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Q1 2022: boAt Leads India Neckband Market Followed By OnePlus boAt led the market with a 25.7 per cent share, while OnePlus and realme took the second and third spots respectively

By Soumya Duggal

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India's neckband market shipments declined 13 per cent year-on-year in Q1 2022 but grew 34 per cent year-on-year in 2021, according to the latest research from Counterpoint's IoT Service.

The market showed tremendous growth in 2021, primarily due to the user preference for neckbands over headphones for their stylish look, wireless design and long-duration usage, said a statement.

Consumers are also opting for neckbands as an alternative audio device. The decline in Q1 2022 is primarily due to the high inventory which was pushed into the channel in Q4 2021 ahead of the festive season, found Counterpoint.

"Half of the total neckband market was taken over by the top three brands in Q1 2022. boAt captured the first position due to its significant presence in the lower price segment (INR 1,000-INR 2,000). The primary factor that has helped boAt to maintain its leadership position is its wide range of products in hearables, along with strong marketing efforts. OnePlus and realme captured the second and third positions with 14.9 per cent and 9.6 per cent market shares, respectively," said Anshika Jain, senior research analyst.

"The popularity of neckband devices is increasing as users are upgrading from a wired ecosystem and also want an alternative hearable device. Like TWS, the India neckband market is dominated by local players, which captured around 58 per cent share in Q1 2022. These players have focused on providing the emerging features at affordable prices, like voice assistance, gaming mode for low latency, gesture music controls and insta-charge technology. Besides, next-gen neckbands from top brands are coming up with increased total playback time, primarily focusing on the budget segment (INR 1,000-INR 2,000)," Jain added.

"India's neckband market holds tremendous potential. We estimate that this market will continue to grow in double digits in the coming period. We have also seen the entry of new players in this segment, which is expected to drive volumes in the second half of 2022. Domestic manufacturing is also likely to pick up due to the increase in the customs duty for wireless hearable products. The current penetration of domestically made products stands at 5 per cent," Tarun Pathak, research director.

The statement offered the following market summary:

  • boAt shipments grew 4 per cent year-on-year in Q1 2022. The brand had a wide range of products for the budget segment. The boAt Rockerz 255 Pro Plus was the best-selling model for the brand.
  • OnePlus maintained its second position driven by the success of the Bullets Wireless Z Bass Edition. The brand also introduced the Bullets Wireless Z2 model in the lower price tier in Q1 2022.
  • realme captured the third position with around 10 per cent market share. The Buds Wireless 2 Neo was its best-selling model in Q1 2022.
  • Zebronics entered the Top 5 list for the first time thanks to its multiple budget-friendly neckband devices launched in the market. More than half of the total shipments for the brand were driven by just two models: Zeb-Lark and Zeb-Symphony.
  • Boult Audio registered 6 times growth year-on-year in Q1 2022 with the Curve being the best-selling device for the brand. The brand has launched several affordable models on online as well as offline platforms.
  • Xiaomi maintained a position in the Top 10 list with the Redmi SonicBass being the major volume driver. Around 67 per cent of its shipments came from the online channel.
  • Noise grew 1.8 times quarter-on-quarter due to the popularity of its Nerve and Flair models in the budget segment. The brand also launched the Noise Combat model in Q1 2022. It has a gaming mode.
  • Other emerging brands in the market include OPPO, Ptron, Hitage, Ubon and Dizo.

According to a recent consumer study by Counterpoint, 15 percent of TWS users prefer to plan for other forms of wireless earphones, like neckbands, as their next purchase. India's neckband market is approximately 1.3 times of its TWS market. Going forward, competition can be expected between the neckband and TWS segments as some users are preferring neckbands because of convenience during workouts.

Counterpoint Technology Market Research is a global research firm focussed on products in the TMT (technology, media and telecom) industry.

Soumya Duggal

Former Feature Writer

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