The raw materials to make bats is plentiful and so is the skilled workmanship required to craft a good quality bat. The cricket bat industry in India is highly unorganized. The most popular brands of cricket bats available in India are BDM, SS, and SG. Recently, there global sports equipment giants like Nike, Adidas and Reebok have also made an entry into this market. The design of the cricket bat has remained largely unchanged since 1771. However, different designs, materials and variations have been tried. The most defining features of a cricket bat are its weight, type of wood and length of the handle.
Recently, with the advent of 20-20 cricket and also changes in the traditional 50 over format that encourages batsmen to take more risks, a radical new design in cricket bat has caught the attention of cricket players the world over. It is called the Mongoose bat. As per cricket experts, the mongoose bat with its 33% shorter blade and 43% longer handle will enable the batsman to hit the ball harder and longer by generating higher bat speeds. The physics behind the design are such that the so called “sweet spot” is distributed throughout the surface of the blade, thus making it an ideal bat for the shorter versions of the game.
Opportunity Analysis The advent of 20-20 cricket has revolutionized the game. It has become shorter, faster and more exciting to watch. The mongoose bat could ride on this new wave of change engulfing cricket. Now is the best time to enter the market with a new product. The existing original Mongoose branded bat sells between Rs 17000 and Rs. 23000. Therefore, there is definitely an opportunity to market a similar bat made of Kashmir willow at a much more affordable price for the Indian consumers. Issue Analysis
The following are some of the issues that need closer analysis: * The Kashmir bat industry is facing stiff competition from bats made of English willow as the latter is said to be of superior quality * Difficulty in transportation of finished products from the factories in Kashmir is another pressing issue, especially in these days of violent turmoil and political unstability in the valley * A lot of official formalities needs to be addressed and procedures need to be followed to move the finished goods from one state to another. ————————————————- Another issue is that many of the Indian players were unable to perform satisfactorily by the Mongoose bat in IPL3. This might dissuade Indian consumers from buying the bat. Segmentation Targeting Positioning Our segment is semi professional and professional cricket players. This is because at Rs. 2488, it is priced way over the average price of a regular cricket bat used by amateurs. Amateur cricket players, or recreational players usually play the game using a tennis ball and do not require a high grade Kashmir willow cricket bat.
The age bracket we are looking at is players around 16 to 40 years old. Kids are not a part of the segment because based on interviews with school coaches and parents, it was observed that kids taking up cricket are encouraged to learn the basics of the sport in the conventional manner. The mongoose bat is a recent innovation in cricket aimed at the shorter versions of the game that encourages hard hitting. Over the years cricket has gotten shorter, faster and more exciting. This product has been positioned to reflect these changes in the game.
It has been positioned as a weapon that could give batsmen an advantage in the shorter version of the game, owing to its radical new design. Priced well below the original mongoose bat made in Australia, and at par with conventional bats available in India, it’s hoped that this bat is appealing to players in the new era of 20-20 cricket. Consumer Behaviour When it comes to cricket bats, the Indian consumer is very knowledgeable. We conducted a survey of 40 semi-professional cricket players who have played cricket at a competitive level. 67. % of the respondents were aware of the fact that bats made of Kashmir willow is second only to bats made of English willow. They buy their bats (and other cricket equipment in general) from well known sports shops and can identify the quality of the bat. Celebrity endorsement has little influence on their decision to buy a bat whereas a coach’s recommendation is highly regarded. Based on a survey of sports shop owners, the demand for cricket bats follows a clear seasonal cycle, the summer months and IPL season being the most lucrative for business where they may sell anywhere between 20 to 35 bats a day.
Price is an important consideration for the buyers but if the bats are made by the same manufacturers who supply equipment to popular cricket players, then consumers are more likely to buy at a higher price. Competing products/brands The following table lists the major players in the cricket bat industry in India. It includes several well known and trusted local brands that have been manufacturing bats for decades as well as a few international brands that have made a foray into the Indian market recently.
