Manufacturing many of the worlds leading board games in India under licensing agreements from companies like Hasbro, Ravensburger, Jumbo, Rubik’s, Mega House, Camp games, USA Poly, Endless Games and several others for the Indian market, the brand has been one of the prominent names in the licensing industry. The share of online toys Industry in India is only around 15 per cent and the physical stores will always be more significant in this industry, revealed Jeswant R, Senior Vice President – Sales and Marketing, Funskool. Talk to us about Funskool's journey with licensing? We have licenses for puzzles of popular properties like Peppa Pig, Ninja Hattori, Power Puff Girls, Ben 10, etc. and are on soon launching puzzles of Paw Patrol and Hatchimals. We manufacture the classic Batman and Superman figurines in India under license from Warner Brothers and are launching the popular Batmobile very soon. Our own brands such as the highly popular Giggles will soon have a range of products under license from one of the world’s leading licensors. We also have exclusive licenses to import and sell some of the world’s most popular toys like beyblades, Rubik’s cubes, etc. What is your take on the growing influx of homegrown brands into the licensing ecosystem? I see a very bright future for homegrown IPs in toys as was proved by Chotta Bheem, the hugely successful Indian animation series. The quality of homegrown animation is improving fast and kids relate easily to animation created in the Indian context. However, this is not to say that global IPs will see any drop in demand. Toys, worldwide, make for a huge industry and as more kids and parents are exposed to licensed animation and merchandise in India, the market should really boom. The most important factor is affordability and as toy manufacturing in India picks up, products will also be within reach of more kids and parents. What role does e-commerce play in this category? Do the physical stores still rule? As of now, the share of e-commerce for toys in India is only around 15% but it is growing fast. In toys, however, the physical stores will always be more significant because kids also look forward to the experience of buying their favourite toys. The touch-and-feel experience before deciding on the purchase tends to be important. But when it comes to gifting, which is a significant part of toy sales, e-commerce tends to be more favoured. What are the favoured point-of-sales and price points for your category? Our toys are available at over 5,000 physical retail points across the country. We also have a strong presence on all the leading e-commerce portals. Our domestic products are available from prices as low as Rs 99. Our imported range has products priced even higher than Rs 25,000. However, the sweet spot is most often between Rs 250 and Rs 750. According to you why is licensing an effective retail strategy for your kind of business? Toy sales are driven to a large extent by TV animation and movies and therefore toy merchandise based on movies or TV animation tend to attract kids. As more and more young parents who have had exposure to the various IP’s come into the market for toys, licensed merchandise are becoming more important even in Infant & Pre school toys. What is the biggest challenge in this segment? Piracy is an important factor and in a country like India it is very difficult to combat. While legal remedies do exist they are often cumbersome and expensive and unless the extent of piracy is very high , most companies do not take recourse to legal options . However there have been instances where some of our principals have initiated action against retailers who sell pirated products but to sustain a permanent vigil in a country as spread out as India is sometimes not practical.
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