Back-to-school is one of the biggest categories for us: Disney India

Character based Back-to-School category is one of the biggest categories for Disney in India and we are the market leaders.
Abhishek Maheshwari, VP & Head, Consumer Products, Disney India

Touted as the second most revenue generating season, Back-to-school is one of the most happening areas in Indian licensing and merchandising industry, given the availability of flock of kids’ centric properties. Gone are the times, when kid use to have just one set of back-to-school range; credits to the aspirational customers, BTS category has a lot to do with the sales of consumer product divisions.

In a candid conversation with Retailer, Abhishek Maheshwari, VP & Head, Consumer Products, Disney India talks about the exponential growth of licensed back-to-school category and the upcoming trends.


Tell us about Disney India’s play in the Back to School category. What are the trends/changes that you have observed over the years in it?

Character based Back-to-School category is one of the biggest categories for Disney in India and we are the market leaders. The Consumer Products business is aligned around four brands: Disney, Pixar, Marvel and Lucasfilm, which makes our stories and character universe vast.

Today, the taste of kids and families is evolving and ‘one size fits all’ formula doesn’t apply anymore. Kids from different age groups have different preferences, with younger kids opting for more obvious character branded back to school products and tweens going for more subtle designs like characters silhouettes, motifs etc.

To cater to our consumer needs, we have a full-fledged design team who focuses on the latest trends and works closely with our licensees to designs products that would appeal to fans across age segments. Given the vast universe of characters that Disney owns, we also have the ability to offer different characters basis gender and age group. For e.g. Disney Princesses and Frozen are popular amongst younger girls, Minnie is a big hit amongst tweens, Spider-Man with younger boys and the Avengers with older boys. 

What role has eCommerce played in this category?

Ecommerce is one of the fastest growing platform and it plays a crucial role in making our products available to consumer across India. It also provides the opportunity to display breadth of products in the desired fashion and drives impulse buying through suggestions of related products.

We closely work with multiple eCommerce players including Flipkart, Amazon, Snapdeal and many more to create dedicated character specific stores. This year, Flipkart is focusing on Back-to-School category, which enables us to push out our range of school supplies, creating the right visibility around the products.

Which are the markets that drive Back to School for Disney in the country?

Our aim is to ensure that our products reach every nook and corner of the country. While we continue to focus on increasing our distribution, we see a lot of demand for school supplies across all the major metros including – Mumbai, Delhi, Bangalore, Hyderabad, Chennai, Kolkata, Ahmedabad and others.

What percentage of the total consumer product market of Disney counts to back to school range?

We are the market leader in the character-branded back to school category in the country and the category contributes to 20 per cent of the overall Consumer Products business.

What are your highlights for this season?

Our product design team works hard to come up with new renditions of our classic and contemporary characters for every back to school season. This year, we have launched a wide range of Disney’s Frozen inspired school supplies which are popular amongst girls.

In fact Frozen products are one of the top selling products this season. Marvel Super Heroes - Avengers and Spider-Man, too are a rage amongst boys across ages. Lucasfilm is a new addition to the category and Star Wars branded products have been gaining traction amongst younger fans here.


Abhishek Maheshwari