Eight years after it was launched, Mia, a low-priced contemporary brand under the Tata group’s Tanishq line of jewellery, is pulling out all the stops.
Buoyed by rising urban disposable incomes, increasing availability of quality retail space and tumult among key rivals, Mia, a part of Tata’s watch and jewellery retailer Titan Company, is looking to more than double its number of stores by the end of the year.
Tanishq hopes that younger women looking for better designs, inexpensive products, and day-wear options will spend more on Mia. Over the next five to six years, Mia is targeting Rs 1,000 crore in turnover, adding 25 stores this year alone.
Titan recently put together a separate team for Mia and stepped up its number of collections from three annually to about six. It is also looking to move beyond gold and diamond, to silver and even Swarovski. “Positioning is very critical. We want to be viewed as an aspirational and fashion jeweller,” said Sandeep Kulhalli, senior vice-president for retail and marketing at Titan’s jewellery business.
The Indian jewellery market
India is a big jewellery market, although most of the demand is centred around weddings and festivals. Weddings alone account for 40% of all gold sales, followed by the harvest season and festivals.
In fact, Tanishq, Titan’s largest business, gets close to 35% of its sales across its 250 stores from the wedding market. The jeweller sells more traditional designs, including diamond pieces, gold sets, and wedding jewellery, priced at Rs20,000 and above.
Those prices leave many young professionals and first-time buyers with few choices, a gap Mia was expected to fill following its launch in 2011 with its 14-carat jewellery. Mia sells daily-wear gold and semi-precious stone jewellery now priced between Rs 4,000 and Rs 30,000. “We were then creating a market for more working women who were looking to buy gold and other gemstones or first-time jewellery buyers,” said Kulhalli.
With higher disposable incomes, especially in urban areas, young women are spending more on a variety of products like apparel, entertainment, and, of course, contemporary jewellery. “While the wedding market will continue to be big, the exciting part is that younger women are coming into the jewellery market,” said Kulhalli. “The occasions for which they are buying jewellery have also increased to daily-wear and social events.”
It also helps that India’s mall supply has steadily increased over the past few years, helping retailers such as Mia open more stores to target affluent shoppers.
Market experts reckon there is a shift in consumer preferences, which Tanishq is trying to capture.
“There is clearly a subtle shift in how consumers are viewing jewellery purchases that are more daily-wear than those bought for big occasions,” said Ankur Bisen, vice-president at management consulting firm Technopak. But a brand like Mia, he added, is likely to face tough competition from a large number of local jewellery retailers and a spurt of new-age contemporary designers in the country’s large cities.
India’s Rs 1.7 lakh crore gems and jewellery market has lately benefited from the introduction of the goods and services tax and demonetisation. These changes have prompted some shoppers to buy gold from big chains that promise proper bills and minimise the use of cash.
For the financial year 2018, Titan clocked a turnover of Rs 15,655 crore, up 20% from the previous year. Profit was up 52% at Rs 1,571 crore. Moreover, with the recent banking scam associated with one of India’s top jewellers, Nirav Modi, diverted customers towards rivals like Tanishq, which cashed in by offering guarantees on quality and certified jewellery.
Now it’s Mia’s turn.
This article first appeared on Quartz.