Share details about the inception of Thomson Audio in India?
Ms Rohini Walia:-Thomson is a European brand with over 120 years of heritage. The brand is recognized globally for advanced technology, its R&D efforts and innovation. It is celebrated for its outstanding designs as much as its technology and powerful performance. Bringing its legacy to India, Thomson Audio started its operations in India in 2019 when Envent Worldwide acquired the brand license of Thomson Audio in India. In India our key audiences are Youth in the age group of 15 to 35 and hence we have launched our “Youth Machine” product range
Your thoughts on the current lockdown situation in India has how it has affected your business?
Ms Rohini Walia:-The widespread outbreak of Coronavirus has left businesses around the world counting costs. Sectors and industries in India as well are now grappling to sustain and counter the threatening impact of the pandemic on the overall economy. Fear of the virus spread and the government’s lockdown is also having a devastating impact on all industries including the electronics sector. We had a bad start of the calendar year 2020 when China was locked down and we weren’t getting the shipments and when production got stabilized, the demand tanked in India.
Zero Sale is hitting us the hardest at the moment and that is leading to a lot of consequential issues in finance & marketing. We cannot do anything about it, but hope for this phase to pass soon without much damage and losses to anyone.
How do you see the growth of Offline and Online Retail with respect to the current market scenario?
Ms Rohini Walia:-Majority of our business was coming from Online e-com portals, followed by B2B corporate sale. Offline Retail was on the verge of opening and it was aligned to be open from 1st April but that got pushed by couple of months now. So considering the situation, we are trying to further strengthen our e-com offering and also coming out with our own e-commerce ready portal www.thomsonaudio.in so we can reach out to our consumers directly. We are also in discussion with few Distributor partners to start the channel business soon.
Brief on the recent FDI Norms by the Government
Ms Rohini Walia:-I think this has to be understood in detail. The government hasn’t banned any investment from any of the specific countries but just put in a process where this investment should be approved by the respective authorities. We think the Government can manage the concerns little more smartly by specific verticals or sectors where this process should be followed. India organizations need fund support to grow in these tough times and creating any barrier can be counterproductive in these circumstances. There are various ways & mechanism which can be taken care off to ensure transparency and long term objectives are taken care off without bothering the short term growth need.
How do you see your Growth in the Indian Market in the next 3 years?
Ms Rohini Walia:-Indian Audio market is growing at a breakneck pace. We expect this market to grow at 30-40% YoY for next 3 years. The Personal Audio demand is led by OTT channels whereas the super surge in demand for Flat LED TVs has fuelled demand for Home Audio products like Soundbar, Towers, etc. We are extremely well placed to ride the tide with our innovative, Well priced, equipped with the latest technology products. We are intent to double our market shares every year for next 3 years to be a serious player in the Audio market.
What are your Future Plans?
Ms Rohini Walia:-It’s just a beginning in India. There are miles to go before we can claim it a success. We have entered the market with very limited SKUs & figuring out consumer response and ask. Our target audience in India in youth in the age group of 15 to 30 years. It’s very critical to understand their task, their choices, and then fine-tune the product range accordingly. Beyond India, we are also targeting to expand to neighboring countries like Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bangladesh, etc and are looking for partners to sell there.
Smart devices that are always connected via Alexa or Siri etc is another growth lever. Most of the AUDIO devices have MIC so they will act as the Input source to a lot of other devices like TV, Refrigerators, or even Air conditioners, etc. We have already launched BT speakers which are Google Home enabled and you can connect with smartphones and take instruction. We are developing a complete range of “Smart Products” over next few months,
What were the key achievements of Thomson in the Year 2019?
Ms Rohini Walia:-2019 was our first year in the Indian market and we started placing our products only in Oct’19. The goal of first 3 months of inception was to clearly understand people perception of the brand and understand their choices and preference for the specific range. From that perspective we are extremely happy with the response and that has clearly defined our path forward for the years to come.