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India's Wearables Industry

Updated: Oct 9, 2023

Gone are the days when technology needed huge space and capital in order to function properly; we now live in a world where, with each passing day, technology is becoming more and more handy and affordable for the masses. When we see smartwatches, we have to realise that once what was considered science fiction has become a reality, the power of technology today indeed lies on the wrist of our hand.


Infograph Depicting India's Wearables Industry

Image Credits with Team Geostrata


Technology, specifically consumer tech, has come a long way, from box-sized computers and brick-like phones to today’s ultra-thin and powerful laptops and smartphones. They have become more affordable as well.


Wearable technology takes affordability and accessibility to the next level, truly enabling the democratization of technology. As the name suggests, they are wearable gadgets. Wearable tech includes but is not limited to smartwatches, earphones, VR headsets, fitness/wristbands, smart jewellery, smart glasses, medical wearable devices, etc. There should be no doubt that with time, this tech “Smartness” will be injected into other things like bags, shoes, and clothes as well; some of them are already here, but for now, the focus will be on the current rockstars of this industry.


GLOBAL SCENARIOS FOR WEARABLES


The global market for wearables lies between $70 billion and around $120 billion, as per the different market research studies, and the annual growth rate (CAGR) is expected to be between 14% and 19% for the next 8 years. This growth is being fuelled by three products namely earwear, smartwatches and wristbands, which together account for 99% of the market share.

INDIAN WEARABLES MARKET AND INDUSTRY


India has cemented its position as the fastest-growing wearable market in the world. With nearly 47% y-o-y growth in the last year, India is on track to become one of the largest wearable markets in the world in 2023. According to IDC India, India sold about 100 million units out of a total of 492 million units sold globally, placing India just behind China and the North American markets. This share is expected to rise to 26% of total units shipped worldwide in 2023.


Utility plus fashion is driving the growth of wearable technology in India, as it is abroad. Smartwatches and fitness bands have utility value in terms of digital connectivity and body monitoring, but these are also being looked at as fashion and status symbols by the youth. Companies have brilliantly used sports and movie celebrities to reinforce that.


What has come as a cherry on top for India is that market dominance is being led by India-based companies and not foreign brands. Three major Indian companies together hold about 49% of the wearables market share.

INDIAN BRANDS DOMINATING WEARABLES GAME


The biggest name in the wearables market in India is Imagine Marketing India (boAt), which was co-founded by Aman Gupta and Sameer Mehta in 2016 with the goal of bringing quality, affordability, and fashion together in a single product. While working for JBL, Aman Gupta recognized the opportunities and demands of the Indian market.


He used that experience in his own business, and thus boAt excelled at striking a balance between quality and price. Of course, they did other things right as well, like focusing on customer comfort, quickly adapting to new tech in the industry, diversifying product lines, etc. boAt established itself as a youth brand, using athletes and stars as brand ambassadors.


The brand tapped the right market opportunity at the right time and applied the right strategy, making it the largest wearables company in India by market share. At the end of 2022, boAt’s wearable market share stood at 29.3%.

Challenging boAt’s Empire is another Indian brand, and it is making “Noise”. This D2C brand jumped first into TWS (true wireless stereo) at the right time, just like boAt did, and Noise too quickly adapted and entered another wearable, like smartwatches. In fact, Noise is dominating the smartwatch market with a 27.2% share.


The market competition between boAt and Noise has benefited customers, making products more affordable and driving innovation and creativity constantly. During the duel of these big companies, another Indian brand has silently positioned itself as a market leader, especially in smartwatch/ smart fitness band segments. Fire-Boltt has focused more on the affordability of its products. Fire-Boltt occupied the second position in the smartwatch market with an impressive 24.8% market share, and today it is the fourth major player in the wearables market in India.


THE PROSPECTS OF THE "MADE IN INDIA" WEARABLES INDUSTRY


There are other brands as well, other than these ones, and many more are trying to enter this segment, but this trio of Indian wearables brands has done something that Indian mobile companies could not do, they entered the market at the right time and captured the market space before foreign brands with cheap costs could.


Their rise also coincided with the internet data boom that has happened across the nation in the last decade, along with the “Make in India” push by the government and industry.

There is always room for improvement. These companies do most of the production and assembly of their products in India, but they still depend on Chinese manufacturers for critical components. The dependence on Chinese production is greater with brands like Fire-Boltt, which focus on reducing production costs.


However, with the world looking to diversify supply chains and implement the “China Plus One” strategy, global tech giants like Apple are already shifting their production to India. The Indian government is also excited to bring semiconductor manufacturing home; these moves will only benefit the Indian electronics industry, and therefore, the future of Indian wearables looks favourable.

 

BY MANDAR RANSING

TEAM GEOSTRATA

info@thegeostrata.com


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