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Published on: June 5, 2023, 3:55 p.m.
Time(x) for India
  • It’s the first time Timex is doing a brand partnership in India

By Suman Tarafdar

Evidence of India’s growing significance for global markets often comes from empirical evidence. India is now the second largest market for Timex. A decade ago, it was not even in the top 10. As Tobias Reiss-Schmidt, Timex Group CEO, points out, with just about 15 per cent of Indians owning a watch, there is extensive room for growth.  

 “India is the second largest market in terms of revenues for the Timex group; we have been seeing strong double-digit growth in the past few years except the pandemic years,” says Reiss-Schmidt, president & chief executive officer, Timex group.  “We are at about 12 per cent of the global share,” adds Deepak Chhabra, managing director, Timex Group India.

For the year ended December 2022, which was a nine-year, nine-month period, our growth has been 62 per cent, says Chhabra. “Year on year, we grew by about 30 per cent even versus 2019.” He ascribes three reasons for this growth. “One is the product, another is the brands which we are adding and the third one, of course, the channel. Timex continues to be the biggest brand in the portfolio, contributing about two thirds of our revenue. And the balance is a population of the brands. Guess, which has been with us for a very long time, has been another driver.”

Chhabra is bullish about maintaining the growth as well. “I think we’re growing aggressively on e-commerce, from which 25 per cent of our total revenue comes from and it is spread across all the portals. While we are also working on improving productivity from our largest channel which is you know brick and mortar. We have about 5,000 points of sale in India. Timex has 35 of its own stores, but largely retails out of multi-brand stores such as Shoppers Shop and Lifestyle Central,” he explains.

Revenue in the Indian watch market stood at 1.84 billion in 2023, according to Statista. It estimates that the market is expected to grow annually by 6.06 per cent (CAGR 2023-26).

Changing times

Significantly, there is recognition of the aspect that rather than a functional accessory, a watch is more of a lifestyle product. The purpose has changed because the industry has been growing at 10 per cent and redundancy had come about 10 years back when the mobile phones came, says Chhabra. “So, rather than a time keeping device, it is more of a fashion accessorised. I don’t know if any of us watch time. And that’s a great thing if you ask me. When it becomes an accessory, you need multiple of them. When it is time keeping then it’s a function. So that is driving the growth. The number of watches ownership with the owners is increasing. Watches are more embellished. So, they have become jewellery and there is a lot of innovation happening. You have a ring watch, you put a ring and you have a watch inside.”

  • Chhabra and Reiss-Schmidt: bullish about maintaining the growth

    Chhabra and Reiss-Schmidt: bullish about maintaining the growth

As for where the growth is coming from, Chhabra mentions that India’s four metros plus Bengaluru, Hyderabad still make up about half the market. But “If I see the percentage growth, that’s huge in Tiers II and III and the next 50 cities.” Reiss-Schmidt mentions that the brand is developing a product portfolio “because the pricing expectations are different in smaller towns, the styling and the aesthetics are also sometimes a bit more traditional. So, we are making sure we have the right product for consumers in different segments”. 

To that end, Timex has launched a series of new watches in association with the Gujarat Titans, priced at Rs2,495, squarely aimed at increasing the brand’s consumer base, especially among the hinterland. “It’s the first time we are doing a brand partnership in India where we have a watch specifically for this partnership. It introduces the brand to new consumers,” Reiss-Schmidt adds. 

Just what a brand needs to grow its presence. 

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