Steelbird Helmets, has a whole new class of youth oriented and designed helmets. Shailendra Jain, Global Group Head - Sales & Marketing, speaks on the new smart helmet range and his company's vision.
Steelbird Hi-Tech India is a leading helmet brand for more than decades.
The Ares A1 range has features like a visor locking system, anti-theft ring, and temperature control technology. The helmets are guarded with the premium ISI standards.
How do you visualise the market for conventional and smart helmets with connectivity features?
If we talk about the helmet industry, conventional market is changing into modern technology. This is happening in all aspects, not only in helmets industry. Growth is happening and new technologies keep on coming. What we are doing is we have created a business pyramid. At the bottom is Steelbird, above Steelbird is Steelbird Hi-GN, above it is Steelbird Air (with air pro technology), above it is Ares and on top of the business pyramid is Ignyte. This is our complete business portfolio. Purpose is to cater to all segments of the market. Steelbird is for market, Hi-GN is for hygienic technologies- people who are ready to pay and transform from bottom to new technology with high end shell and different technology. Steelbird Ares is for the Air-pro technology – this is to transform the market. From low to high. So the main purpose to produce helmets is safety. Safety while riding. Along with safety comes style and fashion, so smart helmets is a part of all this. All these helmets are for high-end bikes. So while riding a high-end bike, one needs a high-end helmet. As the speed level becomes to fast. People who ride such bikes are more passionate about colours, safety, visor locking, Lock - antilock systems, clear ventilation in helmets, soft lining and such other things, so these are a part of smart technologies. The helmet should also match the personality. Earlier people wore one one type of helmet and that was universal helmet.
Today people get helmets for kids. The kids helmets are different in style and sizes. To talk about other helmets, their style and sizes are different. So people buy helmets suiting to their personality. Also now the trend is of women riders. The number of women riders is increasing day by day. Whether it is riding scooty or bikes. Womens participate in bike racing also nowadays. So their aspect is to choose different colours and various graphics. So according we have to provide different designs. Which is very important. Also while talking about racing one needs to keep in mind about this generation youth. This generation keeps on changing a helmet according to the trends. So while talking about traditional market to new market, all things are changed, as people keep changing things according to the trend of market. So keeping all this in mind, the availability of the products is also a core point.
There are various helmets and accessories showrooms available in India and as well as abroad. What is handy is the easier way for customers to pick. To go, select and buy the helmet of your choice is the easy way. Nowadays the trend of selling products online is going on. So online markets reach has made it too easy for everybody. Today the online purchasing rate has grown very much as people do not have time to go to outlets, select and buy. So online trend is increasing. As we saw this trend of purchasing things online, even we opted to sell our helmets online. We have our own portal for online shopping of helmets. Also we have tie-ups with majore-portals like amazon and flipkart. Through all these mediums our product is sold with ease online.
What is your market share in that 100 million helmets?
In India, people think that the market is still unorganised for helmet industry. Rather we believe that major portion of the helmet industry is unorganised. But still even in that scenario Steelbird is enjoying 38 per cent of market share. We are trying to increase our market share. Steelbird has a capacity of producing five million helmets per year as on date, but the company is not producing this amount because helmets are not mandatory.
Every year we are preparing ourselves for the law that will make helmets compulsory across India. Steelbird can set up one more plant to produce 21, 000 helmets per day. In Rajasthan, it is already in consideration, because if helmets become mandatory, we can supply them at that point. Nobody will supply as the investment is huge. For producing
100 million helmets, one requires investments of 5,000 crore. It's a huge investment. The new facility isin the planning stage; we hope that we will make it operative within two years. 100 per cent is not possible as there are many competitors in the market. We are launching new variants. New brands like HY-GN and such other. We trying to make the product available to all the segments, through offline, online, Steelbird Shopee, through Government business. Our efforts are to be present in all the segments. By doing different market activities we will grow and make the market upto the 100 million helmets.
What is the customer expectation from conventional helmets?
Its a youth based market today, the expectations are very high. Everybody wants comfort, style, great looks, safety. Today the customer is very attractive towards the brand. Not only in case of helmets, but in all segments. The interests towards the brand is increasing. Our purpose is to make high quality product with our brand. So that we meet the expectation of the customers providing them with all the features.
So Steelbird is producing new helmets as safety awareness is also increasing in India. Do you produce new helmets for ladies and children?
We have a facility at Himachal Pradesh for helmets. The manufacturing capacity is 21 thousands helmets per day. So these facilities have the capacity of producing helmets for all i.e. male, female and children and sports as well. As steelbird never compromises on safety, all helmets are safe to use. The helmets for females are more of designs and colors. Females are passionate about selecting the helmets. So for that the Itatlian team does R&D and designing part. Females opt for open face helmet. As these open face helmets are compact helmets. And can easily be kept in scooty. Hence, our major focus is on open face helmets for ladies. Kids like cartoons on the helmets. So we make designs as per the trends in kids helmets. Also the size of kids helmets are small. Keeping this in mind, we manufacture such helmets. We supply helmets to Yamaha and Honda.
What does ‘new’ technology mean?
We have produced HY-GN. This is for hygiene in mind. Some special fabric is used. Also we have Steelbird AIRIES. There are three vents in the front, so the air flow from both the sides and goes back from the rear exhaust. So your helmet will become cooler inside. So it is like when a person sweats the fan gives him cool air and breeze. In this case like the fan it is the cooling effect. IGNYTE is on the top of all the helmets, it is for the niche market, its used by bikers of Harley, Ducati and so on.
What is your vision for Steelbird?
The vision is to become the number one in the world for the helmet industry. Steelbird is moving ahead. Today the company has three plants. The fourth one is being set up in Rajasthan. Steelbird is going to set up a plant which will produce 60,000 helmets a day. In addition the company is also launching lots of accessories like Motoziel. That is for all the high-end customers in India. Other then helmets, Steelbird also produces jackets, rain suits, rain pants and such other accessories products. In the coming future, Steelbird visions to have full range production of all the accessories. The purpose is not only for helmets, but also other accessories.
“Everybody wants comfort, style, great looks, safety.”
- Shailendra Jain
Global Group Head - Sales
Being a bigwig of the helmet manufacturing industry worldwide, Steelbird has now promised a whole new class of youth oriented and heavily designed and printed helmets with some contemporary and upto-date features. The helmets are guarded with the premium ISI standards and a total excellence in the areas of:
- NEHA WAGLE