Smartwatches And Earwear Lead India's 34% Growth In Wearables

In 2023, India’s wearable market saw a robust expansion, growing by 34% to reach a significant 134.2 million units, according to the International Data Corporation's (IDC) India Monthly Wearable Device Tracker.

What Happened? Particularly noteworthy was the fourth quarter, where shipments climbed to 28.4 million units, a 12.7% increase from the previous year.

However, the latter half of 2023 witnessed a surplus of inventory despite multiple product launches and festive season promotions. This excess led to a 15.4% drop in the average selling price (ASP) of wearables, from $25.0 to $21.2.

In the smartwatch segment, shipments skyrocketed by 73.7% year-over-year, totalling 53.4 million units. Their market share also increased from 30.7% in 2022 to 39.8% in 2023. Despite festive discounts, the average selling price saw a 38.7% decrease.

The earwear category, including the Truly Wireless Stereo (TWS) segment, grew modestly by 16.9% year-over-year, with TWS claiming a 67.3% market share. However, neckband shipments dipped by 15.2%.

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Leading vendors like boAt, Noise, and Fire-Boltt maintained strong market positions through diverse product offerings and innovation. Boult Audio achieved the highest year-over-year growth among top vendors, while newcomer BeatXP impressed in the smartwatch category with aggressive online marketing.

The distribution channels saw a shift, with offline channels growing by 55.6% year-over-year, increasing their market share to 31.0% in 2023 from 26.7% in 2022.

What to know: Looking into 2024, IDC's Vikas Sharma anticipates single-digit growth in the wearable segment. Vendors are expected to enhance omnichannel strategies, particularly in smaller cities. Advanced features like LTE SIM/eSIM connectivity in smartwatches and Active Noise Cancellation (ANC) in earwear at affordable prices are on the horizon.

Anand Priya Singh of IDC India highlights the challenge of non-branded alternatives offering cheaper versions of popular models, often with multiple watch straps. This trend impacts user experience and calls for established vendors to develop strategies to better engage first-time users.

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