Indian Wearables Market - A Comprehensive Study of the Growth of Wireless Industry

Harshit Verma Harshit Verma
Dec 24, 2021 15 min read
Indian Wearables Market - A Comprehensive Study of the Growth of Wireless Industry

As we develop multi-folds in the direction of technological advancements, we leave enormous amounts of things behind this trail. Yes, of course, leaving unnecessary things behind is a good way for going ahead in life. As technology gets more and more compact, we are witnessing the devices also get more compact. Data transfers are fast and now happen at unbelievable speeds. All these advancements are taking us to the new future, the future that is wireless.

Wires are a thing of the past now. Who knows them? What are they? this might not be a valid question today but for real, who knows the future? we might be talking about them in stories only. Like we talk about floppies, telegraph, and analogue television. We live in a wireless world now.

With the onset of the covid 19 pandemic and the spread of social distancing norms, we all are witnessing more wireless stuff than ever. Wireless is not even the near future, it is already here. Not only this it has transformed into multiple forms, like those of wearables.

What do you Mean by Wearables?
How Does This Wearables Technology Work?
India and the Wearables Industry
Leading Brands/Players in Indian Wearable markets
Advantages of Wearable Devices
Key Challenges in the Wearables Industry
FAQ

What do you Mean by Wearables?

Technology was in your hands in the form of smartphones, but now it is getting smarter and has even managed to enter your humble wardrobe. As devices are getting diverse in features they provide, they are also turning into something that can be worn. That is what we mean by wearables.

They are wireless gadgets with an inbuilt battery to support themselves. It can be a smartwatch, a fitness band, a wireless earphone, a smart pair of sunglasses and many more. These gadgets have already flooded the tech market in all forms, shapes and sizes, heavily democratising the market.

They are the new trend. I use the word โ€˜trendโ€™ here because they are used more in a fashion sense rather than being used as a convenient device. The fight between the idea of โ€œneed to haveโ€ or โ€œnice to haveโ€ always goes on. You will find people saying a lot of things about both the arguments everywhere. There cannot be a single accepted conclusion.

In Fact, the way they have entered the market is a unique way and it tells a story when we trace it. Smartphones were not considered something that was needed when they were just starting out. Feature phones were the ubiquitous devices that everyone used to call each other.

Soon when people saw these little palm handed devices, they were in awe. Curiosity drove them to these and smartphones made the magic spell work. The result was that humans fell in love, so much so that it is now a necessity for everyone to have a smartphone. This is the point in time when wearables are at their initial beginning, and they're already flooding the market.

How Does This Wearables Technology Work?

We can say that wearable devices were present for a long time. Their instances have to be said from the very past of eyeglass discovery. When eyeglasses were popularised, people saw a new perspective of gadgets that can be worn.

Many years after that, when we have evolved technology so far and tiny, this tech is returning with big hope. Now, we can incorporate nano-transmitters coupled with an internet connection to a handheld device. These microprocessors are no less than a computer and can perform almost all the smart functions of a computer bigger in size.

Also, the growth in the domain of smartphones also helped the development of smart wearables. The betterment of mobile networks helmed the development of the wearable industry. That being said, fitness trackers were the first kind of wearables that were popularised around the world. The moment they became famous and made their own market, more features and forms got into the market. The humble wristwatch evolved to incorporate a screen into itself.

Wired headsets went on to rethink their purpose and Bluetooth headsets took their throne. A simple sunglass also was taken hostage by more smart and web-enabled glasses that could do more than just being sunglasses. The gaming industry was also stormed with virtual reality headsets and augmented reality screens and wearables.

India and the Wearables Industry

Smartphones in India and elsewhere started as an item of luxury and wasnโ€™t really something that everyone could own. This situation saw a drastic change as technology penetrated deeper and deeper roots in India and everywhere else. This change can be observed quite easily. There is however a very good chance that smartphones could become a thing of the past in our future.