It should be noted however, that apart from these brands, there are several local brands available through the unorganized channels, mainly originating at the thriving cricket bat manufacturing industry along the Jammu-Srinagar Highway in Kashmir. Cricket Bats| Brand| Ownership| Geographic Stronghold| Price range of some fast moving brands (in Rs. )| Reebok| Foreign| Mumbai, Chennai| 1500-2500| BDM| Indian| Chennai, Kolkata, Delhi| 1500-2000| SG| Indian| Chennai, Kolkata| 1200-1700| SS| Indian| Chennai, Kolkata| 1000-1500| Kookaburra| Foreign| Mumbai, Delhi| 2000-2500|
GM| Foreign| Kolkata| 2200-2800| Bats in the Mongoose style range| Brand| Ownership| Average Price| The Original Mongoose | Foreign| 20000| CW Smasher| Indian| 2500| SAS| Indian| 2500| Analyzing Competition There are currently over 150 different cricket bat brands available in India. This is because the entry barriers in this industry are low. Also, a majority of the brands get their bats manufactured in the unorganized bat making industry of Kashmir where willow is plenty. Bat making is one of Kashmir’s major industries and source of employment.
We analyzed the major competitors along the following lines: 1. Market share: The current market share of the major brands like BDM, SS and Reebok in our target segment is close to 80% 2. Brand recall: 75% of the respondents surveyed recalled BDM, SS and SG as the major brands in this industry and associated them with quality and experience in the art of bat making. This poses a considerable challenge to our company in positioning our brand in the minds of the target consumers 3. Share of Heart: 40% of the respondents said that they associate good quality and workmanship with BDM.
This shows that the target consumer is very knowledgeable about the nuances of bat making and consider buying cricket bats as buying a work of art. 4. Threat of new entrants: The cricket industry in India is being captured by several well known international sports brands like Nike and Adidas. Reebok has already made an impact and Nike and Adidas are along the same lines, especially after Sachin Tendulkar started using an Adidas bat. With the growing popularity of T-20 cricket and the glamour associated with the sport, the market seems to be ripe for these international brands to make a foray into the cricket equipment industry in India.
SWOT analysis of our Company Strength: Highly differentiated product. A radical new design appealing to the youth in terms of its promise to deliver higher performance. High quality workmanship and raw materials used. Weaknesses: The main strength may possibly be a weakness as well. The mongoose design is the first change in the design of a cricket bat since 1771. This shows how traditional the sport is. The new design may take some time to catch on with cricket players, including the youth who may have apprehensions about using a bat with a smaller hitting surface that could possibly increase chances of getting bowled out.
Establishing a reliable and robust distribution network as well a sound marketing plan with restricted resources are two of the main challenges. Opportunities: The existing structure of this industry in terms of sourcing raw materials, distribution etc is highly unorganized. This provides us with ample opportunities to merge our company with the existing system. This industry has never indulged in large scale marketing and promotions. This presents us with the opportunity of trying out new promotion plans like tie ups with schools and academies, road shows, setting up stalls at malls, cricket grounds etc.
Cricket is booming in the subcontinent as also in Europe. There are plenty of opportunities to expand and get into export of cricket bats in the future. Threats: Several new entrants have made this a rather crowded industry, especially the various international brands. Brands like BDM and SG have always been popular and trusted for their quality. If these brands get into making mongoose style bats, then it poses a severe threat to our company. Raw material prices increasing is another threat. This is owing to the continuing turmoil in Kashmir and government regulations on the felling of Willow trees there.
Distribution and Promotion Our survey of sports shop owners revealed that more often than not, there are two levels of distribution in the cricket bat industry. The manufacturer sells to the wholesaler, and the wholesaler to the retailer. The profit margin on an average for retailers was anywhere between 7% to 15%. The margins available to the wholesaler could not be determined as all of the manufacturers contacted refused to divulge such information. Our distribution plan will also involve two levels. This is to ensure smooth supply of our bats into the market and to take advantage of the extensive each and bargaining power of wholesalers. However, in the initial stages, we will restrict distribution only to the medium to big sports shops in the main metro cities of India. This is to gauge the acceptance level of our product and also to keep costs low in the beginning. 5% of the initial investment and revenue generated every year will be used for marketing and promotion activities like the following: 1. Slots in the different radio channels during live IPL games. 2. Stalls outside major grounds like the Oval maidan in Mumbai.
These stalls would allow the local teams who come to practice there, use our bat on a trial basis and experience its features. 3. Advertisements on banners near cricket grounds, and schools and colleges during the summer months when many youngsters take to cricket coaching. Financial Forecast 1. Preliminary Research Average price of a cricket bat in India – Rs. 1500 Total market for cricket bats in India – 66 crores (Indiamarketsonline. com) Therefore no. of bats sold in a year – 440000 Based on the survey conducted, the average no. of bats owned by the target segment is 2