With changing lifestyles and increasing affluence, domestic demand for footwear is projected to grow at a faster rate than has been seen in India. Currently, India is the second largest footwear producer in the world, with footwear production accounting for approximately 9.6 per cent (till April 2018) of the global annual production – 22 billion pairs as compared to China, which produces over 60 per cent of the global production.
The footwear market in India is now dominated by men’s footwear which contributes close to 58 percent of the total Indian footwear retail market and is expected grow at a CAGR of 10 percent by 2020. The women’s footwear segment, however, is projected to grow at a much faster CAGR of 20 percent.
While the industry is currently dominated by unorganized domestic SME footwear manufacturers, changing consumer behavior and modern lifestyles have led to more organised brands coming into the fray, lured by the potential of bigger sales, but mostly in a bid to give the consumer branded, better quality products, value for money.
A significant shift was observed post liberalisation when lifestyles expanded to foster great value for the sports/active segment and for casualization as a whole. The technological prowess of global sportswear giants enabled them to functionally and fashionably appeal to a young India. Tapping the unlocked potential in India, Woodland entered India in 1992 when the Indian footwear market was largely unorganized and soon became a recognizable name in the adventure and outdoor segment in India.
The Right Fit
The brand boasts of a huge product portfolio aside from footwear, including apparel and accessories.
“In order to survive in today’s ever-changing and highly competitive market like India, diversifying our product portfolio is inevitable. Keeping a close eye on latest trends and new rising demands, we upgrade our portfolio accordingly,” Harkirat Singh, MD Woodland.
The demand for the products is different in India and other countries because of the various factors namely demographic conditions, climatic conditions, styling culture.
“We created a product line specifically for India and since then we have never looked back. Our product positioning was altogether unusual, and we were known as a one definite choice for adventurists, taking the market for rugged and outdoor leather shoes by storm. The phenomenal success in the shoe segment encouraged and motivated us to enter in new segments like clothes, handbags as well,” explains Singh.
Over a period of time, the brand has expanded its product category and now has an extensive product range including handbags, wallets, travel bags, casual shoes, formal shoes, track pants, eyewear, gloves and outdoor equipment like tents, sleeping bags, umbrellas, trekking poles, waterproof outdoor backpacks.
The prices of products have been set with a realistic approach since Woodland prides itself on being a customer-friendly brand.
“The pricing strategy is to keep the prices in sync with the purchasing power of our target customers, which are majorly the youth segment – aged between 17-25 years, college studenst and professionals – who are interested in adventure sports and are on the lookout for stylish, yet value for money products. The price range of our jackets varies from Rs. 5,000 to 35,000 whereas the price range of our footwear starts from 3,000,” says Singh.
Letting Technology Lead the Way
With online channels taking over the retail industry, e-commerce has gradually become an inevitable part of the company’s sales and revenue. The company’s portal and other e-commerce sites collectively contribute to the e-commerce sales revenue, thereby adding to volumes. There is also an exclusive range of merchandise for e-commerce sites.
The availability of Woodland products on all the prominent e-commerce websites enhances the brand visibility among the larger group of audience and helps widen the scope of sales.
The brand is also a strong believer in Omnichannel retail, investing in online sales which are expected to grow to 40 percent in the next three to four years. It plans to concentrate more on a seamless approach through all available shopping channels, i.e. mobile internet devices, computers, bricks-and-mortar, television, radio, direct mail, catalogue, in-store experience and so on.
Aside from this, Woodland has a history of exploring innovative technology embedded in products and integrating it with all aspects of the brand.
“We have already launched GPS embedded jackets, BOA shoes, client T-shirts, and many more new technologies and innovations in products are in pipeline,” says Singh.
Retail Mapping & Expansion Plans
Globally, Woodland is present in more than 40 countries. In India, Woodland has a chain of over 600 company-owned stores and is present in over 5,000 multi-brand outlets and is planning on adding another 60 stores in this financial year in an equivalent combination of small towns and metros.
It is also working towards strengthening its franchise model in India, to grow its presence in smaller cities and towns.
“We are currently working on entering into more foreign countries in the near future to add to our international kitty. Woodland as a brand is already present in China, Aokang and Hon Kong. Apart from this, we are working on strengthening our presence in South-East Asia, West Asia, Europe and USA,” states Singh.