In the last three fiscal years, sales of Indian wearables and hearables brands such as Boat, Noise, pTron, Boult, and Mivi have seen a three-fold increase.
This surge highlights the growing dominance of domestic brands in these rapidly expanding market segments, according to the latest regulatory filings with the Registrar of Companies (RoC).
Despite the impressive sales growth, profits for these startups have not kept pace.
Some, including Boat and pTron, have reported a decline in profits during the same period, even experiencing losses, as per data from RoC sourced by Tofler and AltInfo.
Sameer Mehta, co-founder and CEO of Imagine Marketing, which owns Boat, attributes the profitability impact to substantial investments in developing the smartwatch category and expanding local manufacturing.
He notes that about 75 per cent of their products are now made in India, a significant increase from just 2-3 per cent in the previous year.
This trend of scaling up domestic manufacturing is common across brands in categories like smartwatches, neckbands, and earbuds.
Counterpoint Research reveals that domestic manufacturing's share in the smartwatch market reached 82 per cent in the July-September period, up from just 4 per cent a year earlier.
In the true wireless segment (TWS), local manufacturing's share rose to 37 per cent in the September quarter, up from 16 per cent in the previous quarter.
Imagine Marketing reported a 14 per cent increase in standalone sales at Rs 3284 crore in 2022-23, up from Rs 704 crore in FY20.
However, the company posted a net loss of Rs 101 crore last fiscal, compared to a net profit of Rs 78 crore in FY22.
Nexxbr Marketing Pvt Ltd, owner of the Noise brand, has seen its revenue nearly double annually, reaching Rs 1426 crore in FY23. However, its net profit or loss for the last fiscal is unclear due to corrupted RoC filings, Economic Times reported.
Exotic Mile Pvt Ltd, which owns Boult Audio, saw its revenue jump 168 per cent to Rs 498 crore in the last fiscal, but its net profit decreased by 55 per cent to Rs 4 crore.
Mohit Yadav, founder of AltInfo, notes that Indian firms like Boat and Noise have capitalised on anti-Chinese sentiments, gaining significant market traction. However, he questions their long-term sustainability and ability to compete with Chinese rivals.
Boat's Mehta emphasises the company's focus on R&D and innovation to avoid the fate of Indian mobile phone companie.
A Noise spokesperson also highlighted their strategic investments in human resources, technology, and R&D.
According to Counterpoint Research, Boat leads the market in true wireless speakers and neckbands, while Fire-Boltt tops the smartwatch segment. Indian brands dominate the wearables and hearables market, holding a 65-70% share against global competitors like Apple, Samsung, and OnePlus.
Palred Electronics, owner of pTron, reported revenue of Rs 148 crore in FY23, a rise from Rs 106 crore in FY21, but faced a net loss of Rs 2 crore last fiscal.
Seminole Electronics, which owns Mivi, saw its sales more than double to Rs 150 crore in FY22, with a slight increase in net profit to Rs 3.7 crore. Its FY23 financials are yet to be filed.
Kuldeep is Senior Editor (Newsroom) at Swarajya. He tweets at @kaydnegi.
An appeal from Swarajya
At Swarajya, we rely on our readers' support through subscriptions to sustain our media platform. Unlike larger conglomerates, we are unable to relentlessly chase advertising money — our model is largely built on your patronage.
Your support has never been more crucial. We work tirelessly to deliver 10-15 high-quality articles daily, ensuring you receive insightful content from 7 AM to 10 PM.
If you believe India's story has to be articulated in a way it has never been done before without shrugging it off, become a patron (or) subscribe now for ₹̶2̶4̶0̶0̶ ₹1999 and get 12 print issues, unlimited digital access for 1 year, a special India that is Bharat T-shirt (Offer ends soon).
We are counting on you!