths like Omnichannel. Due to the global pandemic epidemic, many people were searching for products online and that traffic was directed to the stores for which we now have a dedicated team. There are many products in our retail store which are not available offline but can be purchased online. Currently, about 5% of our sales are through Omnichannel. This hybrid model is also going to be the future of the Titan watch unit.
Are you planning to exit the loss-making sales channel?
Most malls were closed during the second and third quarters. Therefore, stores in larger formats did not show much attraction but started showing improvement from January. We closed around 20 stores in the watch business last year because they were no longer viable. We plan to open 50 to 60 stores this year.
How important is the Smart wearables category for Titan?
Smart means technology and consumers demand. What makes us special is how we use technology to meet the needs of consumers. Kovid’s year has been a year when the smartwatch category performed well, and some innovative products quickly worked. During this time, we introduced contactless payment watch, Titan Pay and smart fitness gear, Tracu etc. We are working to launch many other products and there are plans to roll out 8 smart wearables in FY 2022. Apart from this we are also designing in-house apps for these smartwatches. Smartwear currently accounts for about 5 per cent of the watch business’s revenue. We expect this figure to increase to 10 to 15 percent in the next few years. We are seeing 100 per cent year-on-year growth in this category over the next 2 to 3 years.
Are you planning to acquire a start-up?
We acquired Hyderabad-based company Hug Innovations last year. We will continue to collaborate with various start-ups for innovative technology in the region.
Is Titan preparing to enter a new category?
We are focusing on small businesses like fragrances, apparel and accessories. Currently no new category is being assessed.