Yash Bhatia

Apparel: The silent component in Royal Enfield’s marketing strategy

Mohit Dhar Jayal, chief brand officer, reveals that the apparel business witnessed 2x growth compared to last year.

Royal Enfield’s strategy of integrating apparel into its marketing efforts has proven fruitful, with non-bike owners constituting 40% of its apparel customer base. 

Over the past 12 years, the Chennai-headquartered motorcycle company has strategically leveraged apparel to augment its brand presence and engage a broader audience beyond motorcycle enthusiasts. 

While the company started out with a limited merchandise collection that focussed only on motorcycle apparel it has broadened its product portfolio to include riding gear, accessories, and beyond.

Apparel: The silent component in Royal Enfield’s marketing strategy

“We are not just selling motorcycles and clothing, we are selling a way of life,” says Mohit Dhar Jayal, chief brand officer, Royal Enfield. 

The motorcycle manufacturing company present in India since 1955 considers itself a motorcycle lifestyle brand. Jayal highlights, “When it comes to the apparel business, undoubtedly there’s an essence of lifestyle brand. But the approach is more towards the essence of riding, focussing on the thrill of journey.” 

The apparel business helps the motorcycle company establish a wider presence and reach bike enthusiasts who are not necessarily bike owners. He says, “Our apparel range, packed with adventure and self-expression, brings in customers who may not yet own a Royal Enfield motorcycle.”

He states that the growth in the apparel business doubled last year, adding, “We aim to maintain its robust performance by purpose-built offerings, expanding market reach by foraying in global markets.”

Jayal, who has also worked with Wieden+Kennedy India as a director, emphasises that Royal Enfield’s apparel line is a key part of the company’s growth plan. 

Recent initiative for the Hunter 350

To promote its recent Royal Enfield Hunter 350 model, the company has unveiled a collection of high-street fashion merchandise inspired by the product. 

Talking about the collection, Jayal says, “The collection takes cues from Mumbai's lively vibe, drawing inspiration from the Hunter 350's dynamic character. Each piece in the collection reflects Mumbai's diverse streets with bold colours, patterns, and urban motifs, paying tribute to its rich culture and architecture."

Titled, ‘A Shot of Mumbai’, the collection has been launched in collaboration with premium high street fashion brand Huemn (pronounced human), founded by Pranav Misra and designer Shyma Shetty in 2012.

The company has also launched a video campaign to showcase the range.

The collection comprises T-shirts, hoodies, and denim wear, which are available on the D2C brand’s website, as well as a limited edition helmet, which is available exclusively on the Royal Enfield online store.

The price of the T-shirts ranges between Rs 5,500 and Rs 6,500, hoodies cost Rs 14,500, and denims can be bought for Rs 12,500. The helmet is priced at Rs 6,500.

Using collaborations with fashion brands, and products that might also appeal to young audiences and new riders who value innovative subcultures, and seeks to align with the cultural shift seen in Gen Z audiences.

He adds, "Teaming up with brands like Huemn opens doors to new opportunities, reaching audiences who might not have thought about weaving motorcycles into their lifestyle. These partnerships broaden our reach, especially among those who value uniqueness, innovation, and genuineness."

Jayal believes that the launch of Royal Enfield Hunter 350 has revolutionised urban exploration in the mid-sized segment. The Hunter 350 motorcycle is designed to appeal to millennials and Gen Z riders.

“Its agile handling suits bustling city streets, suburban lanes, and trendy neighbourhoods alike. The Hunter 350's extensive customisation options cater to young riders seeking self-expression. Whether through accessories or bespoke modifications, riders can personalise their Hunter 350 to match their style and personality.”, he states. 

In a market where the average price of a 350CC bike ranges from Rs 1.84 lakhs to Rs 2.28 lakhs, the least expensive model of the Hunter variant — Hunter 350 Retro Factory is Rs 1.73 lakhs. The price for the other variants - Hunter 350 Metro Dapper and Hunter 350 Metro Rebel are Rs. 1.94 lakhs and Rs. 2 lakhs respectively.

(The mentioned Hunter 350 prices are the on-road price of Delhi)

It is available in three variants and 8 colours and competes with the likes of Honda Hness CB 350, Java 42, and TVS Ronin which cost 2.25 lakhs, 2.08 lakhs , and 1.63 lakhs in Delhi respectively.

Royal Enfield Hunter 350  features
Royal Enfield Hunter 350 features

According to Rushlane, a news portal for car/bike news, Royal Enfield, a division of Eicher Motors Limited single-handedly dominates the 300cc to 500cc motorcycle segment with 85.3% market share. 

The news platform stated it is the 350cc portfolio that brings the highest volume of sales for the company. 

In Feb 2024, 350 cc bikes accounted for 87.12% of the company’s total sales by selling 66,157 units. Comparing it with Feb 2023, it was at 64,810 units, a 2.08% YoY growth.

The success story can be attributed to several factors, one of which is its strategic product placement in films, the recent one being Fighter. Over the years, the company has capitalised on opportunities to showcase its bikes in movies such as Jab Tak Hai Jaan, Kabir Singh, Arjun Reddy and more.

Royal Enfield bikes also hold a distinctive road presence that sets them apart from other motorcycles. The rumble of thumping engines adds a commanding presence, creating a visceral experience for riders.

Furthermore, Royal Enfield also has deep roots in history. Its Flying Flea motorcycle played a pivotal role as a front-line combat machine during the latter stages of the Second World War.

The company also enjoys a robust presence on social media platforms, with 2.9 million followers on Instagram and 7 lakh subscribers on YouTube. With this massive following, the company rolled out several digital activities, like Trip Story, where users were asked about their memorable rides and shared with their friends. 

Most significantly, the company relies on community building as the cornerstone of its brand identity. The company does a biking event Rider Mania in Goa which is an annual gathering of Indian Royal Enfield motorcycles, this year it was the 13 edition.

Other motorcycle companies like Bajaj also started this kind of festival like the Pulsar Festival of Speed in 2016 but it was discontinued later.

Royal Enfield also hosted a designing platform- Art of Motorcycling to appeal to reach out to younger audience. 

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