Jockey has doubled his athleisure activity during the pandemic

NEW DELHI : As part of its marketing strategy, Page Industries Ltd, exclusive licensee of the American brand Jockey, has increased its advertising expenditure after a brief lull. Last week, she launched a new campaign for her premium loungewear collection for men. In an interview, Karthik Yathindra, Marketing Director of Jockey India, said the company is back to spending 4-5% of its revenue on advertisements. The brand’s athleisure business has gained traction during covid, he added. Edited excerpts:

What has been the impact of the pandemic on your brands?

The impact has been much more on swimwear brand Speedo than on Jockey for obvious reasons. Swimming pools have been closed across the country, for both professional and recreational swimming. As for Jockey, we were among the lucky organizations where demand was in place, in fact, much more robust than normal. However, the challenges were largely on the supply side due to social distancing within the manufacturing facility. But fortunately for us, demand has been very healthy throughout the two years.

Which categories performed well?

So-called athleisure products like sweatpants, joggers, shorts, t-shirts and jackets were released, along with our 1995 portfolio. About 7-8 years, we’ve embraced athleisure as a key pillar of growth and strengthened the portfolio a bit. This came in very handy when the pandemic hit as there was a large scale migration in terms of the use of casual and formal wear towards sports recreation. So the timing worked really well for us. Demand has also been healthy for men’s and women’s loungewear, but athleisure has definitely grown a lot more than we anticipated or anticipated. I would say we’ve jumped a year or two in terms of demand for athleisure from the pre-pandemic days. We have literally doubled our turnover. Whereas, overall, as an organization, we saw a 37-38% increase in our revenue over the last fiscal year.

Have you seen a shift towards online sales and have they sustained it?

For an organization like ours, primarily invested in the offline space, online consumer acquisition was slow and costly before the pandemic. Thanks to covid-19, online channels have benefited us a lot. What was around 2-3% contributing to overall activity before the pandemic, grew to around 8% and stayed. This means that we acquired a lot of consumers during covid, who continue to shop with us.

What are your plans for physical expansion?

We work through distributors and multi-brand outlets and have just over 100,000 touch points. We now have approximately 1,200 exclusive brand stores. We usually open 150-200 brand stores every year. This is also the plan for this year. We are expected to close with 1,300 to 1,350 exclusive brand stores by the end of the year.

How much does Jockey spend on advertising?

The annual budget for ads has always been 4-5% of our revenue and it continues to be there. It had toned down a bit during the pandemic, mostly because we didn’t know how the business was going to pan out.

In terms of media mix, Jockey has been a big spender across all media. Over the past few years, we’ve become a bit more specific when it comes to targeting the consumer. The challenge we are trying to meet is to create awareness of specific product offerings and given this, our investments in social digital marketing have increased.

Do you get your designs from the American company? Aren’t they more functional than fashionable?

Page Industries has an end-to-end license, which extends from product design, manufacturing, supply chain, distribution to marketing and retail.

But there is a lot of cross-learning and sharing between Jockey International and Page in terms of design and marketing. As for fits and construction, it is best to develop it locally as we understand the Indian body type better. What is necessarily designed in the USA or Europe may not suit the Indian body type, especially for loungewear as a category.

But do you follow Indian fashion sense?

Absolutely. I believe that when it comes to not only fit, comfort, quality and durability, but also design and fashion, we are on par, comparable to anyone in the Indian market. Of course, the brand philosophy is such that we are not a fast-fashion brand.

And therefore, good quality and good fit on the body, in a way, replace aesthetics and visual appeal. That’s not to say the visual appeal is boring or dated, but the priority is clearly on how the product feels on you over how it looks.

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