Studds is the world’s largest helmet manufacturer. With the evolving two-wheeler scenario in the country, the company aims at providing multiple choices to customers from its helmet brands. We caught up with Mr.Sidhartha Bhushan Khurana, MD, Studds Accessories Ltd., to know more about the brand and its vision for the future.
Mr. Khurana’s responses to GearFliQ’s queries are as below:
1. What is the Auto industry outlook for 2021?
The Indian automotive industry is expected to see stronger growth and recovery in 2021-22 after the effects of the pandemic. The two-wheelers segment is expected to continue its dominance especially with a shift to personal vehicles. With the Covid-19 vaccine coming into play, sales are expected to get a boost from a faster-than-expected recovery in economic activity. With an increased preference for personal mobility, the industry is likely to expect sales of affordable cars and two-wheelers to increase. Demand has already started showing signs of sustenance, supported by rural cash flows, demand for personal mobility, and easy liquidity in the market. The pandemic has had a strong impact on the Indian automotive industry; however, the market has started seeing a revival as we have adapted to the new normal. With strong pent-up demand from the replacement market, we can expect the demands to drive sales in the upcoming quarters. Even though complete recovery will take some time, we are hopeful of returning to the pre-COVID levels by the end of this fiscal year.
2. How big is the helmet industry in India? and what is the market share of Studds?
India is the largest market for two-wheelers has a huge untouched market for the organized helmet manufacturers in the country. India is amongst the top consumers of two-wheelers however only 60 percent of the people from this segment wear helmets. 65-70 percent of the market is majorly dominated by the ISI-certified players; whereas the unorganized players capture the rest of the 30 – 35% of the market. We at Studds are the largest amongst all helmet manufacturers in the country and have around 30% of the share in the Indian helmet market and we strive to acquire 40% of the helmet market in the next 3 years.
3. Do you see a rise in awareness of safety in two-wheeler riders? What are the challenges?
The buyers are evolving rapidly, and we are witnessing a change in the market trends. While helmets were earlier associated with just safety, have now become a part of the personality and have acquired the status of lifestyle product. Riders now have a wide range of helmets to choose from as per their own unique style statement. Unlike earlier, helmets have been integrated with the personality of the individual wearing them.
The government is also taking multiple steps to ensure the safety of riders. With more stringent rules coming into force, we have seen a drastic change in customer sentiment.
Many manufacturers along with the government are running awareness campaigns across the nation to bring a focused shift towards conscious safety regulations in the minds of consumers. Apart from this, manufacturers including us are constantly working on integrating technology with the helmets thus making them smarter. Considering all this, we are confident that this will not only lead to higher sales for us but will also bring out a new age consumer which would be focused on safety and style both.
4. How do you see the helmet industry growing in India, both in terms of volumes and technology?
Owing to increasingly stringent regulations for both commuters and manufacturers, the Indian helmet industry is expected to grow at a double-digit rate. With the recent rise in demand for personal commute, there has been a significant increase in demand for two-wheelers further aiding the sales of helmets in the country. Factors like better awareness around safety increased consumer spending on discretionary items and opting for helmets as a lifestyle choice, the sale of two-wheeler helmets is forecasted to continue growing across the country in the coming years. Further the new regulations from the govt. about banning non-ISI helmets will only lead to more sales for organized helmet manufacturers opening a plethora of technologically advanced options for consumers to choose from.
We are the pioneers in helmet manufacturing and to that credit, we have constantly been striving to introduce better products to our stakeholders. We have always adhered to our mantra of innovating continuously & never settle for anything but the best.
Our range of high-quality helmets & motorcycle accessories is a reflection of our commitment to this philosophy.
5. How is Studds preparing for the growing demand for two-wheeler riders? Eg. Helmets for different purposes
We currently have 2 brands under our wing, Studds and SMK helmets, the latter being our premium offering for the market. The range of Studds helmets begins from INR 850 and goes up to INR 2300, and SMK helmets begin at INR 3000 and go up to INR 11,000. The idea is to provide a wide range of portfolios to customers to choose from which caters to each unique need. Apart from Helmets, we are also focusing on providing two-wheeler accessories to customers at our Exclusive Brand Outlets. Our focus has always been on bringing the best technology to our customers at affordable prices. We have always adhered to our mantra of innovating continuously & never settle for anything but the best. Our range of high-quality helmets & motorcycle accessories is a reflection of our commitment to this philosophy.
6. How are you supporting the ‘Make in India’ initiative of the govt.? What new products can we expect from Studds
Studds is amongst the biggest advocates of the “Atmanirbhar” scheme and the “Vocal for local” campaign. Aligning ourselves with PM Modi’s vision of making in India, 99% of our products and their child parts are being made in-house leading to zero dependencies on other countries. Our two new manufacturing units were created in line with the vision of the government for supporting local manufacturers under the “Make in India” scheme, which is set to drive sales and bring in more demand from the markets. The total investment of Rs. 200 crore emphasizes our commitment to Make in India for the world. Every unit of STUDDS and SMK helmet is manufactured completely in India and sold across the world. With the ‘Vocal for Local’ initiative, we will see more customers opting for homegrown brands over foreign manufacturers, and with this plant, we would be servicing their demands, going forward.
7. Could you share details of your latest association with IPL?
We are the Associate Sponsor for Rajasthan Royals during the 2021-2022 season. Through this partnership, we aim to add value to the field of cricket through our safety gears. As per the agreement, our logo with sport on the leading side of playing headgear including helmet and caps and we also plan to create co-branded limited-edition riding helmets which will be available for purchase across the country. Being the pioneer in safety gears, we feel proud to be associated with the Rajasthan Royals and provide our world-class service to them.