Activewear brand HRX, co-owned by Hritik Roshan and talent management firm Exceed Entertainment with e-tailer Myntra as a joint venture partner, was introduced to redefine fitness.
E-commerce was not such a rage in 2014 when we launched the brand. These were the early days and we took a very brave decision at that point in time which seems to be the most remarking decision in the journey of HRX. Our risks have been mitigated and our thought processes have been validated but going online was probably the best decision that we made and that we did with Myntra,” says Afsar Zaidi, Co-founder, and CEO, HRX.
From 2014 to now, Myntra has invested in our fashion and footwear. We have licensed newer categories to Flipkart like our audio range and fitness equipment. We at HRX have also found investors for Curefit which has been renamed Cultfit now. We’ve been very successful in getting like-minded partners and it has helped us to engage with our consumers through multiple categories and there are some very interesting things that we have done in this journey,” he adds.
The brand has come a long way and clocked Rs 500 crore revenue last fiscal year.
Expanding into New Categories
HRX has recently launched a new category - sports and fitness equipment.
“This category is a very natural extension because of a term that has cropped up among consumers in the new normal - everyday athlete. HRX really caters to the everyday athlete that resides in every house in India. The pandemic last year compelled most of us to focus on our health and fitness whether it was walking or running or taking up any physical activity but fitness and health have become a very important aspect of our life,” Zaidi states.
At present, the category offers basic equipment like dumbbells, yoga mats, netballs, and a few things that consumers might need to sort of work out at home by themselves. However, going ahead, the brand plans to add an entire portfolio of sports equipment like all the equipment for skateboarding, kickboxing, tennis, soccer, etc.
“The next plan of approach is to have bigger equipment at home like steppers, cardio bikes, and home-gym combo so that you can have a whole room set up in your house and lastly cycle, bi-cycles. With all these additions, we are hoping to take the business up but it is going to be a slow burn because the pandemic has slowed down the business so we had no choice to stagger it,” asserts Zaidi.
“If we look at HRX today, sports and fitness within one year have been 2 percent of the overall brand. We have plans of doubling it year-on-year and that is how the sports and fitness equipment category will grow. Also, the numbers get added because of the addition of categories. We see a huge upside in the business post-2020,” adds Pallavi Barman, Head Marketing and Operations, HRX.
The brand is planning to foray into the fitness-tech space by launching wearables, smartwatches, fitness trackers, etc by next month. Apart from this, the brand is also looking forward to expanding in the grooming and nutrition category.
HRX has always believed in a community building so the brand has always been at the forefront of building communities for each category.
“Key people who are known for their progress in the fitness industry, who can comment on the sports and fitness space, we will be utilizing them and you will see a lot of these digital activations consistently being done on our social media handles as well as our partner Flipkart’s social media handle,” shares Zaidi.
“Given the normal circumstances, we end up spending 5 percent of the revenue towards marketing, all in combined across the platforms but this year has been different and our APIs have had a very different. What we are not trying to do is much of brand recall and top of mind. We are actually spending on improving our efficiencies which is focused on increasing traffic and conversion, so I will say about 2-3 percent of the revenue will go into the marketing of the brand this year, and a lot of it will be digital, of course. Actually, 80-90 percent of it will be digital, with different platforms ranging from social media to content to performance marketing to optimization.
Is Going Omnichannel or Adopting D2C Strategy on the Cards?
Right now, the brand is focusing online. Pre-pandemic, there were a lot of discussions of going for offline expansion and getting into multiple routes where the brand could connect with customers in the offline space.
“Now the focus is to ensure that we build our online presence and once we are back to normal, I think that is when we will all huddle together and see if offline is the route to be taken or not but it is still early days because we still need to override this pandemic,” explains Zaidi.
“D2C is the buzzword and is the way to go about it for any and every brand today. Things are changing, the platform dependency is reducing in a big way. We may end up doing that but we will be very carefully choosing the category where we would like to do this. It has to be a very simple category where we know the back end as well as the front end very well. It can be an area of experience for us but not in a complicated category because we are not the category experts for all the multi-category things that we do in the industry,” adds Burman.
Currently, the brand is focusing on becoming better at what they do.
“Sports and Fitness category is at a very nascent stage, as it has been launched a couple of months back. The audio range is just a year old and with the couple of new launches that are being planned, we have to keep working hard. The idea is to keep pushing it to the extreme and keep going,” Zaidi concludes.