Financial Daily from THE HINDU group of publications
Friday, Jul 26, 2002
Marketing - Brands
MNC brands losing shirt to the homing pigeons
NEW DELHI, July 25
AFTER FMCG, another industry where the battle of the brand seems to be getting increasingly skewed in favour of small players is branded apparel.
The Rs 9,000-crore domestic branded apparel market is facing a curious predicament, with metropolis like Delhi, Mumbai and Chennai playing second fiddle to SEC (socio-economic classification)-B & SEC-C towns and cities such as Raipur, Jabalpur, Dehradun and Pathankot.
And it's not big-ticket multinational brands such as Levi's, Lacoste and Benetton, but the relatively smaller home-grown labels like TNG, Freelook, Trigger, Blackberrys and Numero Uno that seem to be making the right moves in these markets.
According to KSA Technopak, that's got nothing to do with product quality or pricing.
Instead, it is misjudged retail format and inaccurate distribution strategies of big-ticket apparel brands which has left the ground open for smaller brands.
"The reason why multinational apparel brands may have missed the bus in key SEC-B and SEC-C markets is to do with their retail format strategies.
The marketers of these brands are often not willing to experiment and tap smaller towns and cities,'' says Mr Harminder Sahni, Associate Director, KSA Technopak.
What is working in favour of the smaller brands is that they have penetrated SEC-B and C cities such as Raipur, Jabalpur, Dehradun and Pathankot with either smaller stores or have opted for multi-brand outlets through shop-in-shop counters.
In contrast, the multinational brands have been focused almost entirely on setting up sprawling exclusive stores and are reluctant to place their products in multi-brand stores. "The point is, while smaller cities may not be able to absorb large format stores, there is definite demand for quality brands.
Therefore, domestic brands have been able to gather bigger sales from these markets. It's a direct correlation with availability. And most importantly, in smaller cities, conversions of walk-ins to sales are high,'' Mr Sahni says.
According to the KSA Technopak findings, it is a myth that the consumer in SEC-B and SEC-C towns and cities does not have the purchasing power to match that of his urban counterparts.
"This consumer is not only wealthy, he also exhibits a willingness to splurge,'' according to Mr Sahni.
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