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Bata, a European brand camouflaged as an Indian brand for a century

Your mom's favourite, & India's largest footwear brand, BATA, is not Indian. But here's how BATA made you feel that way for 126 years.

BATA was founded 126 years ago in 1894 by Thomas Bata in Czechoslovakia. It wasn't until 1909 that they began exporting their footwear.

As an organization, BATA took advantage of the changing economic conditions of World War I, the Great Depression, and World War II and provided customized footwear during these times.

When Thomas visited India in the 1920s, he was astounded to see many Indians walking barefoot on the street.

Since shoes & slippers weren't part of India's lifestyle back then, many suffered from blisters, tetanus & other foot-related ailments.

It was then that Thomas decided to expand BATA's operations in India, and established its first shoe factory in India in West Bengal.

By 1934, BATA expanded their operations in Delhi, Patna, and elsewhere in India, employing over 7,000 people.

But how did a foreign brand make its mark in India so quickly?

From the start, BATA advertised in vernacular language - ads published in Hindi, Bengali with Indian prices.

They priced their footwear according to the Indian market, used Indian faces, and positioned it as an Indian brand. Nevertheless, thanks to novelty, durable usage, and concerted marketing of the products, the shoes sold themselves.

They made the brand extremely local. Back home in Europe, they continued to sell their more expensive, costlier, & luxurious version of the brand.

Several awards and nearly 90+ years later, BATA now owns 1,250 stores across 47 cities in India, and enjoys a whopping 35% market share.

They sell over 45 million pairs of shoes every year and have an annual sales turnover of more than Rs 8000 million!

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