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India had higher sales growth than our global average in 2018, says Monachon, VP-Omega

Demonetisation and GST had been disturbing and affected the brand in the luxury space, says Jean-Claude Monachon, vice president of Omega.

, ET Bureau|
Apr 30, 2019, 06.52 PM IST
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"Our social media platform has many youngsters as followers now. We are still in infancy stage in India on social media and ecommerce platforms but we are taking baby steps to catch up with our international counterparts," Jean-Claude Monachon, vice president of Omega said.
Jean-Claude Monachon, vice president of Omega and head of product and customer service, engages in a quick chat about the Swiss watchmaking company’s performance in India during his recent visit to Bengaluru to launch a line of women’s timepieces.

How has India been as a market for Omega in FY18-19? Would you still rank it at number 12 globally?
Worldwide, our company has seen a double-digit growth in 2018. While we cannot disclose the figures, interestingly, India has witnessed a higher growth than our global average last year.

Demonetisation and GST had been disturbing and affected the brand in the luxury space. We recovered in 2018 and have performed well. We predict similar growth in sales in 2019. Calamities and terror attacks can affect the economy but the first trimester has been comfortable.

India is still at number 12 for us. Since the sales growth has been higher than global percentage last year, India may jump to 11th or 10th rank by the end of 2019.

Which are the current top three markets in India? Will you expand to other cities?
Mumbai, Delhi and Bengaluru, in that order. We want to consolidate these markets now, retain the number of stores and increase our market share. It is our strategy for this year. We don’t want to spread ourselves too thin.

Omega roped in 16-year-old international supermodel model Kaia Gerber as the new face of your 117-year-old brand. Do you observe a change in your company’s customer profile?
The average age of our customer has dropped and the range has widened. It has shifted from 30-60 years to 25-65 years now in the recent times. We brought young model Kaia Gerber on board to attract younger clientele. We have invested more in social media promotions to attract the younger audience.

Our social media platform has many youngsters as followers now. We are still in infancy stage in India on social media and ecommerce platforms but we are taking baby steps to catch up with our international counterparts.

The industry is abuzz with smart watches and fashion timepieces. As a classic luxury brand with a high price tag, how do aim to keep your brand interesting for millennials who stay abreast on technology, trends and good deals?
Millennials have a different mindset but they still have emotion. A digital watch cannot give you emotion. A fashion watch is glitzy and it is good to see many brands offering products for the very young generation. Young consumers can change and wear fashion watches like socks on a daily basis.

However, a luxury mechanical watch has a heart inside with an engine. Our watches have both historic legacy and new technology, which hooks the millennials. Moreover, the consumer market today has a lot more businesswomen than ever. Women entrepreneurs want to make a statement. We will tap them apart from millennials.
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