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Covid spur: Home-grown Noise and boAt emerge market leaders in wearable watches segment

Aashi Bagaria Mumbai | Updated on June 21, 2021

But Chinese brand Amazfit is readying entry-level devices in a bid to take back market share

Increased awareness about monitoring health during the Covid-19 pandemic, combined with the availability of low-cost devices, is driving the growth of the wearable watches category in India. This has enabled home-grown brands such as Noise and boAt to emerge as market leaders in a short span of time, pushing out Chinese brands like Amazfit.

Amit Khatri, Co-founder at Noise, said, “With people getting conscious about their health and fitness, the demand for personal devices has increased. Wearable watches are gaining popularity for the fact that they offer an array of fitness and health-related features, across various styles and budgets that people can choose from. Adding to that, people working out of home and focusing even more on their wellness have made wearable watches the need of the hour.”

According to IDC, a total of 1.4 million watches were shipped in 1Q21, the second quarter in a row, to record over a million shipments for watches. Noise continued to lead the category, with a 26.7 per cent share, followed by boAt with a 21.9 per cent share.

“Our objective since day one has been to provide top-of-the-line, premium yet aesthetic products keeping the Indian consumer in mind. We have a dedicated team that listens to the feedback shared by every boAthead that aims to reach out to us. We listen, adapt and improvise as per their requirements. We strive to provide the perfect mix of looks and features in an affordable package,” said Aman Gupta, Co-founder, boAt.

India wearables market witness 170% YoY growth in Q1 2021

According to IDC, one of the reasons for the growth in the wearable watches market has been the surge of low-cost devices. The average selling point of the category fell to $88, down from $166 in 1Q21. “Since travelling and dine out have reduced considerably, consumer wallet spending on these devices has increased significantly in the last few quarters. Moreover, not just activity monitoring but these watches are now focusing on health-related features also, such as skin temperature monitoring, blood oxygen monitoring, and so on,” said Anisha Dumbre, Market Analyst, IDC.

India wearables market recorded 144 per cent YoY growth in 2020: IDC

Noise, boAt sharpen strategy

According to Dumbre, Noise was one of the first in-house brands to offer wearable watches at a lower price point to consumers. Initially, the company introduced a hybrid watch and soon identified the country’s untapped opportunity for wearable watches. “The price points of wearable watches have always been a challenge for Indian consumers, and Noise was able to bridge the gap by launching devices at low price points. They soon began expanding in the online and offline spaces, as well as marketing the devices with brand ambassadors,” Dumbre said.

On the other hand, boAt has quickly become a popular choice for consumers in just two-quarters of their foray into the wearable watch category. boAt had already made a name for itself in the wireless audio (earwear) category with its aggressive marketing and has been the market leader for the last seven quarters. “With already established players in the market, these companies have been successful in appealing to consumers with their low-cost devices and better consumer engagement, which gave them an edge in the market,” said Dumbre.

Amazfit’s plans

The rise of the two home-grown brands has pushed back Chinese brand Amazfit. In 1Q20, Huami’s Amazfit was leading the wearable watches market with 22.4 per cent share as per IDC. But in 1Q21, Huami is not among the top two. A spokesperson for Amazfit said the shift has happened due to lower priced devices launched by the Indian brands.

“The prime reason for this is the shifting of the market share to fitness bands which are available at a much lower price point. Brands have launched watches/fitness bands which are below the price of ₹3,000, which has made them the market leader with current share. However, having said that, Amazfit still stands at a 60-70 per cent market share if you see the smartwatches category above ₹4,000-5,000,” the spokesperson said, adding that the company has plans to enter the market with more affordable and feature-rich pricing, and also to launch a sub-brand by the end of this year.

Chinese brands still in the reckoning

IDC’s Dumbre reckons that the Chinese brands cannot be written off yet. “We expect further corrections in the ASPs in the coming quarters. However, the increased logistic and components prices will delay it for a few months but we will see further corrections. Additionally, we are expecting China -based vendors to expand their portfolios around the entry-level segments that will be crucial for further corrections.”

Dumbre said that this category will remain the fastest-growing wearable category in 2021. Increased awareness about health monitoring, combined with the availability of low-cost devices, will drive this growth. Furthermore, the migration from wristbands to watches will continue, resulting in the expansion of this category.

Published on June 21, 2021

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