Fastrack’s fashion-tech gambit: One-stop shop for Gen Z

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September 26, 2022

The Indian smart wearables market is expected to register a CAGR of 23.91% over the 2022-27 period.

There is no stopping Fastrack —the Titan Company brand wants to be the one-stop shop for all the cool Gen Z accessories.

Last month, the brand launched Reflex Play+, its first ever Bluetooth-calling smartwatch, priced at an affordable Rs 6,995. Earlier this year, Fastrack extended the Reflex portfolio to Reflex Vox, a smartwatch, at just under Rs 7,000. Last year, Fastrack added activity trackers and wireless earbuds to its portfolio.

Says Ajay Maurya, marketing head, Fastrack, “Anything new which happens in the space of fashion or technology, the first group to get really impacted is the Gen Z and they are the first adopters. Tapping on to this target group (TG) is extremely important because these are the trend catchers, and some of them are even the opinion leaders in the market to influence purchases.”

In line with its strategy to be known as a fashion tech (‘fash-tech’) brand, Fastrack in 2021 changed its positioning statement from Move On to You Do You to fuel the fearless expression of Gen Z’s (18-26 years) fluid identity. It also onboarded Sanya Malhotra as ambassador.

Says Ajay Maurya, marketing head, Fastrack, “Anything new which happens in the space of fashion or technology, the first group to get really impacted is the Gen Z and they are the first adopters. Tapping on to this target group (TG) is extremely important because these are the trend catchers, and some of them are even the opinion leaders in the market to influence purchases.”

In line with its strategy to be known as a fashion tech (‘fash-tech’) brand, Fastrack in 2021 changed its positioning statement from Move On to You Do You to fuel the fearless expression of Gen Z’s (18-26 years) fluid identity. It also onboarded Sanya Malhotra as ambassador.

Staying relevant

But why Gen Z? India’s Gen Z population of 375 million has already exceeded China’s 250 million. This cohort possesses massive purchasing power and is therefore the target of a range of brands. Maurya says Fastrack has a “hand-in-glove association” with the group. Out of its total business, close to 60% of this comes from GenZ customers.

Maurya adds that the Reflex brand is likely to grow at the rate of 200% this year, over the last. The strategy, he says, is to place an assortment of smartwatches across the price spectrum to appeal to a wide group of consumers. Most of its smartwatches are in the Rs 4,000 – 7,000 bracket, so it plans to enter the economy segment, with wearables starting at `3,000.

The Indian smart wearables market is expected to register a CAGR of 23.91% over the 2022-27 period, as per Mordor Intelligence with the market seeing double-digit growth in the first quarter of 2022 as shipments crossed 13.9 million units. While incumbents Samsung and Xiaomi have had a strong presence in the space for some years now, new-age D2C brands are giving them a run for their money.

Speaking on the growing competition, Maurya says the brand hopes to introduce differentiated products that stay relevant for a long period of time, are difficult for the competition to imitate, and which will give Fastrack an edge in the market. “We are very strong with our design capabilities, which will be one of the biggest differentiators compared to any of the D2C brands that are available in the market,” he says.

Consumer response to the brand’s foray into audio accessories last year, however, has been lukewarm, says Maurya, adding that it is working to get the proposition right.

Looking ahead

Recent research from Counterpoint’s IoT service shows India’s smartwatch market grew 173% YoY in Q1 2022 (January-March). The report said Noise has 23% of market share, Fire-Boltt has 21% and boAt 18%. More than 10 brands entered this booming market in Q1 2022.

Staying relevant and in-sync with the cultural mood and fashion choices of Gen Z has been a challenge for the brand, says Devangshu Dutta, chief executive, Third Eyesight. He adds that Gen Z consumers are more fickle than loyal—they are spoilt for choices, have short attention spans, and are even more demanding than the older generations.

Fastrack currently retails through multi-brand outlets and 175-odd exclusive brand outlets. The offline retail outlets contribute around 65% to its total revenue, and the rest comes via the online channels. The company plans to double the network in a year’s time — with a special focus on tier-II, III cities. Third Eyesight’s Dutta says ensuring price-accessibility will be key to success here.

