When it comes to mobile accessories, computer peripherals and other portable digital products, Anker is a name to reckon with. Having a presence in over 100 countries, the brand is a widely-accepted name in power banks, earbuds, headphones, speakers, data hubs, charging cables, flashlights, screen protectors etc. under different sub-brands. Gopal Jeyaraj, Head India & SAARC, Anker Innovations, speaks more about the company, its product line and plan to be a market leader, in an interaction with Ramesh Kumar Raja. Excerpts:
The third quarter of 2020 might have been good for you, especially considering the rise in sales of digital devices. Was it so, from the business point of view?
Yes, it was the case from the business point of view. Actually, Q1 was largely in the lockdown period, even the import was shut, and the factories and the markets were all shut due to the pandemic. Slowly and steadily, things started opening, and businesses began the work from home operations, while education went online, with which requirements for digital lifestyle products started rising. Overall, Q3 situation got normalized which gave us a steep growth in Q3 as well as Q4.
Which among the product categories yielded maximum business for you?
The Soundcore business was largely dominated by headphones, followed by TWS. The demand in influx was because of the new-normal working and learning lifestyle.
Is it the age of TWS now and where it’s going? What factors are driving its growth?
Yes, it’s the age of TWS, as it is very comfortable to use and handy. No doubt, it makes a style/fashion statement, so definitely people are looking forward to own one TWS with them on top of having other categories of headphones. The main point of driving its growth is – Comfort and Handiness. The battery life, the play time are also getting improved and these few common factors are driving TWS sales.
Besides TWS, which product category/ies is/are future-ready and how Anker Innovations is leading the charge?
Robotic Vacuum Cleaners and Handstick segments are growing. At Anker, we are focusing on introducing new technology in this segment with both dry and wet options. We foresee this to be the future of households, which is coming in focus with COVID-19, as maids are not preferred to visit households. Since it’s all on the individual to do their household work by themselves, this particular cleaning device is expected to grow very well and this is the category which we want to focus on in 2021 too.
Since you offer products under five different brands, how they are gaining traction in the market?
It’s the strategy of the management to have different categories under different brand names to develop each category and their brand with utmost importance. We are driving this strategy globally and in India, the focus is as per the growing categories. In India, Charging Solutions and Audio are well acceptable (Anker, Soundcore), Eufy (Smart Home Appliances), Roav (Car Solutions), and Nebula (Projectors) are in the growing stage.
Which are the areas from where maximum demand is coming for the Anker products in India?
Most of the demand comes from Tier 1 and Tier 2 cities; they have always been our key markets. Currently, we are working on a plan to focus on Tier 3 and Tier 4 cities and explore the new unchartered markets as well.
Anker has expanded its business to a number of countries. How has been the experience so far and what are your expectations from different global markets?
Anker was incepted in 2011 and we have been growing year on year. Initially, the US was our core market and now we are established in more than 100 countries. Every country has its niche and we have captured strong numbers in terms of market share. We have been planning and making strategies as per the requirements of the respective country. We want to develop the brand in all the respective countries and our vision is to be among the Top 3 in the respective category with respective brands for Anker.
|“Anker was incepted in 2011 and we have been growing year on year. Initially, the US was our core market and now we are established in more than 100 countries. Every country has its niche and we have captured strong numbers in terms of market share. We have been planning and making strategies as per the requirements of the respective country”|
Which platform yields maximum revenue for you – Online or Offline?
Currently, it’s equal for us and we want to maintain the same because we do not want to have one channel contributing higher revenue to us, so our strength which we want to derive is to have equal base in both online and offline channels. We want equal contribution from both the channels towards all the 5 brands of ours.
What is your approach to the after-sales service?
We have set up service centres in India now. We are currently in the expansion phase, as we are facilitating much more streamlined way of pick up and drop solutions to the customers. With the lifestyle and small home appliances category in focus, we are aggressively building our outreach pan India.
How do you deal with the competition to be a market leader in India?
We want to derive our own strategy rather than just competing with other companies. We believe in our products and do our own R&D and devise new technological innovations; even our product quality at the budgeted price points sets new benchmark for the industry. We remain one of the few brands focussing on maximum warranty period and now our aim is to provide strong base for the after-sales service to the customers. With these aspects in mind, there is no doubt in achieving the number one position in the Indian markets.
Can you please tell us about your outreach and investment plans for India?
We are planning to expand our team in India. Our focus will be to create separate teams for each brand, one of the key investments for us too. Also, we will be investing on marketing aggressively to build good product visibility and attention.
Please throw some light on R&D and innovation at Anker.
Anker is predominantly driven by R&D, so each brand has its own R&D team and majority of its profit is spent on R&D and that is the only factor that makes Anker a global brand and conquers the number 1 position in many of the countries we are operating in. India is a huge consumer market and this particular strength of ours which is into R&D will give us more strength to compete and will help us get the number 1 tag or the required market share in India.