The premium helmet market is set to grow in promising numbers in the next couple of years and Steelbird is betting heavily anticipating massive volumes from this segment. Speaking to carandbike in a recent interaction, Rajeev Kapur, Managing Director – Steelbird Hi-Tech India, said that the premium helmet market (above Rs. 5,000) is set to grow by 20-25 per cent by 2025. He explained that the increased awareness around two-wheeler safety as well as the growing demand in premium motorcycle sales will push the volumes in this space over the next couple of years.
Kapur said, “By 2025, the demand for high-end helmets will be approximately 20 per cent of the market share. [That’s] The Rs. 5,000 and above segment. The current demand is about five per cent for premium helmets. At the moment, helmets between Rs. 3,000-5,000 helmets retail about 500,000 units which will increase to two million after 2025.”
The Steelbird India boss further explained that the demand for premium motorcycles has been a huge factor for the growing demand for premium helmets. Customers are now making more informed purchases, while riding groups and word of mouth also helps with the overall awareness of premium helmet sales. Steelbird not only makes ISI certified helmets but also retails products that meet DOT as well as ECE 22 06 standard for the US and European markets.
In India, enforcement remains a larger concern despite Section 138 of the Motor Vehicle Act mandating the wearing of helmets for both the rider and pillion. The helmets need to meet the ISI standards of build issued by BIS. With law enforcement finally putting these rules into play, Steelbird is expecting a massive surge in demand.
The India market currently contributes 95 per cent to the company’s overall volumes. Meanwhile, about 5 per cent of its business comprises exports. The brand expects the number to increase to 10 per cent by the end of this fiscal. The company manufactures products for European helmet brand Blauer, which is also sold in India. The product range is priced from Rs. 9,000 onwards for half-face helmets.
To address the upcoming demand for premium helmets, Steelbird is setting standalone retail stores. The brand currently has 100 such outlets in place and Kapur says the target is to have 1,000 showrooms in the next three years. The stores will offer complete riding gear including helmets, gloves, balaclava and more. The company has seen more traction on products like glvoes and balaclavas, while the riding jackets haven’t been an as lucrative business as it hoped. The focus then will be on such fast moving offerings. Kapur explains, “The foreign brands are doing better for jackets but we are doing better with gloves.”
Over the next year, the focus will be on high-end helmets Rs. from 3,000-10,000. The company is also planning to expand the Blauer range and will soon introduce full-face helmets from the premium manufacturer as well. These helmets are made in India to the ECE 22 06 standard and exported to Europe and other developed markets. The new Blauer range will include full-face, flip-up, open face, fibre-glass and more.
Steelbird has a production capacity of 40,000 helmets per day and is currently producing 20,000 helmets every day. The company clearly has the space to meet the growing demand and is betting big on the sales of premium motorcycle offerings to fuel its growth as well.