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Not 'Smart' But 'All-ears': Shift In India's Wearable Device Market The decline in smart watch shipments contrary to the rise in ear-wear, especially within the Truly Wireless Stereo (TWS) segment, signals a transformation in consumer preferences and market opportunities, says IDC

By Entrepreneur Staff

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India's wearable device market grew by 2.1 per cent year-over-year (YoY) to 25.6 million units, marking the end of consecutive double digit growth since Q4 2017. The slowdown is attributed to high inventory from the second half of 2023, according to report by IDC.

The wearable device market of India, a burgeoning segment of the technology industry, has experienced a notable shift in its growth trajectory. After years of robust double-digit expansion, the market's growth slowed down to 2.1 per cent YoY, reaching 25.6 million units marked by high inventory levels. This slowdown from the consistent growth since the 4Q17, reflects a saturated market clashing with the challenges of overstock from the second half of 2023.

"The smartwatch market is showing early signs of a slowdown in India. The vendors are facing challenges in luring customers to upgrade due to limited innovation and freshness in newer models. IDC expects a low double-digit annual shipment decline for smartwatches in 2024," said Vikas Sharma, senior market analyst, Smart Wearable Devices, IDC India.

"At the same time, earwear shipments are expected to grow by mid-single digit, driven by AI capabilities and affordable yet advanced features like active noise cancellation options," he added.

The average selling price (ASP) for wearable devices crashed to a record low of $18.59, indicating a significant 17.8 per cent decrease in 1Q24. Consequently, shipments experienced a 7.3 per cent YoY decline, totaling 9.6 million units—the first dip since 4Q18. Within this landscape, the smartwatch segment witnessed a reduction in market share, falling from 41.4 per cent to 37.6 per cent.

Notably, the True Wireless Stereo (TWS) segment's share surged to 70.1 per cent, marking a 19 per cent YoY increase. Leading brands such as BoAt, Noise, FireBolt, Boult, and Oppo managed to maintain their dominance as top vendors, although their collective market share experienced a slight decline from 63.9 per cent to 59.9 per cent. Meanwhile, Titan and BeatXP emerged as significant players, demonstrating substantial growth in smartwatch shipments.

In response to the evolving market conditions, vendors have shifted their strategies towards retail expansion and product bundling, aiming to leverage the festive sales period for a potential boost in growth. This approach has been reflected in the increased share of the offline channel, which rose to 37.9 per cent, while online channel shipments saw a 14.1 per cent YoY decrease.

A niche yet growing segment which is the smart ring category, continues to flourish with Ultrahuman emerging as the market leader.

This highlights a significant change in the dynamics of the Indian wearable device industry. The decline in smartwatch shipments contrary to the rise in ear-wear, especially within the TWS segment, signals a transformation in consumer preferences and market opportunities. As the industry navigates through these changes, the focus on innovation, consumer engagement, and strategic marketing will be crucial for vendors to adapt and thrive in the evolving landscape of wearable technology.

Entrepreneur Staff

Entrepreneur Staff


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