Indian phone brands resist Chinese invasion



New Delhi: As Chinese smartphone vendors decided on Indian players like Micromax, Intex, Lava and Karbonn (known as MILK brands) and fully conquer the market, local consumer tech brands desperately sought some respite. Today, Indian audio and portable players have proven that they can face and surpass the Chinese giants with their cutting edge and affordable products.

The secret sauce behind the success of local audio and portable brands like BoAt, Noise and Fire-boltt has been a healthy mix of product, price, placement and promotion.

According to the International Data Corporation (IDC), among the top five wearable brands, three places are currently occupied by Indian brands.

Homegrown Noise continues to be the leading player in the overall watch category for five consecutive quarters with a 28.6 percent share in the second quarter of this year, followed closely by BoAt with a 26.9 percent share. Fire-boltt, another local brand, came in fourth with just three-quarters of starting its business in this category, according to IDC data.

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Aman Gupta, co-founder of boAt, told IANS that boAt was born online and marketing mostly revolves around the same thing.

“An affordable internet, along with the wide availability of smartphones, has forced brands to shift from traditional marketing to digital marketing and we are proud to be the disruptors of this wave,” Gupta said.

“As the leader in the portable audio industry, our audio products are rugged and equipped with powerful sound to deliver a euphoric audio experience. Not only do we focus on quality products, but we make sure that our “boAtheads” don’t have to burn a hole in their pocket to join our tribe, ”he explained.

The pandemic and constant lockdowns have been a major contributor to an increase in online transactions and the rise of direct-to-consumer (D2C) brands.

According to Jaipal Singh, Research Director, Client Devices, IDC India, India-based suppliers have a clear advantage over Chinese-based players in terms of product offerings at the right prices.

“These local brands have not only understood the gaps in the market, but have also created new growth opportunities that help them migrate a large user base from traditional devices to these new form factors,” Singh noted.

He added that the current dominant share is not sustainable as the huge growth is attracting brands across the device spectrum.

“However, the current market offers opportunities for everyone to develop further, at least for two years, and suppliers based in China must develop an advantage over technology and product offerings. But clearly it looks like they are lagging behind, ”Singh said.

As India enters the holiday season, suppliers and channel partners are bracing for record levels of demand with the intention of further price corrections.

According to Gaurav Khatri, co-founder of Noise, it is the first Indian brand to dominate the wearable watch category for five consecutive quarters.

“We are continually expanding our horizons to get closer to customers. Our partnership to increase our retail presence with Vijay Sales and Reliance Digital is a testament to this commitment, ”Khatri told IANS.

To deliver a holistic fitness and wellness experience, Noise has partnered with SARVA, one of the largest yoga-based digital wellness platforms.

“We have grown exponentially over the past 30 months and we are striving to maintain that momentum. We are committed to delivering innovative products and will soon be launching some of the industry’s first gadgets in the TWS and smartwatches categories, ”said Khatri.

Noise is also focused on expanding its offline footprint to be present in the closest point of sale and easily accessible to customers.

According to Anisha Dumbre, Market Analyst, Client Devices, IDC India, the new generation of local brands are digitally native and aware of their limitations.

“However, they have to be careful with brands based in China, which in the future will be aggressive by introducing more sub-brands and taking advantage of the ecosystem,” said Dumbre.


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