The helmet-manufacturing industry in India has been relatively insulated from the impact of COVID-19 even as the pandemic severely impacted the auto sector in the country, said Sidhartha Bhushan Khurana, MD, Studds Accessories.In an interview, Mr. Khurana said the company anticipated a 10% growth during the current year, surpassing revenue of about ₹450 crore it recorded in 2019-20, ‘which was a clear indication of the growth of the Indian helmet industry and the minimal impact of COVID-19.’ As per a 2018 Frost & Sullivan report, market share of Studds, which is one of the largest helmet makers in India, stood at about 27%, Mr. Khurana said, adding this had grown to about 30% now. The company aimed to capture 40% in the next three years.“The pandemic has had a drastic effect on the Indian automotive industry, which was already in a state of prolonged slowdown for some time,” he added. “This effect, however, was not so severe for the Indian helmet industry as we continue to see growth for the company [this] fiscal,” he said.‘Policy boost’He added that with more than 25 crore two-wheelers on the roads, India was among the top consumers of two-wheelers in the world. However, only 60% of people from this segment wore helmets. “We believe the government’s new policy banning non-ISI certified helmets will give organised players a big boost by driving demand. If the enforcement is done well, a huge market will open up for us.”As per industry estimates, currently about 65-70% of the helmet market comprises organised or the ISI-certified players.On the reasons for the limited impact of the pandemic on the helmet market, Mr. Khurana said it may be the result of new policies such as making helmets mandatory and increasing challans. Additionally, the two-wheeler market is growing and currently, it is almost at the pre-COVID level because people are apprehensive of using public transport. “It is not just the case with new motorcycles but used motorcycles as well, due to which helmet sales are growing. So, the sentiment is quite positive as of now,” he said.While the company’s plans for the inauguration of its latestnewest production facilities in Haryana were postponed due to the pandemic, Mr. Khurana said operations have commenced at both the new plants and production will be ramped up gradually. “With these plants, we‘ve increased the company’s manufacturing capacity from 7 million helmet units to 14 million helmet units a year,” he said.