Pooja Yadav

Premium watches take centre stage as Titan’s Nebula targets Rs 500 crore turnover in 3 years

Titan's CEO Suparna Mitra envisions Nebula & Edge leading the premium watch market, aiming 20-25% overall business in 3 years.

In recent years, the remarkable per capita income surge in India has paved the way for an expansive market for premium and luxury products. With consumers developing diverse tastes and keeping up with global trends, brands are now trying to serve them with quality and craftsmanship.

Recognising the vast potential in this segment, Titan is rapidly expanding its portfolio and nurturing ambitious aspirations for Nebula, its premium watch brand.

Recently, actress Sushmita Sen was appointed as Nebula’s ambassador. The brand also unveiled a new Art Deco Collection under Nebula. Inspired by the architecture and style of Art Deco, and crafted in 18 karat gold, the collection is known for its geometric elegance and sharp lines.

Suparna Mitra, chief executive officer, watches & wearables division, Titan, says, “The premium market is growing rapidly and it’s quite big for watches. We, at Titan, are more of a mid-market player. We have some plays in the premium segment, like Nebula and Edge. The premium part of the watches business is expected to grow rapidly and become 20-25% of the overall watch business in three years.”

Mitra adds that there is a lot of appetite for carefully crafted products. Many Indians have the purchasing power and taste to acquire premium and luxury brands across categories.

Nebula, which is a 25-year-old brand, was launched as the precious gold line of Titan. Nebula watches are at a price of 55,000 to 7.4 lakhs.

Mitra shares, “We have a dream for Nebula. We want it to become a large brand over the next three years. This year, we are aiming for a turnover of over Rs 100 crore. Over the next 3-4 years, this can easily become Rs 500 crore.”

Titan now has a separate plant for the production of Nebula watches.

“To ramp up Nebula’s production, a lot of work has been done, in terms of design inspiration, manufacturing capability and capacity. Nebula, as a brand, is doing quite well. Last year, our business grew by almost 70-80%. The business is looking up,” states Mitra.

Consumer preferences, online presence and footfall

Talking about consumer preferences online versus offline, Mitra says that the percentage of sales on Titan’s website is not that big.

“But many people visit our site. Last year, 50 million people visited our website, which then led to walk-ins for the in-person feel of the products. People who walk into a store, are not always transactional, especially when it comes to high-end purchases like Nebula.”

Mitra mentions that there are few people who buy Nebula online. About 12-15% of the business comes from e-commerce platforms.

For high-end watches like Nebula, the brand has observed people browsing and then possibly adding items to their cart, or spending significant time on specific pages. In such instances, they seek permission and generate leads, prompting the nearest store’s staff to get in touch with the potential customer. The objective is to arrange an in-person experience for the interested individual.

The company recorded revenue growth of 20% YoY in Q1 FY24, with all key consumer businesses exhibiting double digit growth in the quarter.

The watches & wearables division’s 13% YoY growth included 8% growth in analog watches segment and 84% YoY growth in wearables. Titan and international brands saw strong buying momentum, clocking handsome double digit growths. Consumer preferences for premium brands resulted in a good uptick in the average selling price.

The TG for this range is in the 30-45 age bracket.

As per Mitra, post-COVID, a surge was observed in the premium range, especially Nebula.

She highlights that men tend to seek high-end watches with premium movements, top quality materials, intricate craftsmanship and elaborate details that are synonymous with luxury timepieces worldwide. Women, on the other hand, tend to focus on high-end luxury watches as pieces of jewellery. For them, a watch is not only a timekeeping device, but also a statement jewellery piece.

Advertising strategies

Titan has many collections and sub-brands - Nebula and Edge and Raga. Several other popular collections like Purple, Automatic, Octane, HTSE and Zoop also form a part of the Titan portfolio.

Titan advertise on both traditional and new-age digital platforms.

“We have multiple brands under our umbrella, each in a different life-cycle stage. So, each of our brands may have different approaches, when it comes to advertising. For Nebula, the focus is on high-end events, new-age platforms as well as doing experiential marketing,” informs Mitra.

She adds that from an influencer marketing standpoint, the brand has shifted towards a more technology-led and digital approach in marketing. It observed a significant increase in the prominence of digital, social and influencer marketing, with most marketing campaigns now being inclusive of these elements.

“Not just national influencers, we realise that even regional influencers in vernacular languages have quite a reach and impact.”

The brand is currently in the process of making investments so that it can win in the premium segment in a big way.

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