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Skechers’ larger focus for the year will be to work towards our goal of being one of the largest footwear brands in India: Rahul Vira, Skechers South Asia
Rahul Vira, CEO, Skechers South Asia shares with us how the company is changing its marketing strategy as per latest consumer trends
How Skechers is working towards becoming one of the largest footwear brands in India
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Skechers’ larger focus for the year will be to work towards our goal of being one of the largest footwear brands in India: Rahul Vira, Skechers South Asia

How Skechers is working towards becoming one of the largest footwear brands in India
  • After a year of restrictions, there is an inherent desire among people to step out of their homes, even if it is for a simple walk in the neighborhood. Consumers are also prioritising their health, which has pushed up sportswear demand in our country.
  • On the back of this trend, with a huge media splash with brand ambassador Ananya Panday and new product launches, American footwear major Skechers is aiming to become one of India’s largest footwear brands this year.
  • Rahul Vira, CEO, Skechers South Asia shares with us how the company is changing its marketing strategy as per latest consumer trends, idea behind the campaign with Ananya Panday, impact of the pandemic on the footwear business, vision for the year and the roadmap ahead.
In recent years, we have seen customers buying different shoes for different needs as well as being more invested in the athleisure segment. Exploiting this trend and giving Indian sneaker aficionados an opportunity to be a part of the global sneaker culture, American footwear major Skechers is now aiming to become one of India’s largest footwear brands. The brand that forayed in our country in 2012, aims to expand its presence further by targeting Tier II and III cities.

Skechers is also ramping up its presence across sportswear category to meet its goal for this year.

Rahul Vira, CEO, Skechers South Asia said, “As a brand, the focus has always been on addressing the needs of our customers. Our larger focus for the year will be to work towards our goal of being one of the largest footwear brands in India.”

“We always try to address the needs of our customers, and our strategy is directly related to the growing trends in the market. Our focus currently is to drive growth in the untapped markets and meet the growing demand for our products. We are currently expanding into more markets, penetrating Tier 2 and 3 markets, while increasing our product line to more categories. We predominantly sell lifestyle and performance footwear in India, but plan to ramp up our presence in the accessories and apparel department.”

According to data and analytics company Global Data, the Asia-Pacific (APAC) sportswear market is projected to grow at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 9.4% from $189.8 billion in 2020 to $297.8 billion in 2025.

“The sneaker industry in India is the second-largest market in the world after China with a huge amount of untapped potential. India is a market with tremendous potential, and we expect the footwear industry to expand greatly in the coming years. A huge section of India’s tier 2 & 3 markets are growing and this is where we believe the next phase of growth for the footwear industry will occur. At present we offer products in the performance, athleisure and fashion segments and aim to further diversify our product portfolio within these segments,” said Vira.

With the pandemic forcing most of the population to work from home, there has been a prominent shift towards their physical and mental well-being. Consumers are prioritising their health, regularly exercising and making high value purchases at greater volumes than they did before.

Sharing how the consumer behaviour has changed after the pandemic in India, Vira said, “The pandemic has resulted in a dynamic shift in consumer behaviour, their preferences have tilted to more need-based shopping as opposed to occasion-based shopping. People are buying with intent. Comfortable footwear is essential as lifestyles have become more relaxed. Skechers is the Comfort Technology Company. Now more than ever, consumers want comfort which is why they look at our portfolio of products to meet this need. Athleisure is also seeing market-beating growth and has accelerated the ongoing trend of casualization of wardrobes, which has worked in our favour. Additionally, there is a growing affinity towards solo sports and our performance category of shoes, specifically running, is perfectly positioned for that trend.”

To cast its net wider in the country, Skechers India also launched a campaign, Originals Keep Moving with Ananya Panday. It aims to captivate the minds of the young and vibrant consumers ‘who stop at nothing and keep moving forward despite the odds.’

Elaborating on the campaign idea, Vira said, “This year we have a slightly different take on the Originals Keep Moving campaign. Our central focus was on bringing to life original creators and how they keep moving forward in life, no matter what the odds are. Ananya Panday, being a youth and style icon, is a perfect fit for promoting the campaign since it is aimed at appealing to the fashion-conscious youth of the country. Our association with Ananya has been successful in conveying our vision and brand purpose to our audience as well as creating love and desire for our products. Like Ananya, Skechers too is a young kid on the block for consumers in India, though actually turning 30 years old next year, looking to create a lasting impression with our distinguished and unique products.”

The American footwear brand began this quarter in India with the launch of its flagship campaign and now, with festive season around the corner, the company is focussing on offering more innovative and comfortable designs to tap into remote markets in India.

Sharing the company’s festive plan and short-term goals, Vira said, “At present, customers are more inclined to need-based shopping, and hence our efforts are directed towards fulfilling their fashion, performance, health, and fitness needs. Skechers is the Comfort Technology Company. Now more than ever, consumers want comfort which is why they look at our portfolio of products to meet this need. This includes our unique fits like Arch Fit, Relaxed Fit, and Stretch Fit; and outsoles that only Skechers offers like Max Cushioning, Glide-Step, and Hyper Burst. It’s at the core of everything we do. Comfort is first this festive season.”