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Innovation The Survival Mantra
Indian art material Industry is a vast scattered market consisting of different variety of attractive products like different types of brushes like synthetic brushes, painting brushes, artist brushes, Oil pastels, crayons of different types, painting accessories, poster colours, fabric colours, liquid water colours, colour pencils, drawing books, colouring books, easel boards, canvases, palettes, markers, paints, coloured chalk and many more. The industry is said to capture maximum business from the consumer market directly, which accounts to 70% of their revenue. The core Indian art material market of around Rs 500 crore is said to be growing at a rate of 4 - 5 % but there is intense competition in this industry as the industry is highly unorganized which proves to be a downfall for this sector. With the duty rates coming down the art material imports have risen sharply in the last couple of years and several Chinese and Korean brands are available in the market. International majors like Faber Castell etc have also ventured into the market. Maximum competition has come in the school colour range where the Indian manufacturers like Camlin Limited who has been in this venture for years, Pidilite Industries who has launched a new range of art materials for children (crayons, water and tube colors, etc) under it's Acron brand and others had to reduce prices to fight competition. There was almost 15-20% reduction seen in prices since the last 5 years. The Indian manufacturers have to face a tough time in the market. The threat of new entry affects the firms already existing in an industry and if a new rival can easily get in, then the market becomes more competitive, hence the firms must put some barriers to stop others from entering. Now the Indian firms also have the burden of VAT, which is levied by the Indian government at a flat rate of 4%. The only tools in their hands are manufacturing new, innovative and attractive products in the market that compel the consumers to buy their products. Also branded goods have a hold on top of unbranded goods, as now people prefer to buy branded products expecting satisfaction of a good quality product. But in a developing country like India still this phenomenon is not put much into practice, the middle and lower class still prefer to buy the cheap imported goods as their low price factor is indeed a tempting offer. But with proper awareness and guidance the Indian consumer's opinion can be reversed. The existing leaders should create a brand identification, the new entrants thus will have to try and take satisfied brand loyal customers away from the leaders which makes it a difficult task for them to conquer. Also new marketing activities like new products being introduced to serve different market segments are being implemented to strengthen the brands. In the children's product sector too many brand ambassador products are seem to be working well. For e.g., it is seen that children prefer to buy products with cartoon character's photographs or gifts attached as compared to others. In 2005 too such products sale show an uptrend curve rather than the normal art material products. Today the market has expanded and it's not a child's play anymore. The threat of substitute products also comes into concern. If substitute products are readily available, then the firms are likely to suffer. The power of buyers should also be taken as a considering factor. The industry keeping in mind the innovation key in their hands can compete with the unorganized sector and imported goods sector that prevail in the market. Though many are of the opinion that through brand building initiatives, good quality and innovation mantra they have managed to survive in the industry in 2005 and plan to do the same in 2006.