The name game: Licensing reshaping kitchenware industry

Once functional and driven by necessity, the Indian kitchenware industry has become modish now and is projected to reach Rs 55 billion plus by 2020. Let's see how brands are delighting consumers' senses through licensing in this segment.
Licensing in kitchenware industry

Over the years, organised retail has been witnessing massive spur in India and kitchenware segment is no exception. Growing at a CAGR of 21 per cent, the kitchenware industry is projected to reach Rs 55 billion by 2020, driven by multiple factors including growing demands from urban and rural areas, emergence of nuclear families and kitchenware transforming from mere necessity to a statement. About a decade ago, this segment hardly received a standalone mention as a major retail category, but now things have changed with a plethora of new brands emerging in. More than just satiating the functional needs, modern retail in this sector is catering to the diverse needs of the customer.

While this is a gradual shift in lifestyle that is incurring changes, there were a few major snags here such as dealing with the unorganised market and tapping the millennial youth that is extremely brand conscious. Amidst dearth of many success stories in kitchenware sector, the industry unlocked potential of this segment through brand licensing.

Power of licensing

When we talk about licensing in kitchenware, we don’t just mean coffee mugs anymore as the gamut of licensed kitchenware merchandise has expanded just from coffee mugs to entire range of cookware, serving ware, accessories, among others.

Given the changing cooking and eating habits of the Indian consumer, convenience is emerging as an important factor for selecting kitchenware and now there is more emphasis on aesthetics, novelty and style.

Commenting on the trend, Chef Sanjeev Kapoor says, “Today food is not merely limited to the senses of taste and smell but has gone beyond this to also include the senses of sight. Through our licensing and merchandising vertical, our focus is to bring-in products that will add the lifestyle experiential quotient to the houseware and kitchenware categories.”

He has attracted several brands on board to cohesively transform the entire kitchen and dining experience of modern-day consumers. “While other factors are easy to incorporate, visibility or discoverability is a major issue that has been well addressed by brand licensing,” asserts Chitra Johri, VP, Bradford License India. 

Asserting the same, Deepak Agarwal, Director of Clay Craft, says, “Licensing is a great way to explore new horizons and learn from the associated brands and partners.”

Market Segments

In terms of material, the Indian market can be bifurcated into several ways with ceramic, china and porcelain, metalware, plasticware, etc. being the major sub-segments. Though the cookware segment dominates the Indian houseware market, serving ware, cutlery and associated accessories are the preferred choice for brand licensing. Reason being the comparative lower ticket size and flexibility to imbibe the DNA of licensed out property or brand. For instance, one can’t tweak much in case of a non-stick pan, but this is possible in case of crockery or serving ware.

“From house ware category per se, the market is very fragmented as there are brands concentrating on a particular product only. We want to create a concept where consumer walks into Sanjeev Kapoor branded corner and gets entire home solution from table, kitchen linen to kitchen fashion (aprons) integrated with entire dining look including table runner, table covers,” opines Vishal Sinha, Business Head – Brand Licensing and Digital Content, SK Brands.

Road ahead

In India, more than 90 per cent of sales in the segment happen through traditional channels, but now modern retail, direct sellers like Tupperware and also online retailers are fast increasing their market share. In terms of manufacturers, the national players include Tourmaline, Tangerine, HM International, Paul Studio, Clay Crafts India, Servewell and so on.

In the modern retail sector, general merchandisers and, to an extent, department stores have been retailing kitchenware products. Home Stop by Shoppers’ Stop, HomeShop 18, Home Town by Future Group, Pepperfry, etc. are focusing on this segment.

Kitchenware market in India is still very niche and features mostly imported brands, but given the rising penetration of brands, one can expect tremendous growth in this segment through licensing alliances. 

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