GoPro captures Indian market with some fast-paced action

Varun Aggarwal Mumbai | Updated on January 09, 2018

Charles J Prober, Chief Operating Officer, GoPro

US camera maker grows faster in the country than in global market

Indians may not be as actively involved in adventure sports as their western counterparts, but for action-camera maker GoPro, India represents a big opportunity despite iys devices costing nearly 30-40 per cent higher here than in the US.

“Although our base is really small in India, we are seeing 150-200 per cent annual growth here (compared with a 37 per cent growth globally). We want to take that small base and make India into one of our top-10 or 5 markets — that’s our focus in the next couple of years in India,” Charles J Prober, Chief Operating Officer, GoPro, told BusinessLine.

According to Prober, the consumer profile in India is similar to that in China and Japan, two of the company’s largest markets — those who use the action camera to capture not adventure sports, but their travels or just click selfies. And given India’s young demographic profile, the company expects the growth prospects to be even better here.

Growth opportunity

“India has a very youth-driven culture, it is a very mobile-centric culture. So if you think of our vision of making GoPro the untethered lens for a smartphone, India presents a great opportunity from that perspective,” Prober said.

The firm recently launched its flagship camera in India. GoPro Hero 6 Black is a small and rugged-action camera capable of recording 4K videos and wide-angle stills. It even works underwater up to 10 metres without any additional waterproof casing.

According to the company, the camera is selling well in India, despite it being nearly 40 per cent more expensive here than in the US.

Given the rapid growth, the firm plans to bring all its products to India, except its drone camera, GoPro Karma.

“We are looking at the drone regulations in India to bring Karma here. We’ve been a bit restrained on the distribution of Karma. This is our first drone product, and because its margin profile isn’t as good as our other cameras, we have to be more cautious about where we sell initially. Once we launch our next drone, we’ll have a broader reach with Karma.” But even before GoPro started penetrating the Indian market, the likes of YI, a company owned by Xiaomi, have been selling similar action cameras with similar specs, at less than half the price. But GoPro feels the overall user experience that the company offers will help it ride through that challenge.

“Our product and software experience is differentiated in the way we create aspirational content and use-cases. Back in the early days, we were really worried when Sony was coming up with an action camera and GoPro was still a small brand. It drew a lot of people to the stores, but those people eventually ended up buying a GoPro. So new brands only bring more awareness to the category and draw people to the stores,” Prober said.

While Indians still prefer to use their phone to capture most of their pictures and videos, GoPro aims to be the untethered lens for smartphones and expects the company’s sales in India to outpace smartphone growth in the country.

And to achieve that, the firm is focussing on creating a better connected solution rather than just selling hardware.

If India continues to grow the way it has so far for GoPro, the company could also start manufacturing its devices in India. “I do expect we will be successful in making India among our top-10 markets, and then we can look at bringing the price down through local assembly, etc.”

Published on December 14, 2017

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