Helmet is no more a burden for the youth; they now see it as a lifestyle product. It has become a sign of fashion sense and status these days. Youngsters choose the design and graphics of the helmet to align with their personality.
“These days, helmets are not sold solely as a safety gear,” says Sidhartha Bhushan Khurana, managing director, Studds, the largest helmet manufacturer in the country.
This has encouraged customers to dump the roadside vendors who have given the miss to the style quotient in favour of the organized sector. Khurana is sure that if retail chains can ensure that good helmets are made available across the country, the fakes would disappear from the market.
There are 25 crore two-wheelers on Indian roads. Of this, only 60% of two-wheeler owners are using helmets. Ten crore more two-wheeler owners need to buy helmet. It is this huge market that has given rise to a situation where helmets without ISI mark are sold on the roadside and elsewhere. Helmets with ISI mark have a share of 65-70% of the market. Studds believes that measures by the government to strictly enforce quality standards like the ISI mark and the increasing trend of the youth opting for fashionable protective gear will ensure that the organised sector will gain more market share. Apart from the Studds brand, the company also makes the SMK premium helmets. It exports to more than 40 countries.
The market for helmets would be decided by design, technology and feel, including those with Bluetooth facility, cameras and bone conduction device. Youngsters would definitely be attracted towards smart helmets. The demand for cycle helmets too is expected to surge. Kerala is a big market for premium helmets, says Khurana.
After opening new plants to meet the rising requirements, the total helmet manufacturing capacity of Studds now stands at 1.4 crore per year.