โ€œSmart wearables are not just something that you can wear on your wrist and it will perform basic already told functions but it will be much more than that. In maybe three to five years this will replace smartphones and phones will be obsolete by thenโ€, says GOQIIโ€™s chief executive officer, Vishal Gondal

The above sentence is proven right with these numbers. Indiaโ€™s wearable market grew about 93.8 per cent year on year in the July to September quarter, this year. India shipped 23.8 million units. Moreover, all these skying numbers are despite tough logistics challenges, increased freight charges, aggressive vendors at the other end.

India Wearables Industry
India Wearables Industry

A famous wearable, smartwatch remained a heated up category all the way. It saw 4.3 million shipments in India in the third quarter. Wristbands or the infamous fitness bands saw a decline, IDC reports said.

This is what people are feeling about smart wearables. This really is looking like something that will most probably shape the future of technology in India.

Let us talk about some numbers in this rising trend. Before we go into the shipments and surge in demand for these tech wearables in India, we need to know about the information provider.

May 2021 ย 

The wearable market in India grew about 170.3 per cent on a year over year basis in the first quarter of 2021 (January to March). India saw a shipment of 11.4 million units according to the International data corporation, IDC.

The first quarter of 2021 also saw a surge in the domain of the watch and earwear category. Watches saw a growth in demand up to a wonderful 463.8 per cent year on year basis in the very first quarter. Comparing both the demand for earwear and the watches segment watches had a higher share of magnitude in numbers.

Even with that partition, earwear has managed a handsome three-digit growth in the first quarter. All these wearable surges show how people are reacting to the health situation in India. We are all more vocal about our health than ever.

August 2021

Following the previous growth trend, wearable grew even more by now. It saw a massive growth of about 118 per cent on a YoY basis (Year on year) in the second quarter of 2021 (April to June). It also saw a shipment of 11.2 million units of wearables, according to the recent IDC data. Watches continued to be the fastest-growing segment in the world of wearables and covered up to 81 per cent share in the write wear domain.

The category of wristwear grew at 35 per cent from that of a year ago. Another important trend that was seen was due to the COVID 19-second wave. The second wave impacted the overall wearable shipments by about 1.3 per cent in the second quarter of the year. This slump however did not impact vendors because they know that the demand will rise again once the situation is normal. So they tried to stockpile for next quarter.

Over the quarters, the smartwatch form factor seems to be appealing to the consumers, and Indian brands have been quicker to leverage this trend and align their device portfolio.

November 2021,

IDCโ€™s report mentioned that Indiaโ€™s wearable market grew by 93.5 % year over year (YoY) in the third quarter (July to September). India saw shipping of 23.8 million units to its borders. In the third quarter, the growth can be seen even with the fact that logistics was hard and freight costs were increased after the decline in covid 19 cases.

In the month of September, the shipments saw a surge that surpassed 10 million. This was a record growth in wearable devices in the face of the month-long festival season in India. Indiaโ€™s favourite wearable in terms of shipments was again the category of smartwatches. Watches continued to be the fastest-growing pace at 4.3 million shipments in the third quarter.

While wristbands or fitness bands saw a decline consecutively for the seventh quarter. Other than that TWS (Truly wireless) came into the big picture, by reaching a 39.5 per cent share of earwear in the third quarter. However, the ear market is seen to be dominated by over-ear and tethered gadgets.

โ€œThe proliferation of new entrants in the mass market segment has increased competition, putting a lot of pressure on brands to differentiate in a market that is getting inundated with lookalike products,โ€ said Jaipal Singh, Research Manager, Client Devices, IDC India.

โ€œCelebrity endorsements are a key tactic for brand recall. However, to maintain the growth momentum they must invest more in newer designs and aesthetics, as well as newer collaborations with existing franchises, Singh further added.

All these trends point to a booming future in the land of this diverse country, India. There are many reasons why this type of technology is a hit in India, they are convenient and easy to use in any field domestically.

In a developing country like India where tech is still getting bigger, this technology seems to be driving the growth. Let us see how this field is becoming the trendsetter in India, and thus the advantages it provides to the general tech-savvy public.


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Leading Brands/Players in Indian Wearable markets

Even if you are not a fan of the wireless movement, you will notice some brands that shine all over the place. Yes, we can call this time โ€œThe wireless movementโ€ where everything is going wireless. Now we will talk about some brands that are the top players in this market segment.

