Danish footwear brand, hummel, is eyeing offline expansion in India. The brand, which has already been running a substantial part of its production from India, has recently opened five franchise stores in Chennai, Bengaluru. Amritsar, Pune and Surat.
With the launch of these stores, the company has embarked on physical retail expansion drive to cater to the millennial by offering a wide array of its high performance, stylish and durable range of products.
“We are excited about the Indian market and are looking to invest in becoming one of the major players in the sports and lifestyle category in coming years. As a brand, we believe in changing the world through sports and we see many wonderful collaboration opportunities in India,” says Henrik Svenning, Chief Commercial Officer, hummel.
Over the past few years, India has rapidly caught up with the wider global fitness trends. From 2015 to 2016, the Indian sportswear market grew 22 percent, outpacing the segment’s global increase of 7 percent, according to Euromonitor International. By 2020, it is expected to grow an additional 12 percent CAGR with sales expected to reach US$ 8 billion.
Cashing on growing opportunity, hummel is looking forward to opening 10 more stores this fiscal year in cities like Hyderabad, Delhi, Mumbai, Lucknow and Ludhiana. It is eyeing both malls and high-street to open the stores.
“The stores in malls will span across 800-900 sq.ft, whereas high-street stores will be over 1,500 sq. ft. in size,” Svenning says.
The India Journey
Last year, the brand forayed in the Indian e-commerce space by selling its products on Myntra and Jabong to test the waters.
“hummel was launched on Myntra and Jabong in 2016 but, we stopped selling directly to both the platforms in 2017 because we had no pricing control. Three months ago, we listed our merchandise on Amazon and Flipkart via our partner ND Commerce, which manages our online stores and handles pricing control too. Now the customers receive the same discounts on our end-of-season products on Amazon or Flipkart, as they receive in our physical stores,” Svenning states.
The brand will soon be available in MBOs like Go Sport. Hummel HIVE, the premium collection, will be available at The White Crow – a premium multi-brand department store. It is also in dialogue with several of the other LFS, plans which they hope will reach fruition by Autumn- Winter 2019.
“Apart from this, we are also introducing the brand at marketplaces and our own e-commerce portal – hummel.net – will be ready soon. It is very important for us to combine the online and offline experience for customers. The customers will soon be able to buy online and pick from store or buy from store and get products shipped direct to home. We are of the fi rm belief that the success of any brand lies in the combination of both offline and online,” Svenning says.
The brand is planning to invest Rs 38.5 crore during the first phase to aid the expansion plans and it will be investing 10 percent of its revenue towards marketing spends.
“We will be spending 60 percent of the spend on digital and rest 40 percent offline. By the end of this fiscal, the brand is eyeing Rs 20 crore in sales, out of which offline and online revenue ratio will 60:40,” he adds.
Betting Big on India
The Danish sportswear major, which is following FOCO (franchise-owned company-operated) model in India, is betting big on the country.
“We are planning to make India a manufacturing hub for South East Asian markets and for the other markets wherever the global hummel collection is available,” explains Svenning.
Instead of importing, the brand will be focussing more on producing locally here in India. By 2020, a big part of their inventory sold here in India will also be manufactured here. However, it will still be importing the inventory from other countries, but the ratio will be lesser as compared what is produced here in India.
At present, the stores have on display, the summer 2019 collection featuring key product categories including sneakers, track pants, t-shirts, hoodies, bags, accessories and sports shoes in the price range of Rs 900-14,000. Although the company offers 6,000 SKUs (stock keeping units) for men, women and kids globally, in India it has started with 850 SKUs for men and women only.
Unlike other brands, which begin their Indian journey from big cities, hummel has not been shying from testing waters in Tier II cities along with metro majors.
“Instead of opting for a metro-oriented approach, we opted for a national approach as we wanted to get in touch with consumers across the country. We also want to get a sense of how the brand is being perceived in North or South as well as metro cities. India is a big country with a lot of variations in different states, we thought this is really a good way to test it on the product scale,” reveals Svenning.
“Our mono-store has to create a customer experience. It has to off er something else that customers cannot get online or at MBOs. It has to be a destination that attracts and excites the customers,” Svenning says.
> The brand’s Amritsar store has an anti-gravity photo-booth where customers can get themselves clicked and take the 3D prints of the photographs.
> In Chennai, the brand has a dedicated yoga zone where a local yoga trainer will be giving free of cost yoga classes to the customers over weekends.
> The Bengaluru store, which houses the premium collection hummel HIVE, boasts of a Chill Zone comprising of bean bags, boombox, library and a lot more.
“As hummel is a relatively new brand in India, we want our stores to speak out loud about what we are offering and what is our positioning. We have plans to create engagement zone in every store. In India, our positioning is as a sports lifestyle brand and we want all this to be communicated in our visual merchandising when customers enter the store. We are planning to marry tech with the stores and off er 3D and AR solutions,” he states.
To hummel, creating retail in a way that expresses the brand’s identity and ethics, is extremely important.
In Denmark, the brand is working with some engineers to build technology into their sportswear which can help athlete track their progress.
“We are trying to fit in a chip in the jersey which can be connected to the smartphone, however, it has not been commercialised yet. We are expecting to launch such innovations by 2020 in India,” he shares.
“We are a CSR-driven brand which is trying to change the world through sports. Beyond Spring-Summer 2020, you will see a lot of hummel products made with eco-friendly materials, for example, we will be converting plastic bottles into t-shirts. We are also making performance jerseys using zero percent water,” he adds.
Tracing hummel’s History
Established in 1923, hummel has a long history of creating sportswear. Both defining and defined by the Danish design tradition, hummel works with clean lines, but also with a mad love for the edgy look and strong colour combinations. Since 2006, the brand has also been engaged in producing fashionable trainers and today, hummel shoes stand as a strong alternative to the convention with a passion for fun and catchy designs and vibrant colours. The collections also reflect the significant sports heritage drawing on classic sports styles from the brand’s own archives.
It is one of the oldest sports brand in the world. One rainy afternoon back in 1923, Albert Messmer, a football fan and a fine boot maker, was distraught seeing the conditions of the players who had no control on their moves and were rendered helpless in the muddy waters of the field. This reminded him of the bumblebee which flies despite its weight.
He worked tirelessly to perfect the shoe that would make the footballers akin to the bumblebee, known as hummel in the German language. Thus, came the first ever football studs and is a tribute to the bumblebee that never gave up despite its weight.
hummel currently manufactures apparel for football, futsal, handball, basketball, shinty and volleyball. The company also produces footwear for football and handball.
The brand sponsors internationally recognized football teams like the Danish and Afghan national football teams, Charlton Athletic FC, SC Freiburg, Christiania SC, Brøndby IF, V-Varen Nagasaki, Jeonbuk Hyundai and SpVgg Greuther Fürth.
In the world of handball, hummel sponsors star players like Mikkel Hansen,Daniel Narcisse, Paul Drux and Victor Tomás, while teams like ViveTauron Kielce, Füchse Berlin, MVM Veszprém KC, and RK Vardar all play in hummel chevrons.