< CEO speak >
Ten years from now, India will be a very strong growth driver, says Luc Perramond, CEO, Hermes Watches to Mitrajit Bhattacharya
Tell us about your key launches this year.
This year, we are introducing our first in-house mechanical movement on which we have been working for six years now. Finally, we will introduce it with two collections. One is the heritage for men, called Montre Dressage and the other is the heritage for ladies with a small-sized calibre, called Arceau.
What change do you witness in the profile of consumers across the world with dominance of newer markets like Asia and the age groups of customers going lower ?
Yes, it’s striking to see, especially coming from Asia. I think when you look at the Greater China or even Southeast Asia, more of our customers are young, in the age bracket of 25 to 35. These are young entrepreneurs, very successful, who want to go out and enjoy.
If the product is good, there are takers whether it’s from the Asian markets or a younger audience. Comment.
Definitely. These customers are looking for a brand with heritage, with true craftsmanship that will be very sincere and authentic in what they do. I think this is what Hermes is offering.
A 170 years of French marque brand known for scarves, neckties and Birkin bags, have you finally got over the style or the substance debate with your new launches in technical watch making?
We manage to communicate through our creation in watches, those values of the Hermes, namely elegance, refinement and craftsmanship with our new manufacture movement. In the timepiece division, we need to create a singular type business.
Do you foresee the industry being stronger this year and Hermes too?
For the industry as a whole, it may not be as strong as last year. But for us, because we have so many drivers for growth in our geography or product lines, we might have a strong year and are looking at a double digit growth.
How do you plan to address a market like India which has a lot of traditional and cultural groups but is very new as far as branded luxury is concerned?
We have started with Hermes in India and are now in three locations, the latest being in Mumbai. I think slowly people will discover Hermes. The next step for us will be to launch our watch collections in other parts of India. Ten years from now, India should be a very strong growth driver.
With newer markets like Asia demanding a lot of watches, do you see affordable luxury category outgrowing the niche heritage brands in terms of success?
Luxury will still be successful and do high volumes, but we prefer to concentrate on the value strategy, so more products with added value and substance.
How do you plan to scale up in the coming years?
Last year, we took a stake in one of our historical supplier of watch cases which is a strategic point. We are in discussion to acquire one of the dial manufacturer which will give us access to this wonderful know-how. It’s by integration of the supply side that you can secure your supply for the future; you can then guarantee your growth for the future.