Japanese high-performance sports brand ASICS, which has had an exclusive contract with Mumbai Marathon for last nine years, extended it for another three years, informed Yasuhito Hirota, President & COO - ASICS and Rajat Khurana, Managing Director, ASICS India in an interaction with Business Today.
The company claims to be the market leader in the running segment in India and is looking to expand rapidly in the country by investing actively in brand partnerships.
"ASICS will be ramping up distribution of products through regional distributors and e-commerce portals. We currently have 34 stores in tier 1 and tier 2 cities and are on an aggressive expansion mode in India. We recently opened brand stores in Indore and Mumbai, and will be starting one in Jodhpur very soon," says Hirota.
ASICS India recorded sales of Rs 927 million in year ending March 2018 and said it has been growing at 35-40 per cent CAGR in India since 2015. It entered the Indian market in 2010 through a five-year partnership with Reliance Retail, and then set up its first independent store at Delhi's select city mall in 2015.
"As per latest research, India's sportswear market is worth Rs 7000 crore and has been growing at 19-20 per cent CAGR. While it's difficult to quantify how much market share we own, but our market share in performance range is quite high. We are leaders in running segment," says Rajat Khurana, who was the first employee of the company in India.
Globally, ASICS expects to record $5 billion sales by FY20 at the exchange rate of 100 yen vs a dollar.
On product differentiation, Hirota says they employ gel technology to provide appropriate cushion with comfort to the runners. "Gel tech is our USP. We have a research institute in Kobe in Japan, where 300 people work to analyse how people run, what are the special pressure points and various running styles. We also have gait machines to analyse this better. We focus on safety durability and comfort," he says.
"Our brand philosophy is Anima Sana In Corpore Sano, which translates to "a sound mind in a sound body. Every innovation, concept and idea by ASICS, has been created with an aim to be true to this founding philosophy," he adds.
ASICS India earmarks 9-10 per cent of sales into marketing. "We invest heavily on the product because ultimately product must speak for itself. Our repeat customers are quite high," says Khurana. For brand recognition, ASICS India recently on-boarded Karman Kaur Thandi, Jasprit Bumrah and Bhuvaneshwar Kumar. Asics products are available between the price points of Rs 3,999 and Rs 17,999.