Watch major Titan Industries plans to aggressively approach the rural and semi-urban markets in India by creating a separate image for its low-priced Sonata brand.
The company has opened its first showroom in Bhopal and nine more showrooms are to be opened across the country by this fiscal.
Bijou Kurien, vice-president, sales and marketing, said the company is going to tap the rural and semi-urban potential in the wrist-watch market by opening ten franchisee showrooms by the year-end and two more will be opened in Madhya Pradesh and Chhattisgarh.
On the marketing strategy he said, "We will keep the prices of the watches at an affordable range of Rs 295-1,195 and will create a niche market for the brand. We will not open our showrooms in metros such as Mumbai or Delhi for Sonata brand."
"The target segment would be the Rs 295-700 customers. We will open showrooms at locations which rural customers visit frequently such as bus terminals, railway stations among others," he said adding there would be a range of 300 models from smart plastics and all-weather steel to all-gold and all-occasion gold and leather.
"We want to capture a market share of 40 per cent from existing 20 per cent and are aiming at increasing the capacity from 2.7 million watches to 3 million watches." The company manufactures 20,000 watches per day which would be increased to 25,000 watches per day. It has its three manufacturing units at Ooty, Dehradun and Hosur (Tamil Nadu).
He said, "The company will invest Rs 4-4.5 crore on ad spending in the rest of the financial year." The company is also targeting a turnover of Rs 775 crore (2000-2001) against Rs 630 crore of the last year (1999-2000). Titan will be looking for the marriage season which will start from April-June where the rural customers become actual buyers. The National Coucil for Applied Economic Research says India has a watch owners ratio of 25 per thousand persons against 50 per thousand in China and 450 per thousand in America.