Titan’s latest smart eyewear is a first of its kind offering. How soon will Indian consumers consider upgrading their regular eyewear?
The eyewear industry in India is mostly unorganised. The category has evolved significantly over time and the branded eyewear players have made all attempts to keep up with the changing consumer needs.
For Titan, one of the early players in the category, innovation has been at the core of its eyewear range, which was launched in 2012. This can be seen in the number of products that the brand has introduced, especially since the COVID pandemic hit.
Wearing masks became a necessity. But then masks lead to foggy lenses, a pain point for people who wear prescription glasses. To address this, Titan rolled out an anti-fog lens, followed by a clear-sight lens and then came the antiviral lens. Around Diwali last year, the brand came up with audio sunglasses (for a limited time period). The brand has now introduced a smart eyewear offering, called ‘Titan EyeX’.
Spectacles are a constant companion for those who can’t see without them. One tends to wear them for up to 16 hours a day. The other constant companion for most people, without a doubt, is a smartphone. And the companion of your phone are the hearables which have witnessed an evolution of their own (wired, Bluetooth, EarPods).
Now, with noise cancellation technology being integrated into the earphones, once you plug them in, you are almost deaf to the outside world. But it may not be the most desirable thing and can be risky too.
Titan’s latest offering addresses this problem. Its smart eyewear’s open-ear wireless audio doesn’t block or cover your ears. So, you can hear music and still be aware of the surroundings, making it safer for outdoor use.
Speaking to afaqs! about the brand’s smart eyewear, Saumen Bhaumik, CEO - eyewear division, Titan Company, says, “We know that our brand’s eyewear has been sitting on the customer’s face for a very long time. We wanted to do something more with it so that one’s eyewear could provide more than it usually does. While eyecare is the primary deliverable, the new offering enhances, simplifies and brings more comfort to the user’s life.”
A replacement for hearables
Made in India, Titan EyeX costs Rs 9,999 and can be used as specs, computer glasses as well as sunglasses. It is compatible with an ordinary computer lens and can also be used with a wide range of power lenses.
While it is not yet a gadget essential, it provides features like Bluetooth connectivity, audio and touch-enabled, fitness tracker, voice-enabled eyecare, and other notifications. It is sweat-resistant and is well suited for outdoor use, as it can handle various physical activities, for example, if the user is running or jogging. The touch controls on both left and right temples can be used for receiving and rejecting calls, controlling music as well as clicking a selfie.
Target audience and distribution channels
The target audience for the product is any person above the age of 20 years who is also a smartphone user. Bhaumik informs that the age group doesn’t consist of teens because the product has not been designed for smaller faces, or kids.
Talking about the consumers who prefer it, Bhaumik says, “Till now, we have seen a positive response, and doctors, business professionals and young couples are the ones who are buying it. A person as young as 18 to someone who is 60 years old, can use it.”
While the product is unisex, the look of the current variant caters more to men. In the coming days, Titan will be introducing more variants for women, with a couple of colour options to choose from. Titan EyeX can be used as a replacement for hearables because of its audio and voice-enabled features.
According to Bhaumik, switching to the smart eyewear variant is a matter of experience. Most customers will make the decision to switch once they have experienced the product. “This transition is inevitable, but we will have to wait and see how soon it happens. However, the current lifestyle of work from home and being dependent on devices will help to make this transition even quicker."
"The current lifestyle of work from home and being dependent on devices, will help to make this transition even quicker."Saumen Bhaumik, Titan Company
Since this is an industry-first effort from Titan, Bhaumik says that the distribution is currently restricted to Titan Eye Plus showrooms and the brand’s official website.
“We will eventually sell it through other channels as well, but first, we want to make sure that the customer understands the product before picking it up.”
Bollywood actor Ayushmann Khurrana has been the face of Titan for quite some time now. The ad film for Titan EyeX has been created by the brand’s agency partner Ogilvy. Khurrana can be seen highlighting various specs and features of the smart eyewear in a very relatable style.
Bhaumik says that Khurrana is the right fit for Titan EyeX because of his versatility and the kind of roles that he has played in movies over the years. “We are on the same wavelength and there is a certain degree of authenticity that he (Khurrana) brings to our brand. What also makes him different is that he may not be the most flamboyant Bollywood actor, but the audience can relate to him as he comes across as the guy next door.”
As these are uncertain times, so, Titan believes that it is not the right time to go big on mass media. However, the brand did consider digital media. Print was also used for some time, but then suspended because of the COVID-induced lockdowns. The campaign will eventually be seen on television, but not anytime soon.
“The product offers great value to those customers who may not be extremely tech-savvy, because today, anybody can use a Bluetooth device. The price is also quite attractive. As of now, there is no other device that can match all these features at this price point,” Bhaumik signs off.
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