Travel Sustainable: Samsonite’s new line of luggage is made from yoghurt cups and plastic bottles
- Premium luggage brand Samsonite has launched a new sustainable range of products for its consumers.
- As travel picks up, GenZ and Millennials are becoming more conscious about their carbon footprint, which is expected to give a push to the sustainable luggage industry.
- Jai Krishnan, CEO India at Samsonite South Asia speaks to Business Insider India about the company’s foray into sustainable luggage and travel trends.
- Samsonite plans to invest ₹250 crore in ramping up its storage and warehousing capacity.
AdvertisementAfter the pandemic wreaked havoc on the travel industry, the conversations around sustainability have been getting louder. Younger travellers are placing greater emphasis on sustainability, opting for greener flights to neutralise their carbon footprint and looking for luggage made out of eco-friendly materials.
This growing awareness inspired global luggage manufacturer and retailer Samsonite to launch a biodegradable, eco-friendly range of luggage.
“In the initial years, we had a different approach to sustainability. We thought we must make products that are long-lasting, durable for consumers, provide product repairability, which means less replacement in the market, leaving much less impact on the environment,” Jai Krishnan, CEO India, Samsonite South Asia told Business Insider India.
As the company’s outlook on sustainability changed, it has now launched a new line of luggage in the price range of ₹18,500 to ₹23,100. It’s made out of recycled material in collaboration with Quality Circular Polymers (QCP), a plastics recycling joint venture of SUEZ and LyondellBasell.
“Plastic mineral water bottles have been converted into the exterior of the hard-side cases and used into the lining that goes into a luggage,” said Krishnan.
Over 483 yoghurt cups and 14 plastic bottles worth of recycled plastic trash are used to create its large magnum eco luggage.
Consumers choose greener travel alternatives
Travel is one of the biggest polluting industries. However, consumers are making a conscious effort to make greener travel choices.
As per a Booking.com report, 91% of Indian travellers said that they want to travel more sustainably and 68% of them said that recent news about climate change has influenced them to make more
“With our consumers, awareness about footprint is very high. As they travel more and more, a lot of Samsonite consumers are on the plane for many days in the year, they are aware that every time they travel, they're leaving a footprint,” said Krishnan.
AdvertisementKrishnan said that consumers expect global industry leaders like Samsonite to help them be responsible, which gives them confidence about seeing healthy demand from consumers.
“Consumers expect global leaders to do it [lead the change], which is why we expect the business part of it will also grow because the number of consumers who are becoming more aware about the impact on the planet has increased. The younger generation especially is more aware of the climate. What Samsonite is doing today, everybody will eventually have to do. But this is not done with a pure business perspective because we owe it to the planet,” Krishnan told Business Insider India.
The premium luggage market
According to Krishnan, the total luggage industry is about ₹20,000 crore in India and out of which, 60-70% is unbranded. The premium luggage market has only managed to capture a 10% share and Samsonite occupies a 5% market share of this pie.
As demand for travel picked up, Samsonite saw a growth in its sales across categories.
Advertisement“Every category in the travel bag business is booming. We have grown by 110% this year in the first half of 2022. That's happening because Indians are itching to travel and the boom will continue for a fairly long time now,” said Krishnan.
Consumers are travelling and making the most of the opportunity this year.
“That there is wedding-associated travel, students have started again traveling outside India and within India -- they've started moving from smaller cities to bigger cities. Work from home is dropping. So many triggers have all worked together in these last few months, that there's a big boom in the industry,” said Krishnan.
This boom in travel is not just because of the festive season. Sales have been picking up across seasons.
“Earlier there used to be a lot of seasonality. Now, in the last seven-eight months have been so good that every month is a new record,” shared Krishnan with Business Insider India.
AdvertisementWhile Krishnan expects to see a jump in October and November, he said that the peaks were steeper in the past. Now, consumers are travelling all through the year.
Samsonite to invest ₹250 crore in ramping up its storage and warehousing capacity
To cater to this increasing demand, Samsonite has been ramping up its storage space and facility.
“We're increasing capacity again. We launched a new big factory in Nashik, Maharashtra in 2020. Now, within two years or two and a half years, we will invest approximately ₹250 crore in the factory itself,” said Krishnan.
It will install 10 machines and eight assembly lines by January 2024.
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