By Masoom Gupte
Men’s apparel brand Peter England has decided to cast its proverbial net wider, setting sights on the Indian luggage market. The Aditya Birla group brand has been extended into work and travel bags like laptop cases, messenger bags, backpacks, duffle bags and so on, with the range christened Peter England Bags.
The extension is quite natural for an apparel brand, say company officials. It is in line with the trend of treating bags as an accessory that enhances one’s personality and not just a means to carry one’s things around. That should explain the brand’s ‘collection approach’ to the new portfolio. “Our bag collection will be designed keeping in mind the changing apparel trends. So consumers can expect new collections in conjunction with those for apparel during different seasons,” says Kedar Apshankar, COO, Peter England.
Peter England Bags will be targeted at young professionals, in the age bracket of early 20s to 30s, much like its apparel that plays in the mid-price segment. Peter England bags will sport price tags between Rs 1,000 and Rs 4,000 in order to appeal to this audience.
Though Peter England harbours ambitions of creating an entirely new category for itself, it is not alone in spotting the opportunity. The brand will find competition from luggage makers American Tourister and VIP and casual bag makers like Fastrack, which intend to cash in on this growing pool of consumers. In fact, they have also introduced products like laptop backpacks and regular backpacks at price points starting as low as Rs 750.
Apshankar, however, doesn’t think there is anything to worry about. He says, “Our competition is either brands catering to serious travel segments, not associated much with work, and talking largely to families as a unit, rather than individuals or those that are more youth oriented, focused on students, not professionals.” Peter England will do well to remember that many other brands are beginning to focus on both the segments — college students and young executives.
Positioned as the ‘carrier of purpose’, Peter England hopes the product will become part of the owner’s journey. This proposition will be reinforced through a high decibel print, outdoor and digital campaign over the next few weeks. The brand will utilise its existing distribution network, spanning 525 exclusive stores and 2,000 multi-brand outlets in more than 700 towns, initially. The company hopes to choose the multi-brand outlets carefully because many of them also stock locally made or unbranded bags.
All said, the opportunity cannot be underestimated. Industry players variously peg the size of the luggage market at Rs 1,800 to Rs 3,000 crore. They more or less agree on the size of the organised luggage segment and peg it at Rs 500-600 crore. The bright point is that the organised segment is growing rapidly as consumers become conscious about style and quality.
With the travel industry witnessing a boom, Peter England hopes to replicate its success in men’s apparel — the company says, it is the largest menswear brand in India with 8 million garments sold every year — in the new market as well.