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Titan: India’s Most Iconic Success Story in Retail

Titan Company Limited (Titan) started its journey in 1984. Taking small but confident steps as a joint venture between the TATA Group and Tamil Nadu Industrial Development (TIDCO), the company that was started to make a Titan watch for everyone, has now grown to be the fifth largest integrated watch manufacturer in the world.

Moving beyond watches slowly and strategically over time, Titan Co today holds under its roof some of India’s most valuable brands in retail that have now set the bar on capability building, consistent and top-grade execution, and delivering high value to all its stakeholders.

The Titan Co’s multi-billion dollar journey has not only created some of the most incredible  ‘Made in India’ brands but has also built strong partnerships and delivered exceptional value to customers whilst producing some of the most outstanding business leaders in the world of Indian retail.

Titan’s brand leaders attribute their success to the company’s value-centric growth strategy. The company has management axioms that drive people, processes, and purpose consistently towards value creation; factors that have made Titan an iconic Indian lifestyle company that is an emblem of excellence, endurance, and timelessness.

In an exclusive discussion at India Fashion Forum 2023 with the brand’s custodians, they deliver deep insights on organizational finances, investments, KPIs, and some actionable takeaways for business owners and enthusiasts alike. The session offered never-before, actionable takeaways for retailers and brand owners alike.

Excerpts from this discussion…

The session was moderated by Pankaj Jaju, Founder & CEO, Metta Capital Advisors who kickstarted the debate by saying, “I am a finance guy and I can’t not talk about numbers. As I was looking at the numbers of the last ten years, Titan has grown its revenues by four times. It has grown from being a 10,000 crore to 40,000 crore company.”

Suparna Mitra, CEO of the Watches & Wearables Division of Titan spoke about Titans’ strides in the emerging smartwatch market in the last two years, apart from its classic watch collection that has become a benchmark for many over decades.

She said, “The consumer has adopted and accepted both – both watches are growing, albeit at a different rate and paces. The uniqueness of the product makes it a timeless accessory style statement and often a status symbol well. Our smartwatches are a very useful and productive device that gives you a lot of info about your health, fitness, work etc.”

Taneria is the youngest division of Titan Company and in the women’s ethnic wear space. They have 38 stores across the country and their USP is that they offer differentiated designs in saris and ready-to-wear kurtas. Their fabrics are made out of natural fibers which are collected from about 100 weaving clusters across the country.

WATCH THE FULL VIDEO OF THE CHAT HERE

Ambuj Narayan, CEO of Taneira, champions Indian weavers and their skills that are employed in the company. He said, “We celebrate and aim to preserve the diverse textile craft that we have in our country and we celebrate the creative genius and craftsmanship of our weavers. We aim to bring the best of India under one roof in our store…”

“The working conditions of weavers can be very challenging in today’s time. For instance, power loom is taking over handloom, synthetic fibers are taking over natural fibers. The second generation of weavers are not willing to weave and the current ones are leaving their jobs and taking on odd jobs instead. To take care of these challenges they face, we have launched Weavershala. The aim of this is to give them the right infrastructure and uplift their design capabilities and technical expertise,” he added.

“We have 4 such Weavershalas already in the country and aim to have about 50 in the next 4-5 years”, he stated.

Manish Gupta, CEO of Fine Fragrances and Accessories said, in fragrances, the challenge is that the consumer penetration is low but we are always trying out different ways to reach our customers.

“We were always there in the bags business for the last 8-10 years, but we just launched the brand IRTH in October. The brand proposition is thoughtfully designed bags for women who are leading an active lifestyle.”

Today, IRTH is a brand that is rapidly growing and is reaching a wide customer base in India.

Arun Narayan, VP of Marketing & Retail, Tanishq at Titan Co revealed the brand is extremely popular in and outside of India today. “But it has seen some rough days that it has skillfully waded through. Having turned 25 only a year ago, Tanishq is present in 250 cities in the country, with over 400 stores.”

He said, Tanishq is a special brand built with love and care over the last 2 decades and owes its success to women in India who have given us the confidence to do so much more. They have been behind the brand strongly, at all times. Even when we decided to let go of our model and market the brand without a face, the women of India believed in us and kept us going.

Kuruvilla Markose, CEO of Titan’s International Business Division said, “We started doing international business as soon as we opened the company 25-plus years ago. We took our watches around the world and they are now present in more than 30 countries worldwide.

Today, diaspora Indians are amongst the most successful set of diaspora people around the world, numbering around 32 million, so our brand was waiting to be taken to them, and we were certain of wanting our brand to reach them all.

“Three things that Indians do when they return is to get their teeth fixed, get some eyewear and go to Tanishq. Fortunately, we are present in two of these categories. So it made a lot of sense to go across borders.”

He concluded the discussion by saying, “Wherever we opened Tanishq, we have had people flocking to the store, and the opportunity is huge. When we work internationally, we too learn a lot from different customers and different market practices. The customers are more evolved, and from our learning, we bring those retail practices back home and try to mature as a company. We think this makes us a better company and we find chances to grow and evolve as much as possible.”

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