Franck Dardenne, General Manager, LVMH Watch & Jewellery India Private Limited, shares his take on the Indian luxury watch market and TAG Heuer’s plans for India with Manvi Sethi
What is the current market share of Tag Heuer in the luxury watch market?
Today, one luxury watch out of 10 is a TAG Heuer. Our goal is now to gain market share in India, to be ready the day India becomes a big watch market. TAG Heuer set up its Indian subsidiary in 2002 and, since that time, has maintained its leadership position. India is still a small market. It was the 26th market as per Swiss watch exports in 2013. TAG Heuer does much better but still, India is not yet in the top 15 markets for us. But we do go on investing so that the day the market grows, we get to obtain the dividends of steady investments and the high appeal we enjoy among Indian customers.
What’s your projection about the market five years down the line and how do you foresee your share?
It is difficult to answer to such a question since nobody knows how the market will evolve, when it becomes big, and how other brands will chalk out their investment plans.
But for sure, we want to maintain our leadership position. We will make sure that TAG Heuer is the first brand spoken about in the Indian press.
This year you will see how serious TAG Heuer is about the Indian market.
What has been the sales turnover for Tag Heuer in FY12-13 in India? What percentage of that is from mobiles, eyewear and other accessories?
We are not allowed to answer such questions as we are a listed company.
Our core business remains watches: this is our gene, our identity. Eyewear came as a brand extension because of our ability to manage micro precision technologies.
We are very happy to see how the red Avant-Garde eyewear has fared in the Indian market, after having been worn by Shah Rukh Khan. Being Avant-Garde, we decided to expand to mobile phones and now enjoy one of the top two positions among luxury phones.
Especially the Meridiist 2 has, since November, received a very warm welcome in India. Lifestyle accessories are special offerings, available only in our TAG Heuer boutiques.
How does Tag Heuer plan to capture the young people’s imagination? Are separate campaigns and product lines in the offing?
No, I do not think any young person would be happy to have some league B watches. In our case, our formula to be appealing to them has worked. We are perceived as a brand of dynamic people who are on their way up and who want to find a watch which embodies their success.
The Indian luxury market has remained very limited due to prohibitive taxes and duties. Are there indications that things may change?
Unfortunately, the signs we get are not very clear. Think for example the question of FDI. It may look encouraging but the condition of local sourcing can not be applied to Swiss-made watches. But in the long term, it is rational that custom duties are revised downwards. We will be able to invest what we pay now in duties. This will generate and sustain more jobs and will create a better retail environment.
Who are Tag Heuer’s principal competitors when it comes to the luxury watch and chronograph market in India?
We are primarily here to build the market. Fight against a competitor comes secondary. There is a lot more we need to do to educate the market. In chronographs, we are the absolute leaders and do not have much competition.
Indeed, TAG Heuer has been the undisputed pioneer of modern chronographs, from the invention of the oscillating pinion to the invention of the first automatic one in 1969.
For watches, we will expand our range, responding more to the demand of the customers than to outrun the competitor.
We strongly believe that the right road of success for TAG Heuer in India will be to remain ourselves, especially with the tremendous goodwill and brand value it enjoys in the Indian market.
Dinaz Madhukar Senior Vice President & Mall Head, DLF Emporio, New Delhi manages India’s only dedicated luxury shopping mall since 2010. WCRC Leaders Asia’s Dhruv Bhatia engages her in a conversation to find out more about the business side of luxury shopping
What was the idea behind DLF Emporio? Why call it ‘Emporio’?
Till a few years back, luxury retail was only meant for the elite. There were just a handful of luxury brands accessible and that too in five star hotels only. But over the years, increasing urbanisation has monetarily empowered the consumer which has further helped the luxury market to find a firm footing for itself. A new chapter started in the history of luxury retail in India with the opening of DLF Emporio in New Delhi. There is no other place where such a wealth of designers and luxury merchandise is retailed under one roof. India has a vibrant and promising luxury market which keeps growing every year. DLF Emporio sees India as a growing market for luxury brands to invest in. Today, a number of international brands look at India as a country that provides promising opportunities for it is a fast growing luxury market. The luxury market witnessed a robust growth of 20 per cent from 2009 and is estimated that by 2015, India and China will account for a quarter of the global luxury demand.
