As Indian consumers veer towards fitness, the wearables category has seen a proliferation of smartwatches and fitness bands from brands new and old. Puma recently made its debut in the category with a smartwatch; Boat Lifestyle and Realme, too, plan to launch fitness bands. Xiaomi, which already has fitness bands under its belt, plans to now introduce them under the Redmi brand. Meanwhile, brands such as GOQii, Garmin and Titan are upping their game with newer features like blood oxygen level tracking and altimeters.
According to data from Statista, the wearables market in India is valued at $1,556 million in 2020 and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 4.7% to reach $1,870 million by 2024. However, Statista’s data excludes smartwatches; hence, the size of the market could be potentially higher. According to market experts, fitness bands comprise a lion’s share of this market, with Xiaomi, Titan and GOQii being the the top players. Whereas in the smartwatches category, Amazfit, Samsung and Apple reign.
Counting steps and more…
As competition intensifies, these players are going the extra mile — launching with hi-tech features, creating an ecosystem around their products and tapping multiple retail channels — in a bid to stand out. GOQii, for instance, offers doctors, health stores and diagnostic services to users, besides health coaches.
GOQii also has insurance on the cards, says Vishal Gondal, its founder and CEO. “We just got approval under the regulatory sandbox with five major insurance companies and we will be integrating wearables into their insurance plans.” The company, which gets a major chunk of its business from the online channel, now plans to expand its offline presence to 10,000 stores in the next 12-18 months.
Somprabh Singh, business head – wearables, Titan Company, says the goal is to create a consumer ecosystem around its wearables offering that will give “consumers a memorable experience across many value propositions, especially in health, fitness, wellness and payments”.
Meanwhile, Garmin caters to the premium segment. It is present on online marketplaces, multi-brand stores like Shoppers Stop and Lifestyle, and three of its own brand stores. “While the competition differentiates on colours, we have a product line for all categories,” says Ali Rizvi, director, Garmin India. The company’s Instinct series, for instance, has an altimeter, barometer and electronic compass to cater to those who are into outdoor sports, while its Garmin Fenix series, which starts at Rs 80,000, is designed for CXOs. Garmin’s products can be paired with Android as well as iOS devices.
Xiaomi, the market leader according to IDC’s Q3 report, uses social media campaigns and offline engagements to drive growth. “Run with Mi is our flagship annual property that propagates a culture of fitness and motivates people to follow a healthier way of life. Other campaigns like Fitter 2020 and Kal se Pakka have helped us refresh people’s interest in pursuing a healthy lifestyle at the start of the year,” says a Xiaomi spokesperson.
Despite several sophisticated devices in the market, entry-level fitness bands in the price range of Rs 1,500 – 2,500 see most traction. “In India, products priced below Rs 3,500 cater to 70% of the volume, and approximately 30% of the value of the entire wearables market,” says Singh of Titan.
According to Satyajit Sinha, research analyst at Counterpoint, users primarily opt for wearables for tracking fitness and health, which a fitness band addresses well. “Hence, a fitness band, which is almost 10-times cheaper than the smartwatch, paired with a smartphone solves most of the users’ needs at this point.”
Jaipal Singh, associate research manager, client devices, IDC India, believes that the market has a lot of potential. “It is not only about bringing hardware to the market, but also focussing on what other use-cases you can offer. Most of the smart bands and smartwatches are tracking health; there has to be something beyond that,” he adds.
However, as per Sinha, users are still warming up to their smartphones, and smartwatches are right now just a “unnecessary accessory”. But going forward, as consumers become more open to trying out new products, this might change.
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