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Helmets have now become lifestyle products, says Studds Accessories chief

Our Bureau Mumbai | Updated on August 14, 2020 Published on August 14, 2020

Sidhartha Bhushan Khurana, Managing Director, STUDDS Accessories Ltd

Studds Accessories sees a surge in demand due to pandemic where people prefer private vehicles to public transport

 

Two-wheeler helmet maker, Studds Accessories, recently commissioned a plant in Haryana, which is the largest of its kind in Asia. Beyond producing 7.5 million motorcycle helmets annually, this facility will also roll out 1.5 million units for bicycle users. Sidhartha Bhushan Khurana, Managing Director, discuses other trends with BusinessLine in an email interview:

What was the trigger for Studds to set up new capacity?

The two-wheeler helmet space in India has been growing rapidly, and with the introduction of some stringent government policies, demand is set to increase in the market.

We believe market opportunity is substantial and the Centre’s new policy on banning non-ISI certified helmets would give organised players in the helmet industry a big boost by driving demand. We are already the largest two-wheeler helmet manufacturer in the world and, looking at the current needs in the market and growing demand, decided to increase capacity.

Beyond India, do you plan to export these helmets?

We have a strong presence in the overseas helmet markets with both our brands: Studds and SMK. SMK is our premium brand and has had a great response in Europe and Latin America. Both brands are exported to over 40 countries, and we are looking forward to doubling exports over the next two years.

In which mobility segments do you see demand growing for helmets?

At present, we see a surge in demand in the two-wheeler segment due to the pandemic where people prefer private vehicles to public transport. Two-wheelers, in particular, will be sought after for reasons of affordability and this will see demand for helmets growing as well. This will continue in the next couple of years as safety norms tighten across the country.

We also anticipate good growth in the bicycle segment thanks to a growing concern among people on health. This will again trigger helmet growth in this category. Recently, Rohtak district made it mandatory for cyclists to wear helmets, and such norms will only fuel demand.

What changes do you anticipate in helmets of the future?

Helmets have now become lifestyle products and convey a statement for the rider. Earlier, we did not have many choices with helmet design, and they were solely perceived as headgear to protect the rider. Today, helmets have been integrated with the personality of the individual wearing them.

As the market develops, choices will shift towards aggressive helmets both in terms of design and graphics. Demand will also move from unorganised to organised markets as demand for quality products increases. We are also working towards integrating technology with helmets by making them smarter with the help of Bluetooth and bone conduction technology.

Do you plan to strengthen partnerships with OEMs for your helmets?

We have a healthy partnership with all the leading OEMs like Hero MotoCorp, Honda Motorcycle & Scooter India, Suzuki Motorcycle India, Royal Enfield and others. We are further planning to engage with other global players and strengthen our footprint.

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Published on August 14, 2020
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