Even when you think you are away from these names, you will hear them from your friend or a friend of a friend. These brands have made their presence heard, quite literally. The brands that are leading the wearables market in India are listed as follows.

A Gurgaon based company leads the sales and revenue for the sixth straight quarter of the smart segment wristwatch market. That company is โ€œNoiseโ€. Noise is able to create a sound in its wristwatch segment this year. It had about 26 percent of the market share in the quarter that ended on September 30.

After Noise, the next brand is an Indian brand that primarily manufactures audio devices, but also got into the smartwatch segment. โ€œBoatโ€ is that brand after the 26 percent share of Noise, it has more than about 23 percent share of the whole watch industry. After these top two brands, there are several others who are cashing on the growing demand.

The third, fourth and fifth name according to the market share is Fire-Boltt, Realme and Zepp (Amazefit). All these brands are combined covers the hundred percent of shipments that came to Indian borders this year.

After we talked about the watch market, now is the time to jump on another trend. That trend is most recent to get hyped among millennials. That wearable is the Wrist band, or commonly known as the fitness band.

After the pandemic refused to go back, people became super conscious of their health. They choose health over anything else and of course life over death. Among the new year resolutions, this segment also saw a jump in sales. Let us see who are the masters in this product segment,

Top Wristband Companies
Top Wristband Companies

Xiaomi undoubtedly rules the Indian wristband industry. The reason is the affordability aspect of their products. Xiaomi bands are easy on the pocket and do most of the work that a fitness tracker does. It has scored decent marks in all the spheres where people want it to perform. This is the biggest reason why Xiaomi alone covers almost 50 percent of all the market share of this product segment.

Followed by the Chinese Xiaomi, Titan ruled the market with a share of about 16.5 percent which is a subsidiary of Tata. Titan has made its place in people who like a little luxury, they have provided value over the past years consistently to increase customer loyalty. That is the reason why they now cover 16 percent but it has declined from the Q2.

Then comes the OnePlus, the brand that is originally a startup but has managed to own brand equity and great goodwill. OnePlus is seen as the premium segment of smartphones and wearables. It is the reason why it has seen a jump in market share from quarter 2 to quarter 3.

The wearables market is not complete if we do not talk about the earwear product segment. Ear Wear products include all ranges of sound devices. It includes headphones, earphones, and everything that has to do with sound. This product segment has also seen immense growth in the recent past. Let us see which brands rule this product segment,

Top Earwear Companies
Top Earwear Companies

Imagine marketing or the famous brand โ€œBoatโ€ is the top player in the earwear industry. The marketing is so smooth and viral that it covers almost about half the total Earwear market (shipment of units). Not only this, Boat has managed to increase the market share from about 45.5 percent in quarter 2 to 48 percent in quarter 3. This proves how people love products from Boat and how it delivers on the value that it stands for.

Next in the line is Realme, it is also a famous brand but it lags much behind Boat in terms of market share this year. Realme has to work hard to gain more market share next year. Then there is the premium smartphone producer OnePlus that has its Oneplus buds in the market and is quite famous among brand enthusiasts.

Samsung saw a decline and went from 7.9 percent of market share in quarter 2 to 5.3 percent market share in quarter 3. Ptron became a little famous but the growth seems to be declining for the brand.

It is to be noted here that even though most of the market is covered by these key players, there is still about 27 percent of the market that is free. That 27 percent of the market is owned by other brands that are not mainstream. This creates enough space for the above-mentioned brands to work harder and poach more market share for themselves.

Seeing the current trend we can predict that these brands are already fighting for more market share for the bright future in India.


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Advantages of Wearable Devices

While they are compact and pocket friendly, they may raise concerns over the effectiveness and efficiency of these gizmos. That is quite a legit question which we will be covering in this paragraph. For example, Smartwatches can help people with Parkinson's disease track symptoms and then transmit the data to authorities, so that more personalised treatment plans can be developed.

We will see here how these devices are changing how we track, move and live our everyday life. Read on to remind yourself how useful these apps are.

