India is one of the biggest and fastest-growing smartphone markets globally. With the adoption of smartphones by every segment of the society, rural or urban, consumers are now looking for wearable and mobile accessories alike as both of the segments just add to the overall experience of a smartphone. Armed with the mass population of the country that demands a high-quality experience, a number of new-age companies are pushing the bar by manufacturing world-class wearables and other accessories for consumers. True wireless stereo (TWS), Bluetooth neckbands, smartwatches, etc have become imperative must-haves for consumers across generations.
Interestingly, these wearable accessories have now become a fashion and lifestyle trend more than a necessity. Even the pandemic also could not stop this industry from breaking growth records. A techARC report revealed that over 8.4 million TWS devices worth approximately INR 2.432 crores were shipped across the national expanse during 2020. TWS has become an essential accessory for smartphone users across the nation, as India holds a sizable population of remote working operatives and on-the-go professionals. The sonic landscape has also revamped itself to improve the close-to-reality listening experience; a hallmark of cutting edge TWS devices. Interestingly, another report by Counterpoint Research established that the TWS market expanded by a jaw-dropping 641% year-on-year mark in the final quarter of 2020 while selling over 10 million pieces.
It has also been observed that a number of next-gen startups in the audio and listening space are churning cutting-edge TWS devices that have the potential to rival global bigwigs in the category. This catapulted a rise in consumers purchasing wearable devices made by Indian brands over multinational ones. In 2021, a number of Indian startups engaged in the wearable accessory space are likely to witness a stiff competition from international players. This means Indian companies must step up their game to remain toe-to-toe with their global competition and carve an indeterminate identity in the hearts of their consumers.
The marketing strategy of brands also changed significantly in the past few years, as the competition amongst homegrown and Chinese products increased, a number of homegrown brands embraced a low-pricing strategy and are even offering models at an introductory price for a limited time frame. A plethora of these companies are offering new launches at affordable price points and with better features like water resistance, ENC and USB Type-C. Furthermore, a major push will be witnessed from the existing OEMs to strengthen their ‘Make in India’ capabilities and expand their product portfolios with the PLI scheme being extended to the Consumer Internet of Things (CIoT) category, which also comprises of wearables and hearables.
|“Looking at the growing craze for innovative design and technology amongst Indian users, it is highly expected that a number of next-gen startups involved in the sound accessory space will enhance their manufacturing prospects in the coming years. The future, indeed, appears bright for the Indian sonic accessory ecosystem and music enthusiasts in the country”|
However, for India to emerge as a veritable hub for electronics, it needs to focus on amplifying its system designing and manufacturing capabilities, whether producing TWS devices, or headphones, or any other wearable accessory. As India still suffers from a dearth of accessory production facilities, it will take some significant amount of time before India emerges as the largest wearable accessory producer in the world. Looking at the growing craze for innovative design and technology amongst Indian users, it is highly expected that a number of next-gen startups involved in the sound accessory space will enhance their manufacturing prospects in the coming years. The future, indeed, appears bright for the Indian sonic accessory ecosystem and music enthusiasts in the country.
The author, Pankaj Upadhyay, is Founder and CEO, Truke India.