ASICS, one of India’s leading sportswear brands, is on a high growth trajectory — multiplying its earnings year on year and posting Rs 138 crore revenue in FY19.
In a conversation with BestMediaInfo.com, Rajat Khurana, Managing Director, ASICS, said he was hoping to grow the revenue by 30%-40% in 2020. He said the brand would undertake a major expansion-spree by launching stores in Tier 1 and Tier 2 towns, along with strengthening its portfolio of products. He said ASICS would spend 10% of the total revenues on marketing.
What’s your growth strategy for 2020?
At the advent of the year, we set out to achieve a certain target by increasing our retail foothold across Tier 1 and Tier 2 markets along with creating a robust portfolio of brand athletes, which we have been able to attain. Through 2020, we will continue to focus on expanding our stores in new markets and building a stronger athlete campaign portfolio towards Olympics. We are very excited about the opportunities that lie ahead for the brand as such a huge event is happening in our backyard and we are taking appropriate steps to leverage this opportunity well.
We want to be sure that our fans and consumers have a greater insight of how the brand functions and the innovative technologies involved in producing our marquee products. On a national level, we are working on our ‘I Move Me’ and ‘Joy Of Running’ campaigns for 2020, which revolves around building a strong community of fitness enthusiasts and runners.
One marketing initiative that you couldn't implement in 2019 but would like to do this year?
We piloted the global format called ‘Shop-Fit’ at key stores in metro cities, including Mumbai, Goa and Hyderabad and would be replicating the same format for all the upcoming stores. In 2020, we would like to focus more on consumer engagement in our exclusive concept stores to introduce our buyers to highly technical aspects of our products to create a powerful brand experience. With the current shift in preferences, it is important to converge technology and retailing in order to make it more experiential that transactional.
How do you see advertising and marketing trends evolving in 2020?
There has been a change in consumer mindset; they now understand the role of sports and fitness in their lives. Hence our sports marketing initiatives help establish our philosophy of a ‘sound mind in a sound body’ through our leading associations with running events in Mumbai and Bengaluru like the Tata Mumbai Marathon and TCS. With our various ASICS running clubs in different cities, we have also launched our Joy of Running campaign where we encourage and highlight the significance of running in our everyday life.
Another interesting observation is the shift in the Indian retail scenario towards comfortable yet stylish clothing resulting in the rise of the athleisure category. Further, people are also getting conscious about fitness and the kind of top-to-bottom look they want to sport. This amalgamation of function and fashion has given rise to ASICS SportStyle globally and India is no different.
Do you plan to increase your marketing budget for the coming year?
The brand has witnessed a positive and steady growth since we entered the Indian market in 2015. We have recorded revenues close to Rs 138 crore for the year ending March 2019, growing at a CAGR of 30-40% since 2015. We aim to grow at a similar rate for the next 2-3 years too. ASICS has been at the forefront of promoting athletes across all sports and our spends are in tune with industry standards. We invest approx. 10% of our annual revenues for all marketing initiatives. We see this percentage remain stable over the next few years.
The online marketplace contributes 20% of our revenue and the remaining comes from our brick and mortar stores. We aim to keep this growth percentage distribution steady for the next 2-3 years too.
What's your brand's outlook in the next three years?
We aim to be the leader in the sportswear market in India for the aspirational audience of India, which is willing to invest in high-quality products. Our focus will continue to remain in communicating our differentiation to the local audience in a language they understand. The Indian consumer has many choices at hand, and we are conscious of making them aware of our core strengths over time.
Social media and consumer behaviour are changing the dynamics of marketing faster than ever. How do you keep pace with that?
With 40 stores and regional partners across India, we aim to be accessible to a wider audience. Consumers can also view and shop for our products online, with new launches being updated on the platform in real-time. Today consumers demand a seamless connect with the brand through e-commerce, social or in-store experience. There is a big digital transformation that we are adopting to bridge the gap between retail and sale to make it more consumer friendly and accessible with a mere click of the button!
The brand’s omni-channel approach has helped us identify the kind of styles being preferred by consumers and the gap in our offerings.