Safilo to launch Dior eyewear in India

As Safilo looks at doubling its revenues from India in the next five years, it will eventually have full representation of its entire portfolio of close to 30 brands


A screen grab of Safilo website.
A screen grab of Safilo website.

Mumbai: Italian eyewear company Safilo S.p.A whose portfolio of brands include Carrera, Polaroid, Smith, Safilo and Oxydo and the licensed branded collections of Dior, Fendi, Gucci, Banana Republic, Bobbi Brown and Boss is launching Dior eyewear collection in India later this year.

As the $1.2 billion Safilo looks at doubling its revenues from India in the next five years, it will eventually have full representation of its entire portfolio of close to 30 brands. Currently, 17 of its brands are being retailed in the country through various retailers and distributors.

“India is an important country for us and we see great potential,” said Luisa Delgado, chief executive officer, Safilo who was in Mumbai to meet retailers and media on Monday. She said business from India is currently is not big at the moment, however, “The company is willing to invest and focus upon the country going forward.”

Two months ago, India was included in Safilo’s Dubai-based Middle East and Africa operations, moving out of the Asia-Pacific region.

“This move has allowed us to give the region better support and more investments,” she said.

India, Middle East and Africa account for 10% of the company’s overall revenues and India will be an important part of this region, said Delgado.

Safilo, which has an Indian subsidiary Safilo India Pvt. Ltd established in 2001, is now looking at building a local team here.

India is high on the list for most international eyewear companies. In 2013,world’s largest eyewear company Luxottica Group S.p.A whose brand portfolio includes Ray-Ban, Oakley and Vogue Eyewear besides licensed brands like Giorgio Armani, Burberry, Bulgari, Chanel, Michael Kors, Prada and Ralph Lauren launched a campaign specifically for India, with Deepika Paudukone for its Vogue eyewear collection.

Luxottica which has its own retail chains to sell its eyewear creations plans to expand its retail network, adding some 1,000 Sunglass Huts in the next few years to its existing 3,000 in such places as Brazil, India and Southeast Asia, Wall Street Journal reported on 2 March.

In 2015, FGX International, a wholly-owned subsidiary of Essilor International, a leading eyewear designer and marketer launched its operations in India with Foster Grant Signature, the company’s iconic 85 year old eyewear brand.

Even Indian companies like Titan Co. Ltd and Lenskart Solutions Pvt. Ltd, a Delhi-based e-commerce site for prescription glasses and frames are expanding their operations in this segment.

The Indian eyewear market is rapidly growing given the young population and growing awareness of branded eyewear and long wave ultraviolet A (UVA) and short wave ultraviolet B (UVB) sun protection. “The market grew at 10% per annum for the last five years up to 2015 and going forward it is expected to grow at an even higher clip of 20% up to 2018,” said Anil Talreja, partner, Deloitte Haskins and Sells Llp, a consulting firm.

However, over 90% of the eyewear market—which includes sunglasses, contact lenses, spectacle lenses and frames and other products like optical accessories like eye lens solutions—is vision correction. Moreover, the branded share is less than 30% for the eyewear spectacles and frames market while unbranded is over 70%. Also, close to 70% of this market is at price points below Rs.1,500, said Talreja.

For companies like Safilo, the entry point starts at Rs.3,000. Brands like Polaroid and Swatch which it is marketing as a part of its mass cool segment equivalent to the fast fashion brands like Zara and H&M will be priced below €100. Brands in the lifestyle and fashion category are upwards of Rs.8,500. “We see growth potential for all segments here,” said Delgado, who plans to have a presence across all segments and be competitively priced in India.

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