India two-wheeler helmet market is projected to grow at a double digit rate, Sidhartha Khurana, STUDDS
We recently caught up with Sidhartha Bhushan Khurana, Managing Director, STUDDS Accessories Ltd to understand the plans of world's largest helmet manufacturer in terms of increasing the reach, investments, manufacturing facility and also future plans of growth.
1) How do you see the helmet industry growing in India? Can you please elaborate on the ways in which you are increasing the awareness of the same?
India two-wheeler helmet market is projected to grow at a double digit rate, owing to increasingly stringent regulations for both commuters and manufacturers of helmets in the country. With better awareness around safety and increased consumer spending on discretionary items, sale of two-wheeler helmets is forecasted to continue growing across the country in the coming years. With the new regulations from the govt. about banning of non-ISI helmets will only lead to more sales for organised helmets manufacturer. Also, the removal of weight restriction will see much safer helmets coming to Indian market leading to availability of better choice for commuters.
2) Your take on the Two-wheeler sales which has taken a major hit compared to that in last year, how has that affected business?
Covid-19 has disrupted the Indian economy badly but it has also given an opportunity to innovate. Our manufacturing plants were shut for few days only before we started with the production of face shields, goggles and masks.
With social distancing becoming new normal, people will definitely go back to their personal mode of transportation than using public transportation. Two wheeler being the most convenient way to ride in India, this will lead to increase in sales for the same, also, there would be a huge market for used two wheelers as well. This will definitely lead to more demand for helmets.
Also with the introduction of some stringent government policies, the demand is set to increase in the market. We believe the market opportunity is substantial and the government's new policy on banning non-ISI certified helmets will give organized players in the helmet industry, a big boost by driving demand.
All these factors will only lead to more sales for helmet industry.
3) How does STUDDS plan to increase its presence in the country?
We have recently started with two new manufacturing units which would help us to scale up from 7 million to 14 million helmets. We are already world's largest helmet manufacturer but these two new plants will help us to meet the demand.
4) Can you elaborate on the total investments made and how do you plan to utilise the same for the brand's growth in the country?
Over the last one and a half years, we have made the total investment of Rs. 200 crore to set up new facilities. These two new facilities will take our annual production capacity to 14 million. We are also starting bicycle helmets manufacturing.
These new facilities will help us in meeting the demands along with that it will help us in launching many new products.
5) STUDDS has been one of the forefront players in the make-in-India movement, can you highlight the key measures undertaken by the brand to support the same?
We have aligned ourselves with PM Modi's vision of make in India and due to which 99% of our products and their child parts are being made in house leading to zero dependency on other countries. We have recently started with two new manufacturing units with a total investment of Rs. 200 crore which talks volume about our commitment to make in India for the world.
6) With the present scenario on the Chinese imports, how has that affected the company's business?
We are the only Indian helmet manufacturer to have complete backward integration which helps us to command control on the quality of our products. The best part about our products is that 99% of our products and their child parts are being made in house which is a major breakthrough under Make in India initiative. We have aligned ourselves with PM Modi's vision of Make in India and this will lead to nearly zero dependency on other countries for our products and thus will not result in any supply chain disruption.
7) Your take on the latest helmet regulations?
Presently as per government sources, 3% of GDP is spent on road accidents and the number of deaths in case of road accidents is as high as the current pandemic. Hence government is focused on increasing the safety of riders by regularly updating themselves and enforcing new laws. For instance, as per Motor Vehicle bill, it is now mandatory to be wearing a helmet for all two-wheeler riders. Secondly, the government has introduced a policy which bans the production, sales and usage of non-ISI certified helmets. This policy will come in effect from March 1, 2021, this will be a major step towards upgrading the safety of 2 wheeler rider. Thirdly, government has accepted the fact that restriction of weight in case of helmets reduces the safety of the rider hence they have done away with the clause and this will encourage the organized players to develop better helmets. All these steps are aimed at increasing the safety of rider and we welcome such steps from the government.