“While being digital first is the mantra for the brand and the pandemic has accelerated the shift towards online purchasing habits, the need to look and feel a product is coming back,” Maurya says. While digital takes up 50% of its ad spends, the rest is allocated to on-ground activities.

Reliance Retail plans ‘fast fashion’ stores to take fight to Zara

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September 22, 2022

Reliance Retail is planning to launch a new clothing and accessories brand store chain to compete directly with fast fashion brands Zara and H&M in India. “The new format, internally called Regalia, will be spread across 20,000-30,000 square feet, and the company could open six stores initially. They have finalised their store locations in Mumbai and Gurgaon (Gurugram) and have also signed properties in Hyderabad and Bangalore,” said two people privy to the launch.

JioMart on WhatsApp to give a tough fight to ecommerce giants like Amazon, Flipkart: Report

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September 20, 2022

New Delhi: The launch of online shopping experience by WhatsApp, along with Jio platforms, the holding company for the digital services businesses of Reliance Industries (RIL), will help these companies to take on e-commerce behemoths such as Jeff Bezos-controlled Amazon and Walmart-owned Flipkart.

Experts are of the view that the partnership will give JioMart, the e-commerce platform of RIL, around 48.7 crore WhatsApp users in India. At present, the total annualised active e-commerce users in the country are only 20 crore.

Rohan Agarwal, partner at research firm Redseer, told Business Standard: “WhatsApp is the primary messaging app for most Indians and the partnership shows the level of access JioMart would have to reach out to them.”

He went on add that it would help in expanding the reach of the e-commerce to users who might not be accessing online retail platforms.

To recap, speaking at the 45th AGM of RIL on Monday (August 29), Isha Ambani, director, Reliance Retail Ventures Ltd (RRVL), gave a presentation on placing online grocery orders using Meta-owned WhatsApp and making payments.

In a global first, JioMart on WhatsApp will aid users in India, including first-time online shoppers, to have a new shopping experience in ordering a wide range of groceries on WhatsApp. They will be able to shop via JioMart’s entire grocery catalogue by easily selecting their favourite items. Also, they will be able to add these products to the cart and pay without leaving the WhatsApp chat.

Mark Zuckerberg, founder and chief executive officer (CEO), Meta, said the association with JioMart would enable people to buy groceries from JioMart in a single chat.

Agarwal highlighted that most of the online grocery businesses generate from big cities and this alliance will be an opportunity for small cities and towns.

The financial daily quoted Devangshu Dutta, CEO, Third Eyesight, as saying that the partnership will have a big impact on the entire e-commerce industry.

He told the publication: “Reliance is the largest retailer in the country and with deep pockets. It wants to (tap) not just the big cities but small cities and towns as well. Given the fact that WhatApp is something consumers are comfortable with, and grocery is related to high-frequency purchases, they are firing on all cylinders.”

Dutta added that the crucial thing for both companies to be successful is to create a delivery process that is quick and cost-effective.

Source: timesnownews

Reading the tea leaves: From chai to high tea

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September 20, 2022

Written by Christina Moniz

Retail chains are on an expansion spree, riding on growing demand from a young consumer cohort

Just about a month back, Wagh Bakri Tea Group, the third largest packaged tea company in India with a turnover of over `1,500 crore, opened its 15th tea lounge in Noida’s upscale DLF Mall of India.

A little over two years ago, Chaayos’ physical footprint was 75 outlets across the country. Currently, its store count is 200.

Just about a month back, Wagh Bakri Tea Group, the third largest packaged tea company in India with a turnover of over `1,500 crore, opened its 15th tea lounge in Noida’s upscale DLF Mall of India.

A little over two years ago, Chaayos’ physical footprint was 75 outlets across the country. Currently, its store count is 200.

Get the drift?

