Titan's IRTH intends to create long meaningful relationships with consumers: Manish Gupta

Gupta, CEO and VP of Titan (fragrances and accessories), lets us in on the growth targets, media mix and vision for the newly launched IRTH handbags

by Kanchan Srivastava
Published - October 21, 2022
5 minutes To Read
Titan's IRTH intends to create long meaningful relationships with consumers: Manish Gupta

Titan company last week forayed into the women's handbags segment, eyeing Rs 1,000 crore business in the next five years. The product line-named IRTH (pronounced earth) was launched at a glitzy event in Mumbai last Monday. 

The new lifestyle category bags have special compartments for keys and water bottles. Others are meant to carry laptops or cameras, while maternity bags have insulations for feeding bottles and compartments for fresh and used baby nappies.

What are IRTH's growth targets?

The handbags industry is large and growing at 10 percent annually. Currently, its size is estimated to be Rs. 4,500 crore. Of this, the organized segment is at around Rs. 1,600 crore, which is poised to grow to Rs. 3,000 crore in the next five years. We are eyeing a third of that market banking on both IRTH and Fastrack brands of bags. 

Women are far more empowered and playing different roles now, including homemakers. With mobility, comes the need for bags. We have designed the bags beautifully. We want to be the category leader, just like we are in other categories. We will see how it trunks out. 

What target group is the company eyeing?

While Fastrack consumers would continue to be younger women and college-going girls, the target consumer for IRTH would be every woman over 23 years of age who lives an active lifestyle, yet not limited to working professionals. 

Depending on economic strata, every woman needs a bag. We are targeting two categories of consumers-Functionalist who says ‘I need value’ and Romanticist who says ‘I love bags’.”

The product portfolio includes work bags, tall totes, cross body, clutches and wallets, and maternity bags among others for working professionals, photographers, artists, musicians, homemakers and others. These bags are priced at Rs. 2,595 – Rs. 5,995. 

What marketing plans do you have in place?

IRTH intends to create long meaningful relationships with its consumers, making their purchase process exciting and special. 

We have aggressive plans to build the brand IRTH. It takes hundreds of crores to build brands. We are investing in brand building in a big way. 

The brand website is being strengthened because over 30-40% of women purchase branded bags online. Many go to stores after exploring online options. 

We are also launching a vibe store in November at our corporate office in Bangalore. Customers can opt for video calling and our trained teams can show them the functionality of bags over the video call. Technologies are there to manage the traffic. It is a scalable model that can be expanded anywhere through dark stores. 

We are determined to invest in both, communication and marketing. 

When do you plan to launch IRTH flagship stores?

By March, we have planned to come up with the IRTH flagship stores in metro cities and all state capitals. We need 90-100 stores in 5 years. Franchise stores will be explored later. We have to establish the brand and build the category first and then accelerate. 

Titan has no plans to showcase IRTH products on Titan or Fastrack stores. 

The bags would be available at all Shoppers Stop, Nykaa and Tata Cliq stores for the next six months. 

What media mix are you looking at?

We focus a lot on digital and influencer marketing. Fastrack girls' bags will be 80-90 percent digital and influencer. 

For IRTH, which has just been launched and we have to establish it yet, I am anticipating, 50% will be digital, a lot of hoardings, outdoor, print and TV.

What buying behaviour have you observed when it comes to bags?

Currently, 8 metro cities are growing faster than the rest of India. During the pandemic, scores of working professionals went to their hometowns changing the consumption pattern of smaller cities and towns. Now, people have returned, leading to higher growth in the metros compared to the rest of India. Consumers who are at the top of the pyramid were not much impacted during the pandemic. When they returned to the metro, they continued leading transformation and growth. 

Moreover, women are shopping online through their own credit cards and digital payment methods. There is a big opportunity for us to accelerate our own website also. A lot of transactions will happen on eCommerce platforms as well. 

What about inflationary pressure?

At present, we are not caring much about profitability. We have to first establish and build the category and then really scale up. When consumers are satisfied and it is established in a conclusive manner then you can start extracting economic value. Then you optimize product lines and vendor base. After three years, we will see how it is working out. We have the financial capabilities to manage inflation.