The Indian mobile accessories market is set to explode owing to the exponential smartphone sales growth. While the global mobile phone accessories market is expected to reach $107.3 billion by 2022, according to alliedmarketresearch.com, Indian mobile accessories segment at $1 billion, is set to grow 20-25 per cent y-o-y. The major factor that boosts market growth is the increase in adoption of smartphones in urban as well as rural areas. And this has made the brands look at mobile accessories segment for licensing alliances. In a candid conversation with License India, Jasmeet Singh Sethi, Founder of Portronics Digital Pvt Limited reveals why brand licensing has been an effective retail strategy for mobile accessories segment and what works here. Talk to us about the journey of Portronics. Portronics is around seven year old brand that was launched in 2010. The purpose of making this brand was to make the portable peripherals or portable electronics. So that’s how the name was coined. Our first product was a portable scanner because we wanted to make the peripherals for active components like laptops and mobiles. That was received very well in India followed by our second product – portable speaker. These were followed by portable projector, powerbank – a portable battery charger and that’s how the journey started. Now after seven years of operation, we have stick to the same concept of portability in our ecosystem. Even the huge sound systems we have, are portable. When did you start brand licensing? We started brand licensing somewhere around 2014 when Disney offered us the first license. We were bestowed the best innovator award from Disney, followed by award from UTV. What made you imbibe brand licensing into your business? The sole purpose of getting into licensing was to address to a different set of audiences that we were not tapping. Our the then products were mainly catering to the needs of professionals and businessmen. With the new licensing segment we were able to address teenagers and tweens with our headphones and portable speakers. So the attraction was purely towards eyeing a different market segment attached to our product. Electronics is still new to Disney across the world. We tried to create a lot of new products for them. While some of them gained instant success, other took time. Now I feel there is much bigger segment with brand licensing that we are looking to cater. What all properties do you have as of now? We have portfolio of Marvel Avengers along with some of Mickey, Minnie and Disney Princess. The age group that we cater is more in sync with the likes of Superheroes; hence Marvel Avengers swiftly fits in to our needs, which also means that superheroes are doing better for our category. What kind of licensed products are more in demand in your segment? Mainly people have their hands on the pen-drive, USB drives and headphones. Powerbanks are still okay but generally this category is still sluggish as there is a set of licenses and BIS certification required to manufacture different models of powerbanks in India. Due to this, the availability of character licensed powerbanks is limited in India. We did powerbanks but later on there was a regulation from the government to have every model BIS certified. And it was not possible to get all the characters BIS certified. This is the reason why Powerbanks have not taken off as licensed merchandise. What are the favourable price points for licensed merchandise? We kept the price very similar to the non-licensed ones when we launched the licensed merchandise as electronics is not the most favoured category in brand licensing so far. Categories such as T-shirts, apparel, bags etc. are the ones taking maximum market share. For electronics, L&M is a rather new concept as people look more for specifications and features rather than characters. We have to keep very competitive pricing and there was not much premium ticket size than a normal product.
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