The modern luggage retail market in India, Estimated at `2,200 crore, has just begun to take off. Realising its growth potential, Basecamp, a multi-brand retailer of travel luggage, is looking to capture a major share. Sameer Sikka, head – retail division, Basecamp, tells purnima mehra about the company’s marketing strategy, target customers, expansion plans and much more …
Q. What’s your take on the indian travel luggage market?
It is still in a very nascent stage. Unlike international markets, we have not seen too many brands entering the Indian market, such as Rimowa, Hartmann, Tumi, Titan, Longchamp, Briggs & Riley, Acegene and Eagle Creek, among others. However, there are consumers for these brands in the country. The best place to visualise this are Indian passengers coming out of international terminals at various airports.
Brands such as Reebok, Tommy Hilfiger and Tumi have either just begun to or are in the process of penetrating the market. Currently, the branded segment is shared mainly between VIP and Samsonite.
In the luggage industry, the focus has mainly been on durability and strength of the bag and its capacity. Only recently, some brands have started focusing on the bag’s weight. However, there are more parameters to be explored, e.g. the Security Fast Pass bag introduced by Victorinox which allows you to quickly screen through the security check at the airport, and the Swiss Tracker programme, which allows one to find the bag lost in transit through a unique code number. Victorinox also offers a 360-degree rotating handle in its ‘Werks Traveler’ range of bags which reduces pressure on the forearms while pulling them.
The luggage category here is still not divided properly into the core and fashion range, unlike the international markets which have graduated to that level and one can see consumers matching their bags to their attire.
Q. What is the size of travel luggage retail in India? What percent is branded?
The luggage market is estimated at `2,200 crore, of which approximately `1,200 crore is branded and `1,000 crore is unbranded.
Q. How fast is the branded sector growing?
The branded sector is growing at approximately 15 per cent in like-tolike brands. By like-to-like brands, I mean the brands that are already existing in the branded sector such as VIP, Samsonite and others. The branded sector is going to see growth from new entrants such as Tommy Hilfiger, TUMI, Rimowa and so on.
Q. What kind of products does Basecamp offer to its customers?
Basecamp caters to diverse needs of a traveller by housing multiple luggage brands, including Victorinox, Maglite, Laken, Optimus, Outgear, Katadyn, Design Go, Muela and Go Girl.
A majority of these brands enjoy top-of-the-mind brand recall and are market leaders in their distinct spheres. For instance, Victorinox Swiss Army Knives are renowned all over for their versatility and quality, while Maglite flashlights are the first choice of any wise consumer.
Basecamp has a range of over 300 SKUs priced between ‘200 and ‘30,000.
Q. What is the profile of your target customers?
At Basecamp, we target customers in the age group between 18 and 40 years in the mid-premium to premium category. This includes the collegegoing crowd, working singles, newly married couples and young parents.
We have divided travel consumers into three different categories: adventure traveller, business traveller and leisure traveller.
For the adventure traveller, we provide products such as flashlights, backpacks, sleeping bags, tents, walking sticks, camping beds, high-altitude stoves, water purifiers, binoculars and travel accessories. Brands available in this category include Maglite, Outsider, Muela, Design Go, Optimus and Katadyn.
For business travellers, we have a variety of laptop bags, trolley bags, over-nighters, travel organisers, passport covers, USB drives, emergency phone chargers and various kinds of wallets. Brands in this category are Victorinox and Design Go.
Leisure travellers are consumers seeking products for holiday or vacation. We cater to their needs with products such as suitcases, duffel bags, tote bags, backpacks, sleeping masks, ear plugs, acupressure straps, travel and neck pillows, inflight socks, worldwide adapters and travel irons, among other products. Brands in this category are Victorinox, Outgear and Design Go.
Q. Which are the fastest moving products and brands at Basecamp?
The fastest moving products include travel accessories under the Design Go and Werks Traveler brands, the Architecture series in the Victorinox Luggage category, Maglite flashlights, Outsider backpacks and Victorinox Swiss Army knives.
Q. How many stores do you currently have and what is the total retail space occupied?
Basecamp is currently present in eight exclusive stores and ten shop-inshops.We currently have 11,000 sq.ft of retail space. Similar space will be added in the current fiscal.
Q. Please elaborate on your location strategy. What makes more sense –high streets or malls?
We are mainly targeting malls, especially large and premium malls such as Ambience in Gurgaon and Express Avenue in Chennai, as well as select high streets with good footfalls and visibility such as Connaught Place in New Delhi. This will help us get the right kind of footfalls amd increase the conversion ratio.
Q. What is the typical size of a Basecamp outlet?
We have different store sizes for different markets. We generally look at 1,000 to 1,200 sq.ft of carpet store space in major metros such as Mumbai, Delhi, Chennai and Bangalore. For markets such as Pune, we look at a store size of 600 to 700 sq.ft of carpet area.
Q. Is franchising an option for you?
Yes, franchising is an option. We currently have three franchisee stores, with plans to increase the total number to six by the end of the next quarter.
Franchisees are required for better reach. Also, they reduce operational hassles for the company, provide better cash flow and ensure faster reach to the customer.
Q. Which are your target markets and why?
Since we offer world-renowned brands with best quality and topof- the-mind recall, we are targeting Indian cities with international airports and those having the maximum number of international travelers.
The cities of Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Chennai, Kolkata, Hyderabad, Pune, Amritsar and Chandigarh are some of the key target markets for Basecamp.
Q. What are your short- and longterm growth plans?
We plan to increase our store count to 15 in the current fiscal, and reach the 25-store mark by the end of 2012. We are expecting a growth of 25 per cent over last year.
This interview was originally published in June 2011 issue of Images Retail