What is the current market size for the helmet industry in India? What is your market share?
With 1.5 lakh people dying on Indian roads in 2015, motor safety is top priority for the government. With two-wheelers accounting for a bulk of the road accidents, the use of helmets is crucial to improving safety standards.
India, being the largest two-wheeler market, in the world offers a huge opportunity not just to helmets manufacturers but equally to manufacturers of two-wheeler accessories. Over 15 million fresh two-wheelers added to the roads every year make it a huge untapped industry. As per estimates, and if we go with the regulations, 100 million helmets are required every year making it a 100 million industry.
However, it’s a pity that 90 per cent of the market is still unorganised. And if you talk about the branded products there are only three companies in India i.e. Steelbird, Studds and Mega. An unbranded helmet is sold for mere Rs.100 with an ISI mark so these manufacturers are playing havoc with people’s lives. The second factor which is affecting the industry is that helmet is not mandatory in all states. It is just a few cities like Mumbai, Delhi, Jaipur, Chandigarh where it is mandatory to wear helmet while riding on road. If it becomes mandatory for all then it’s a huge untapped industry.
We at Steelbird Group are also geared up to capitalise on this massive opportunity. In the last five years, we have almost tripled our production and today Steelbird is equipped to produce 21,000 helmets a day across our multiple manufacturing facilities. Steelbird holds more than 30 percent market share in the top segments.
What kind of policy reforms are required to make this industry grow faster?
The government of India has to emphasise a lot on safety and wearing helmets has to be made mandatory in all parts of India. it has not been enforced strictly. There are only few cities in India today, where it is strictly enforced – Mumbai, New Delhi, Jaipur and Chandigarh. It is mandatory for other states and cities too, but enforcing the same is not that effective. When things are not mandatory, we cannot expect people to fall in line. If it is made mandatory and strictly enforced, then it will take this industry to a different level.
For instance, wearing seat belt is mandatory in all metro cities, the same way it has to be enforced that helmet wearing is obligatory. A lot education drive is required on how it is helpful for one to use a branded good quality helmet.
You are setting up a 1.25 lakh square meter state of the art plant in Bhiwadi. What is the investment in this plant and what products will you manufacturing here? By when will it be operational?
Steelbird has its own design centre in Italy and a state-of-the-art R&D centre in Baddi (Himachal Pradesh). We already have three helmet plants in Himanchal, and four manufacturing plants in Noida. Now we are planning to setup a biggest plant for helmet which can produce 60,000 helmets a day in Rajasthan.
The total investment will be Rs250 crore. We are producing helmet only because in India the demand of helmet will be incredible in future because government will be making helmets mandatory step by step not today but tomorrow. So, we must be ready for that for coming future. It will be operational by 2021.
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