Seiko eyes younger Thais to perk up regional growth
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Seiko eyes younger Thais to perk up regional growth

Japan's Seiko Watch Corporation is expecting to attract more customers in Thailand, particularly young people, as it seeks to drum up sales in Southeast Asia, according to senior company officials.

The ratio of revenue from Asia excluding Japan is expected to grow from 20% to 25% of the total by 2020 and Thailand is an important driver because it is the biggest and most influential market in the Southeast Asian region, said Minoru Ishiguro, senior executive vice-president.

The Japanese watchmaker aims to double sales of mid- to high-end models in Thailand in the next three years, seeking to draw more Generation Y customers with high purchasing power -- those born in the 1980s and 1990s -- as they prefer to choose watches with designs and functions matching their lifestyle.

"The Thai market has potential to grow because of an expanding middle class," Ishiguro said, adding that Seiko's medium-priced sports watch series dubbed Prospex is the key product contributing to the growth.

Harumitsu Akashi, managing director of local distributor Seiko Thailand Co, said the company aims to boost sales by focusing on Prospex for the rest of this year. Thailand is the fastest-growing market for Prospex with 50% growth last year, with the series comprising up to 30% of the Thai model line-up.

Seiko forecasts a 10% sales gain this year and plans to spend 10% of total revenue on advertisement and marketing campaigns to boost brand awareness and reach younger customers, according to the officials. It will broadcast a commercial through free TV channels for the first time.

The company launched the Prospex Zimbe Limited Edition this week for exclusive sale in Thailand for 37,500 baht. Seiko also plans to import more medium-priced models from Japan to serve Gen Y customers and expects them to reach 20% of its clientele in the next two years.

According to Seiko Thailand, models priced below US$500 (17,000 baht) account for 50% of total sales, followed by those in the $500-1,000 price range with 40%, and the rest over $1,000. Kyodo

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