E-sales help top global adventure gear brands to make a beeline for India

E-sales help top global adventure gear brands to make a beeline for India

NEW DELHI: Why take the effort and go outdoors when you can just buy the gear and look like you did? Thanks to online retail, top global adventure gear brands are making a beeline for India as it becomes fashionable for young Indians to flaunt an active lifestyle.

From cellphone covers designed to survive doomsday to stylish jackets that feel at home in a club or on Mount Everest, it/s a far cry from the days when outdoor enthusiasts were left scrounging for good options.
"Everyone would ask their relatives going abroad to bring back quality stuff, whether it/s hiking shoes, a pen knife or a flashlight. It/s a different scenario now. You get everything here," says Mohit Oberoi, owner of New Delhi-based outdoor gear store Adventure 18.

"We have great jackets and fleeces from Rab. The best of rucksacks from Lowe Alpine - you don/t feel them when you wear them."

Gaurav Gupta, senior director with Deloitte in India, says, "Without the boom in e-commerce, these niche brands would have found it tough to reach their target consumers here. Availability is everything. They don''t need to invest in setting up stores anymore. They can gauge demand easily and import their stocks only when required."

For instance, when it comes to trekking or hiking shoes, people have more options than just Woodland, a name that has been synonymous in India with outdoor shoes for more than a decade. International outdoor brands such as, Salomon, Merrell and Keen, known for their technical expertise in making footwear for extreme sports, are wooing the evolved Indian shopper through popular online retail websites. Think sneaker-like trekking shoes with thinner soles and comfortable uppers constructed from materials like Gore-Tex that is both breathable and waterproof. "People are waking up to the fact that you can look stylish and outdoorsy at the time," says Oberoi.

And it/s not just shoes. Otterbox, a US-based company that arguably makes the best protective cases for phones and tablets, is available on Amazon India and Flipkart at a price. A basic Otterbox MotoG case will cost you around Rs 3,000. Fenix and Nitecore, two flashlight brands whose lights can cost up to Rs 50,000 are retailed on E-bay India. Leatherman and Gerber, brands known for knives and multi-tools, that are standard issue items for the US Special Forces, are replacing Victorinox (popular Swiss knife) as the penknives of choice.

Says Pankaj Jathar, category leader sports, Amazon India, "Customers of Amazon have responded enthusiastically to these products. Since the summer vacations, coolers, tents, nets, Gerber knives and Swiss army knives have been some of our top selling products." However, not everybody who buys these products uses them. Some hoard them to flaunt. "Nearly 25% of our customers who buy our premium flashlights, don/t even use them. They preserve them as collector/s items," says Vamsi Gangavalli, owner of Hyderabad-based firm Lightorati, which retails flashlight brands such as, Nitecore, Fenix and Ultrafire.


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