Fossil India’s Growth Has Been Multi-faceted: Johnson Verghese, Fossil India

He states Fossil India has engaged closely with the Indian market and perceived its unique customer segments, diverse preferences and refined tastes

Fossil has recently completed its 15 years of operation in India. On this, BW Marketing World interacts with Johnson Verghese, Managing Director, Fossil India.

Verghese has been with Fossil since the start of brand's journey in India. He joined the company in 2007 as Deputy Country Manager. Further, he has also served the brand as Managing Director for Fossil Malaysia and Singapore.

Excerpts from the Interview:

Q. The brand has completed its 15th year in India. Take us through some of the milestones, learnings and experiences.        

Over 15 years of operation of Fossil India, we've been dedicated to bringing our most innovative and fashion-forward offerings to our Indian customers. We have built a substantial on ground presence in the country, spanning over 1000 physical stores and at most leading online retailers like Amazon, Myntra, Flipkart, Nykaa and Ajio.

The Fossil range of products in India too has grown, expanding from watches to include jewellery, handbags, belts and accessories for men and women. Each product is built with our unwavering design values at heart - to create high quality products that let our customers express their individuality. We have taken a digital-first approach to the future with our range of smart watches; and are also making strides in eco-friendly products with our pro-planet collection of timepieces that carry forward our commitment to sustainability. Our pro-planet criteria aims to design for the future and reduce our carbon footprint - by 2025, we aim to design and produce 100 per cent of our product to meet our pro-planet criteria. 

Q. Why has India been a key market for the brand? What have been some of your observations about the Indian audience?

Fossil India’s growth has been multi-faceted, and spans across on-ground stores, retail outlets, as well as digital destinations. Our trailblasing growth in India has led to Fossil ranking No.1 in the traditional fashion watch category in department stores, online platforms and multi brand watch doors. As we continue to grow and serve India, we have today, 23 exclusive Fossil retail stores pan India, that offer the highest level of customer service. We also deliver to over 20,000 pin codes in India through 

Over the last 15 years, Fossil India has engaged closely with the Indian market and perceived its unique customer segments, diverse preferences and refined tastes. With innovation and functionality as a cornerstone, we continue to refine our product portfolio with style and fashion-forward elements to meet the expectations of our ever-evolving audiences. Aligning with the everyday needs of our consumers, we offer an assorted range of watches, bags, wallets, belts and modern yet elegant jewellery.

Strategy for the Indian market

Fossil understands that the Indian audiences are eager for new experiences and are early adopters of new technology, and have supported our endeavours to revolutionise our products continuously. This year we launched the evolution ranges of our Gen 6 smartwatches - Hybrid and Venture which were conceptualised with state of the art experiences for our tech-forward patrons. Over the years, we’ve also crafted a diverse array of accessories from bags to demi-fine jewellery, with the goal to make fashion accessible to everyone across the country. We have also focused on regional penetration through venturing into markets like Lucknow, Kolkata and similar.

Fossil’s future in the Indian market looks promising, as we evolve to build for a new digital-first market, with an emphasis on sustainability. We hope that the many innovations that we have planned to launch in the future, will be as well received by our customers, which only strengthens our commitment to innovate even more so in the future.
Q. What does it take for a global brand to cement itself in a market like India? How did Fossil overcome the hiccups?     

Fossil India’s success comes from listening to and building for our audience. Indian audiences are keen early adopters of new technology; they value innovation and style in equal measure. We are one of the only brands that offers a wide range of sleek and stylish smartwatches - a perfect blend of fashion and functionality. 

We know our consumers prefer watches that are unique and meet the signature Fossil standard of performance. We strive to provide our customers with just that, with our expanded range of products that is constantly updated with the latest styles and innovative features. Fossil watches are competitively priced, offering impressive value for money to consumers without compromising on the aesthetics or functionality. 

Q. We heard you have plans to expand into digital-first properties. Please throw light on it.

At Fossil India, we are very excited about the digital-first direction of timepieces and the multitude of possibilities it offers to innovate. We have already expanded into the smartwatch category with our Gen 6 Hybrid Smartwatch collection, which combines the style and aesthetic of a traditional chronograph with the multifunctionality of a digital smartwatch. It has been a showcase for some of our novel innovations like an internal SpO2 & heart rate sensor, Bluetooth 5.0, and an integrated Alexa uplink.

Q. How has the adoption of advanced and innovative technologies to delight consumers in this competitive market helped foster better relations with them?

With the hustle of hybrid working taking over the working world, smart wearables have witnessed a steady growth as consumers turn to smart devices to help them multitask and stay ahead of time. An increased focus on innovations related to holistic health and physical fitness along with wellness features continue to dominate the wearables market.

As smartwatches continue to compete for the attention of consumers, Fossil is one of the few brands that caters to the needs of those who prefer fashionable and sleek smartwatches. Our design philosophy gives an edge over other brands that focus only on the technology aspect. For the tech user who loves to accessorise, Fossil smartwatches offer a plethora of tech and wellness features while keeping in mind affordability without compromising on the aesthetic or functionality.

Fossil’s Gen 6 strikes the perfect balance between performance & power - a smartwatch that complements every aspect of your life. We know our consumers prefer watches that are unlike any other and we provide our customers with just that - a variety of options to choose from. Continued focus on fashion with no compromise on technology, the introduction of a wellness watch face for way faster access to all health related features - SpO2 tracker, sleep tracker, heart rate tracker, step and calorie counter and much more. Our design-conscious consumers can personalize the Gen 6 to suit their unique taste and style through an assortment of amenities like case sizes, hi-end designs, colours, straps, materials, watch faces etc. 

At Fossil, we are constantly updating our styles and designs while also upgrading our technology offerings to meet the demands of our consumers. While upgrading the fashion quotient, the watches have been equipped with the right kind of tech for smooth functionality affirming that fashion need not be sacrificed for top-notch performance. New innovations in styles and continued updates in the technology aspect of watchmaking has enabled us to remain unrivaled in our offerings to provide consumers with watches that are both fashion-forward as well as constantly updated on the technology front.

Q. Take us through the Indian partnerships and associations forged over the years. What new announcements are on the plate in the coming times?

In the last 15 years, Fossil India has been committed to bringing the world’s best designs and styles to the Indian audience and have collaborated with brands that mirror our principles. We’re aiming to work with iconic brands and designers to collaborate with Fossil and unearth creative partnerships that successfully tap into the unique aesthetic of each brand. This year alone, we collaborated with a myriad of esteemed international brands and introduced one-of-a-kind merchandise like Fossil x Batman Collection, Fossil x Smiley, Fossil x Maui & Sons, Fossil x Jeff Staple that were spectacularly received by our Indian customers and more such collaborations to come in the future. 

In addition we have built long term relationships with all our business partners that have stood us in good stead and truly believe that we are Greater Together.

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