Today the humble cuppa is much bigger than an excuse for roadside tittle-tattle. The rash of tea lounges and bars have taken what used to be, at its best, a social lubricant, and turned it into a `700-crore market.

Homegrown tea café chains have been quick to cash in on the out-of-home demand from a young consumer cohort, offering snacks, groovy ambience and even free wi-fi connectivity. Chains such as Chaayos, Chai Point and Wagh Bakri’s Tea Lounge are ramping up their offerings to cater to a segment for whom coffee shops were the default hang-out zone. Up until now.

But how sustainable are they, given that 80% of the tea drinking market is unorganised? Pramod Damodaran, CEO, Wagh Bakri Tea Lounge, says brands in this segment are catering to the “need state of the consumer”, whether it is meetings,family outings, a quick rest after shopping at the mall or a quiet moment in airports, offices or hospitals. “We elevate the tea drinking experience and make it premium, almost akin to how tea drinkers in the past would enjoy their tea at fancy hotels, but we offer the experience at affordable prices,” he says. While coffee chains offer muffins and croissants with their beverages, Wagh Bakri pairs its teas with pakoras, samosas and vada pav, which resonate more with the average Indian consumer.

Growing the market

Nitin Saluja, founder, Chaayos, draws parallels with global coffee brand, Starbucks. “Before Starbucks launched in the US, there were very few good quality coffee retail outlets. In the Indian context, before chai cafes were launched, consumers could barely enjoy a good cup of tea in a hygienic retail space outside their homes,” he says.

The pandemic, too, played its part in getting consumers to choose hygienic options. That is why home delivery, which was 20% of Chaayos’ revenue prior to the pandemic, now hovers around 30-35%.

The success of chai chains is a reflection of evolving consumer preferences. Saluja says despite the presence of huge international and homegrown brands in the coffee retail segment, the category earns an annual revenue of around 1,500 crore. “In comparison, there are only 3-4 homegrown chai café players, but their combined annual revenue is around700 crore. Only chai retail chains in India can replicate the success of coffee chains in the West,” he says.

Damodaran says his chain is not competing with coffee chains but rather catering to the growing need for cafes. It is for this reason that the brand also offers coffee across its outlets. Wagh Bakri has 15 tea lounges and 10 tea kiosks (Tea World) across Maharashtra, Gujarat and Delhi NCR but plans to ramp up its footprint in the North, West and South over the next three years.

“The industry can ensure long-term health only by capturing the value offered by out-of-home consumption in modern branded formats, packaged branded sales in modern retail and direct-to-consumer models,” sums up Devangshu Dutta, CEO, Third Eyesight.

Source: financialexpress

Uniqlo turns profitable in India in less than three years of operations

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September 13, 2022

By Sagar Malviya

Uniqlo, Asia’s biggest clothing brand, has turned profitable in India in less than three years after it opened its first store in the country despite operating in a period marked by Covid-led lockdowns and restrictions.

The Japanese brand posted a net profit of ₹21.4 crore for 2021-22 compared to a loss of ₹36.1 crore in the previous year, according to business intelligence firm AltInfo. Its sales rose 63% year on year to ₹391.7 crore for the year to March 2022, a slower pace compared to FY21 when it clocked 86% sales growth on a low base.

Experts feel Uniqlo’s strategy of pricing its merchandise at least 20% higher than rivals Zara and H&M has helped it earn better margins despite inflationary pre ..

“The market is not easy and turning profitable at a time when most rivals are spending aggressively is a good indication of success. As an international brand, they (Uniqlo) are able to get good locations and are preferred tenants, which helps in generating sales, especially in top cities,” said Devangshu Dutta, founder of Third Eyesight, a strategy consulting firm. “However, the pricing is a bit premium and until they are able to source locally, selling products at a right value for the market ..

Uniqlo has said India is one of the most priority markets where consumers are increasingly shifting from ‘fast-fashion’ to long-lasting essentials and functional wear. “India is an important and very big priority market,” Tomohiko Sei, CEO of Uniqlo India told ET in June.

source:economictimes.indiatimes.com