The term ‘Emporio’, in Spanish, means ‘a shopper’s paradise’.
Do you see a saturation point for DLF Emporio in the near future?
The present scenario of India as an economy does not show any levels of saturation for luxury shopping. As DLF Emporio is 100 per cent leased out, DLF has put into motion the construction of two more luxury malls in Chanakyapuri and Gurgaon respectively to accommodate brands that want to enter the Indian Luxury market. We are seeing a lot more demand and interest in the Indian luxury market coming from both Indian and international brands. As discussed, India is a developing nation and home to the biggest young population chunk in the world with increasing purchasing power.
You just had the second DLF Emporio Design Awards 2013 a few weeks back. And before that, there was a sales preview and unveiling of a sculpture. What kind of statement is Emporio trying to make?
Our endeavour is to reach out to as many aspirational Indians who appreciate luxury products and services. We promote ourselves as India’s top luxury destination, housing brands from across the world. Being India’s only luxury destination, one can always look forward to getting the top-end stuff from around the world right here. We believe in constant communication with our patrons, to make shopping a delightful experience for them. We keep them updated on DLF Emporio happenings, events and offers at the mall through monthly newsletters and social media activities. Varied events, exclusive collection and sales previews are hosted to ensure that a connect is maintained between the brands and our customers.
DLF Emporio’s annual brand properties such as Luxury Shopping Festival, Rarest of Rare, DLF Design Awards, festive pop up stores & installation and Treasury of Trousseau assist the brands to showcase their products and consumers also get to explore what luxury brands are offering for a particular season.
Highlight the value-added services/USP when it comes to customer service and expectations.
Luxury retailers are finding innovative ways to interact with their patrons, be it personalised shopping, in-store events or digital look-books and catalogues in store. Needless to say, excellent service standards are paramount in the luxury industry and will continue to play a vital role in the coming years. We, at DLF Emporio, aim to provide a top-of-the-line luxury shopping experience to all our guests. Trained by some of the most prestigious hotel operations teams in the country, DLF Emporio concierge services are tailored at par with any luxury hotel in the world.
We have a dedicated concierge team that offers guests personalised assistance which include hands free shopping, wheel chair services, baby strollers, money exchange, restaurant bookings, taxi services on call, travel and sightseeing information to name a few.
What are the factors that drive The Emporio to stand apart from other commercial malls across the country?
DLF Emporio has become a name synonymous with luxury. The stress is on exclusivity, space and aesthetics. Luxury brands such as Canali, Dior, DKNY, Gucci, Fendi, Louis Vuitton, Versace, Porsche Design, etc. are all housed under one roof. The best Indian designers such as Aashima Leena, Manish Arora, Rajesh Pratap Singh, Rina Dhaka and Satya Paul, to name a few, have also set up their shops here. DLF Emporio houses 74 international labels and 111 Indian designers.
How does DLF Emporio plan to capture the young people’s imagination? Are separate communications/campaigns and product lines in the offing?
The digital medium is very important to us and it allows for direct and two-way communication with our patrons on an ongoing basis. Today, with technology advancements and the rising growth of social media, we are effectively engaging with our patrons. DLF Emporio is very active on social media portals such as Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.
In an effort to make shopping a captivating experience, DLF Emporio communicates regularly through its website, monthly newsletters and digital look-books. We have nearly 120,000 likes on Facebook and have witnessed younger audiences engaging with us on the latest in fashion, style and luxury.
A recent campaign of ours that received an overwhelming response was the DLF Emporio Design Awards wherein we aimed to push raw talent in fashion design.
In an interview with WCRC Leaders Asia, Bedraj Tripathy, Senior General Manager, Advertising & Communication, Godrej Interio, shares the brand’s plans and his take on life
with Viral Vyas
It has been a few years now since Godrej Interio was established. How has the journey been so far?
