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In January 2016, Titan Company Ltd launched JUXT, its first smartwatch, in India. Retailing in India at Rs15,995, the watch is available for sale in Titan’s own stores, on its in-house e-commerce site titan.co.in, in a few key multibrand outlets and at internet retailers such as Myntra.com. According to the company, it is targeting men in the age group of 28-40 years who are looking for a fashionable watch integrated with technology that will help them stay connected.
We spoke to Somprabh Singh, Head of Design & Technology at Titan Company Ltd, to find out more about JUXT and the strategic reasoning behind its launch.
Source: Euromonitor International
For the launch of JUXT, Titan partnered with the renowned consumer electronics company The Hewlett-Packard Company (HP). Titan’s partnership with a technology company is not quite unique. We have seen many companies operating in the apparel space partnering with technology companies to introduce wearables. The sportswear brand Under Armour, for example, teamed up with smartphone maker HTC to launch a line of health and fitness-monitoring devices called Healthbox in 2016. Most of the non tech-based companies have experimented with wearables to remain relevant to the young consumers, including women, who have been turning even more tech savvy. With the introduction of Titan’s smartwatch, it is clear that the launch of smartwatches won’t be restricted to only mobile phone manufacturers such as Apple any more.
As market leaders it’s important for us to keep the category exciting and relevant. We have always focussed on consumer needs and preferences while creating our watches. The introduction of the first smartwatch from an Indian brand stems from that thought. Our future plans will also be focussed around creating excitement and relevance.
In terms of its appearance, JUXT is more of a watch. Why is it different to watches from Apple, Samsung, LG or Motorola?
We are a lifestyle accessories brand and through our products we try to serve the fashion and lifestyle needs of our consumers. That was our outlook when we were designing JUXT. We wanted to create a lifestyle accessory that was enabled with smart features, which is why it is also differentiated. We believe that what you wear is fashion and what you carry is technology.
Currently JUXT is available only for men, any plans to introduce similar watches for women? Since jewellery is huge in India, is smart jewellery an area of interest?
We have received many requests from our female consumers for a women’s version of JUXT. Unfortunately we couldn’t launch one along with this watch, but hopefully we will be able to crack one soon. Jewellery is also an interesting category, but no steps have been made in that direction.
Any plans to take this product beyond India to other countries? If so, which markets and when?
At this point in time we are retailing these watches in India and also for the first time in the US, the UK and Canada with the help of our technology partner, HP.
What are the reasons you chose HP as partner for smartwatches?
HP being a consumer facing company brought very interesting insights to the table. They had been very successful with their first launch, Chronowing, which they had introduced in the US in collaboration with the American fashion design Michael Bastion, and their proposition for JUXT was very suitable to our beliefs. Moreover, they are well known for technology.
Do you think regular watches will be phased out at some stage in India?
The killer app in watches has always been emotions; people are very attached to their timepieces as it is the only electronic device that you wear. Technology can only help make that proposition more exciting and relevant. Having said that, watches will certainly undergo change, but will not be phased out as long as there is a heart ticking in our bodies.
The launch of Juxt by Titan, underlines the importance the industry places on wearables. Slowly but surely wearables will continue to compete with watches for wrist space and this will impact the potential growth in traditional watches globally. To fight against the competition and be better prepared, global traditional watchmakers such as Fossil Inc have already announced their ventures into the wearables space in 2016. Fossil is likely to introduce smartwatches and fitness trackers in 2016, which would allow the company to diversify.
Wearables will not only continue to outperform growth in watches, it will also remain the fastest-growing product within consumer electronics to 2020. It does seem like the right time to invest in wearables, although it continues to be a niche category in India, as of 2016.