Tuesday, January 19, 2021
Tech

Noise co-founder Gaurav Khatri says, health and lifestyle choices to drive wearables market up

Noise co-founder Gaurav Khatri says, health and lifestyle choices to drive wearables market up
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Gaurav says, the pandemic has led to a lot of changes in the wearables market, “the most important of them is the shift in the customers’ psyche and how focused people have become about their health and lifestyle.”

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India’s wearables market recorded its highest quarterly shipment in the September ending quarter, driven by products in the earwear and smartwatch categories. Lifestyle technology brand Noise led the smartwatch category in the quarter, according to research firm International Data Corporation (IDC).

The wearable brand retained its top spot with a 28.5% share in the smartwatch category in the third quarter. In an emailed interview with The Hindu, Noise’s co-founder Gaurav Khatri shared his views on the brand, the pandemic, and the wearables market.

Gaurav says, the pandemic has led to a lot of changes in the wearables market, “the most important of them is the shift in the customers’ psyche and how focused people have become about their health and lifestyle which has had a positive impact in the sales of the wearables.”

There is a clear spike in the adoption of the connected devices category, as people are looking for new-age tech solutions to help them in their daily tasks, he adds.

The wearables market expanded 165% year-on-year with 11.8 million (about 118 lakh) units shipped in the September ending quarter. The smartwatch category’s shipments grew nearly 120% to 778,000 (about 7.8 lakh) units in the third quarter compared to the previous year, according to IDC.

Smart wearables

Noise’s product development process involves engaging with its customers through what it calls ‘co-creation’, that helps in understanding what the customer wants.

“We have been implementing co-creation at various levels of brand interaction with our audiences from social media user-generated suggestions and content, to frequent one-on-one offline and online interaction with the customers,” Gaurav explains.

This engagement process yields greater insights and helps the brand connect with customers at a deeper level, understand their needs and develop products to match them. Longer battery life, health and wellness trackers, and an integrated device that can access multiple platforms, are some of the features that customers look for from Noise, Gaurav adds.

Interestingly, in the wristwear category, demand for smartbands declined in the third quarter, indicating a change in customer preference. Gaurav says, this change can be attributed to various reasons including smartbands being more health-focused while smartwatches on the other hand incorporate many more features than just the health aspect.

Smartwatches also have an appeal to the traditional watch users, and offer a more wholistic experience in a lesser or at the same price point in a price-sensitive market like India. Also, the market’s pricing, design and features dynamics are the three major differentiating factors for the customers, he explains.

“Smartbands would become a more niche and specialised category in the future.”

In addition to wristwear products, Noise offers earwears designed to provide good calling experience, and their latest headphones come with active noise cancellation, meant for people staying and working from home.

The demand for TWS (true wireless stereo) devices has increased in the last few quarters. Gaurav says, the rising importance of streaming content, the new ways of consuming content via short videos to serious bingeing, and the work-from-home (WFH) scenarios with multiple calls and virtual meetings have changed users’ audio consumption.

“TWS devices will become smarter and serve broader use cases beyond audio entertainments, such as calling, payment, and health and fitness,” he adds.

What next for wearables?

“We definitely see the upward trend to continue in the wearables market since when compared to smartphones, smart wearables have just single-digit penetration but great market potential hence there is a lot of scope,” Gaurav notes. “The pricing of the smart wearables has also become much more lucrative which will further increase the demand,” he adds.

Noise intends to make its devices faster, with improved user experience, while focusing on device integration to connect more facets of people’s lives.

“Our R&D team is working to create products with even greater and more seamless integration in the life of an average customer,” Gaurav concluded.

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