Decathlon is one brand that has become synonymous with sports in India in the last few years. The growth of the French sporting goods retailer has been unrivaled in the last 5 years, ever since it turned to a single-brand retailer in 2013 from a wholesale company. With the FY 2018 ending with revenue of 1,278 Crores, Decathlon not only overtook Nike and Adidas in the sports retailing market but also became the second-biggest single-brand-retailer in India after Chinese electronics giant Xiaomi.
The biggest move Decathlon ever made was to understand the pulse of the Indian market and make decisions accordingly. In a country obsessed with cricket in general, Decathlon managed to tap into the needs of people interested in other sports and outdoor activities. They provided sports gear from multiple sports other than just cricket and football and that too at 30-40% lower prices when compared to its competitors. Decathlon did sell gear related to Cricket and Football but focussed more on other sports like Badminton, Volleyball, Skating, Cycling, Mountaineering and much more. They tapped into categories that no other sports brand even dared to think of.
Decathlon started in Bangalore back in 2009 as cash and return wholesale company but now has 69 retail stores all over India, covering all the states. Since 2013, Decathlon has grown 10 times and many factors have played a crucial role in this growth. With innumerable sports programs every year, it has made an interactive link with the youth of the county, thus generating a trustworthy image in India. Decathlon is a company that sells its own brands and thus gets higher operating margins. With private labels, it has almost everything from design and manufacturing to sales under its own control, enabling itself to reduce the costing wherever possible. This allows Decathlon to sell their quality products at a lower price than its competitors do. The biggest factor that benefitted the company is that they sell products from 70 different sporting disciplines, which no other brand in the world does. Another key business idea Decathlon implemented is to open some of its stores in struggling malls to avoid high rentals. All these factors have helped the company connect to the Indian market on a level that no other sports brand has managed.
With Decathlon making a positive cash flow in the FY 2018 with a profit of ₹ 33.8 Lakhs, it is moving ahead in the right direction. It would not be surprising to see Decathlon coming up with more stores in your cities shortly to make their products more accessible and in turn, capture more market share.