XYLYS : Exploring
about Premium Watches
in the Indian Context
The whole case talks about Xylys’ foray into the Indian market in the premium
segment category.Manoj Chakravarti was a senior advisor was reflecting on
Titan industries’s 28 years in the watch industry, both in India and abroad and
was comtemplating on Xylus. He was facing tough competition in the premium
segment and had formulated several marketing-mix strategies in the past to
face these challenges.The challenge was to create and shape a perception
unique to the brand.Premium watches in India were usually associated with the
Swiss brands Omega and Rolex.
The liberalization of markets, the rising of disposable income , exposure to
western lifestyles , and the need for the new generation to establish an identity
for itself were some of the reasons for the growth of the luxury watch category in
India. Timex was the first foreign player to enter the India market followed by
Casio, Rolex, Citizen, Omega , Rado and Tag heuer. There was a significant
decline in the global production of premium watches due to the financial crisis.
This hampered the growth of luxury segment watches in India too but this was
compensated by the growth in the economical segment.
HMT was the first one to start the watch manufacturing business in India in 1962
and this was followed by Titan industries ltd. which was a Tata and TIDCO joint
venture in the year 1984.
As years progressed, Titan was the single largest player (20.6%) followed by
Swatch(5.9%). Despite the presence of many brands, the market was
predominantly controlled by the unorganized sector.
There was a transformation in the watch industry as it started as a time keeping
instrument but later on became a fashion accessory, owing to lifestyle changes.
Watches were classified as : mechanical, quartz analog and quartz digital. The
second basis of classification was benefit which is divided as : casual, formal
and sports. Sports segment was relatively an untapped segment. The watch
market as a whole was classified into : economy, standard, premium and luxury
segments. The premium segment consisted of watches ranging from INR 1500 –
INR 5000. Another classification was done which was based on consumer
behavior and segmentation by value. Lifecycle stages played a major role in
the consumers to forge an interest in buying a watch majorly for status and
lifestyle issue. Titan was a leader in organized quartz analog segment and
wanted to forge into the premium segment since luxury watches had a special
appeal and was relatively untapped in the Indian market especially being
dominated by the swiss players. The market for luxury watches was estimated to
be 3% of watch retail and was growing at a rate of 20%.
The competition for Xylys brand was from established brands such as Seiko and
Tissot. The main consumer for luxury brands was the new generation executive,
number of young and middle- aged professionals and Indians who belonged in
the higher socio-economic strata. These consumers were brand conscious.
Luxury watches were brought for their symbolic and experiential benefits as
opposed to their functional ones.
Certain methodology was developed to analyze and link several aspects of
consumer behavior, and to compare users and non-users of premium watches.
Three sets of questions were prepared ranging from self-concepts of consumers,
brand personality aspects of watches to psychographics of individual
Xylys was a premium Swiss made brand from the house of Titan in India priced
between INR 10,000 – INR 33,000 and came in three collections –
Contemporary , Classic and Sport. Xylys was available in the World of Titan
Showrooms and key multi brand outlets. Their target was the lower spectrum of
the luxury watch segment. Titan had to battle with the perception of Indians as
they were highly influenced by the “country of origin” as consumers loved the
“Swiss-tag” and associated it with quality, precision, premium etc. Hence Xylys
had to concentrate on the “Indian – made” tag to impress the target segment.
Xylys had to change its positioning strategy from “ Symbol of Success” to
“ Feeling of love”. The new identity reflected attitude, lifestyle and personality.
Tissot and Seiko were the major competitors for Xylys. Tissot was the world’s
largest watch producer and distributor and was a member of the Swatch group
hence the “Swiss tag”. Tissot had a wide range of watches ranging from Touch,
sport to heritage and the price spectrum was wider than that of Xylys. Seiko
watch India Private Limited is a 100% subsidiary of SEIKO watch corporation.
SEIKO’s technological development is focused on the creation of “emotional
technologies”. SEIKO was positioned below Tissot and Xylys.
Targeting the right customers.
Marketing strategies to tackle the competition from already existing luxury
watch brands like Tissot and SEIKO
Acquire the right personalities to showcase the XYLYS brand to the Indian
public to advertise the XYLYS brand.
Acquire the non-users of the brand i.e; targeting new customers
Perception in the minds of the customers
Showcasing the XYLYS brand as an Indian product and delivering the right
message to the customers.
Situational Analysis :
As per Exhibit 1, the highest rating for self concept was for ‘ I would feel
embarrassed if I was around people and did not look my best’. This
signifies the lifestyle change and the utility of watches.
As per exhibit 2, Brand and user personality ratings was highest for ‘Up-to-
date’ factor as the brand and the user wanted to wear and produce the
watches as per the latest fashion and trend.
As per Exhibit 3, Potential users choose to dress for fashion rather than for
comfort than any other reason.
Column1 Premium watches Accessible Luxury Watches Exclusive Luxury
Range (INR) 10000--50000 50000--300000 300000 and above
Armani and Hugo
and Tag Heuer
Xylys faced stiff competition from other Swiss luxury brands such as Tissot and
Swatch with the Japanese giant SEIKO. Xylys had to capture the minds of the
consumers in India and change the perception of associations related to the
Swiss tag which the consumers thought had quality, precision and premium.
Hence Titan had to come up with a strategy to change the perception of
Indians and target the right customers who will want to afford a luxury watch for
various reasons and since Titan is an Indian brand, there will be customers who
were very country Loyal who would prefer to wear the Indian brands on them.
Hence Titan has to come up with the right marketing campaign to depict their
value offering. Titan could also use the right marketing channels along with their
view on the distribution system to make sure the product is available to the