Fitness tracking

Smartwatch
Smartwatch

As watches and bands have conquered the market, the most famous purpose for wearables is to track fitness norms. It is however to be noted that we are talking mainly about smartwatches and fitness bands. They help in tracking calories, steps walked, heart rate, blood spo2(Oxygen level) in some pro gizmos and many more. It helps all the fitness freaks stay on track and be honest about their calorie intake. This also helps as a motivator for workout sessions.

Location and direction

Smartwatches in these times also have a feature of maps. They can help provide accurate direction and location services, that too without looking at your phone screen again and again. This helps for people who are mostly on road or travelling often.

Portability (Hands-free)

The most useful aspect of all the best features is the portability of these devices. Portability is the ability to be portable, that can be taken anywhere without much of a hassle. Whether you are using a truly wireless headphone or a smartwatch, this feature is the prime one that comes in handy. It lets you move freely and you can now do more activity than before.

Wireless Headphone
Wireless Headphone

Here the winners are the headphone segment as wireless is winning every now and then. If you are in a gym, running or doing any physically taxing work then being hands-free or portable feels really helpful. That is why people are forgetting wired earphones or headphones and buying earwear that is wireless.

Key Challenges in the Wearables Industry

There are many challenges in this field of technology. We have made it possible for devices to be that small that can be worn but still there is some time left to truly reach a point in time of efficiency.

There have been notable failures too like that of Google Glasses. With these failures, it raises questions of feasibility in this segment of products. While the future of smart glasses is in an uncertain circle and that too we will have to see by ourselves. There are however more universal problems for smart wearables that have to be constantly tackled to provide value uninterrupted.

Battery Life

Due to the compact size of these devices, it is relatively harder to put batteries in there. Thus, they have to rely on smaller batteries that are easily discharged if not taken enough care of. Moreover, as these wearables get smarter and smarter, they get more features than before, which is also a load on the battery. It is not a new issue but an age-old issue with consistency. However, brands are trying their best to tackle this problem.

Inaccuracy

This is a highly debated issue but the news and further testing and testing tell us that there can be inaccurate information on your wearable screen. That little compact device may not be able to fully function as the big machine for a purpose. For example blood oxygen data or heartbeats information can be a little inaccurate.

Sync Issues

Larger brands with deep pockets don't have these issues. But however, the market being open and everyone trying to tap the potential in this sector has enabled issues in the working of wearables. A brand like Apple cannot afford to have even a little problem with their devices like its watch series or Airpods.

Apple Watch
Apple Watch

Trying to be like big brands, have led companies to just release stuff without proper user testing. Sometimes, there are syncing issues or irregular syncing with wearables like wireless earphones and smartwatches.

Data security and privacy issues

With the internet being the place where now most people live, privacy concerns are at an all-time high. With compact devices all over the place, this has further widened. Moreover, with the presence of China as a key player in the fitness band range, a red alert on privacy can be seen. We are not really sure about how companies use our data, what purpose that data fills and how it can be used in future. Our data ownership is being shared with big corporate technological giants and we have to be cautious of this act.


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Conclusion

Technology was in your hands in the form of smartphones, but now it is getting smarter and smaller and has even managed to enter your wardrobe. As devices are getting diverse on the basis of features they provide, they are also turning into something that can be worn. The demand is massive in this sector. These smart wearables can be multi-purpose. The hands-free nature of these devices acts as the prime differentiating factor from other heavy/bulky gadgets.

They are changing and getting smarter, Microchip implants are now being used to replace keys and passwords. They are placed on your fingertip and the chips use near-field communication (NFC) or radio-frequency identification (RFID). IDC reports forecast good demand generation in the future for their smart compacts. There exists also Indian players like that of โ€˜GOQIIโ€™ in line who are trying to tap this huge potential. Whatever the future holds, one thing is for sure that it is interesting.

FAQ

What are the leading brands in the Indian wearables market?

Noise, BoAt, and Realme are some of the leading brands in the wearables market in India.

What is the market size of the Indian wearables market?

India's wearable market grew 93.8 per cent year-on-year (YoY) in the July-September 2021 quarter.

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