Ever since its inception in 2008, it has been interesting. The thought process behind forming Godrej Interio stemmed from the fact that we used to have two businesses: one was dealing purely in office furniture and the other one was of storewels which is storage for homes. Then, both of them were merged as a furniture group. Luckily, it has not been a story of ups and downs but one of just ups as the market has grown. Almost 87 per cent of the market is unorganised while 13 per cent is controlled by branded players. Thus, the market is very large and the opportunity to grow is large as well. In fact, until five years back, the unorganised market was as large as 93 per cent. So this growth is a good sign and the market will continue to grow.
What has led to this growth?
There have been a couple of factors at work. Cheap imports from outside have played a role. So people have moved out from carpentered to cheaper furniture which is available readymade, have burnt their fingers and then said let’s buy a product that offers quality. The other aspect is changing lifestyles. People today don’t have the time to spare months for a quality piece to be built. This is where quality readymade furniture helps.
What are the challenges that you face while dealing in both B2B as well as B2C products?
The challenges for both are completely different. The challenges for B2C are distribution, brand differentiation and customer service. Customer service is the key. If we sell a product and if the installation guy comes after a month, then we have lost the customer. Some customers prefer that their product is delivered on a Sunday. So, that has to be taken care of. We simply can’t say that we don’t work on Sundays. We have to because in the customer’s mind it is service. From the customer being the king, we have moved a step forward. Today, the customer owns the brand, owns the product. We need to identify customer voices and their demands and requirements on a continuous basis. In B2B, the biggest challenge lies in distribution serviceability to the sector. You might have a small requirement like two chairs for an ATM but we have to deliver. Sometimes, you have to reach places where connectivity becomes an issue but you need to find ways to make sure you deliver. Thus, this becomes a big challenge in B2B.
A part of the budget goes into experimental marketing. Can you share some details with us?
Approximately 40 per cent of the budget are kept for experiments. Experiments are important because some products are required not just to make money but to build your image. We also have an app on Google Play that can be downloaded and a customer can see how a particular product will look at his home in a particular place. It works on augmented reality.
With all the challenges that
corporates face today, stress levels are at an all time high. How do you manage to de-stress yourself?
What is important is to deal with it rather than running away from it. It’s a choice you make wherein you decide if you want that stress or you don’t want that stress. Planning your schedule helps in a big way. You need to plan things and figure out your schedules well, because at the end of the day there will be stress in every industry. This has more to do with the choices you make and how you deal with it. Personally, I like to meditate. It helps me. Cooking is something that I feel is a great stress reliever. Sometimes the stress is also out of your control. If a customer demands something, you have to give it to him. You can’t say, “I am on a vacation” or “I am not working today”. Emergencies or some situations may arise that may be out of your control but you learn to deal with it. You have to figure out ways to deal with it.
What, according to you, are
hallmarks of a good leader?
The biggest hallmark of a quality leader is in setting an example for
others. If a leader only speaks through words but his actions do not back them up, it won’t help in the long run. A good leader must also have a bird’s eye view. He must look at people who are contributing in small ways but are able to think big and beyond. Lastly, a good leader should be able to monitor without getting involved in it. The moment he gets involved in the process, he is working on it when he is not supposed to and at the same time he is not letting the other person learn. Thus, he has to be able to monitor without poking his nose in the process.
Speaking of leaders, who are some of the leaders in and outside the corporate world who have really inspired you?
Nandan Nilekani is someone I admire. The fact that he was thinking about the social security number and working towards implementing it was commendable. Mr and Mrs Ambrose, a teacher couple who taught me in school, have also influenced my life a lot. I learnt a lot from my father J. N. Tripathy who worked for the state electricity board in the power generation department.
His ability to deal with stress and his commitment towards his job are a few things I always admired and learnt a lot from. He also taught me how to cut off from work which is something that people in the corporate world really need to figure out. You need to have time for yourself at the end of the day. You need to rejuvenate after finishing your work.