Why Does India Presents An Opportunity to Global Licenses?

Western brands cracking the code of India's licensing model

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By Aastha Singal


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Holding the key population of 1.3 billion, India presents a huge opportunity for international players to venture into. With respect to brand licensing, it is a market of untapped opportunities and scale. Whilst many Licensors (brand owners) have been active in India for many years, the economy is still developing in many ways.

From Licensors and Licensees to Retailers and Consumers, all stakeholders in the consumer chain are yet to fully understand the value of a brand license, making India an exciting territory to operate in for global giants. Add in the cultural and social variance, the diversity and scope for growth in almost of every aspect.

The Indian market is opening up to newer genres and strategies to induct brand licensing in the existing retail model, slowly realizing the potential of Licensing and Merchandising. While the western brands do not have it easy cracking this immensely fragmented market, they are willing to understand and that's what makes the difference.

The Changing Landscape

India's fragmented retail scenery and the huge geographical size as a country might act as a con for many players but at the same, they offer huge opportunity. While the disposable income levels will obviously dictate consumers' appetite for branded goods, changing landscape for retail in India would further encourage global brands to pump money into the country.

"The increased number of shopping/retail malls, franchise mono-brand stores which all are proven to enhance the consumer-retail experience and when combined with improvements in the public transportation infrastructure, this will change a challenge to an opportunity for Licensing in India," expressed Dan Frugtniet, the Managing Director of Big Picture Licensing believes.

Sharing an example of a tried model that has been proven over the last 25 years in many territories including Russia, LATAM and Central & Eastern Europe, Frugtniet is positive that as the GDP increases and more consumers have a higher level of disposable income, Indian customers' shopping habits will change, leading to increased demand for branded goods.

Tech-y Talking

The penetration of online commerce has played an extremely significant role in the increased opportunity for international brands in India and when combined with the smartphone revolution, all consumers have all retailers in their literal pocket! As per estimates, 465 million people in India now have access to the internet and this figure is predicted to double by 2025.

Currently, Indians are coming online at a pace of three people every second. A major stratum of the population speaks English and is using social media, making them accessible to brands for digital engagements. As an internet-savvy nation, Indians today have the world in their palm, in their mobile devices. After all, even if they don't understand a concept, they can just Google it!

Speaking at Franchise India's Licensing Expo 2019, Sandeep Dahiya, the Director & Business Head – Brand Extension, BCCL had expressed that today, no one looks out because "everybody is looking on the device, everything is in their hands and that's what we have to address going forward. Companies like Flipkart, Myntra and Amazon could do something in five years that took the conventional retailers 20-25 years to achieve."

Benefitting Consumer

India is huge, both in size and scale. The scope of consumer market in India makes it extremely interesting and exciting for all Licensors for a long-term investment opportunity. India being a democracy offers a great break for both local Indian IP/brands to expand nationally and for foreign IP/brands to expand in India &/or enter the market for the first time.

India is obsessed with numbers but the recently discussions on innovative has changed the way things work here. Seeing things from the consumer perspective, Dahiya believes that "breaking the mold, creating newer models of business will guide India over the next five years to a great opportunity." Licensing prefers an opening to jump over the temporary hurdles like government regulations and others.

"Licensing is able to basically find that best regional operator, bring all of those people together and you allow them to operate autonomously and this is what the brand is," John Erlandson, Chief Business Officer, Authentic Brands Group stated at the Licensing Expo, furthering on how Licensing can benefit India's consumer base.

For more insight into the world of licensing, the third edition of country's largest brand licensing platform - India Licensing Expo 2019 is all set to make a return on July 8-9,2019 at Bombay Convention & Exhibition Centre, Mumbai.

Register for the event here.

Aastha Singal

Entrepreneur Staff

Former Features Writer

A business journalist looking to find happiness in the world of startups, investments, MSMEs and more. Officially started her career as a news reporter for News World India, Aastha had short stints with NDTV and NewsX. A true optimist seeking to make a difference, she is a comic junkie who'd rather watch a typical Bollywood masala than a Hollywood blockbuster. 

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