Ever since the pandemic hit, being homebound has become the new normal. It has become de rigueur to work from home, work out from home, study from home…and so on. This has led to a phenomenal increase in the demand for audio devices.
Having good audio quality at home has never been as important as it is now due to routines that revolve around virtual meetings, online education classes, online workout sessions etc. Consequently, this surge in demand for audio devices has created a huge opportunity for entrepreneurs.
According to reports, the audio devices brands grew their business manifold. The wireless audio device market size is projected to grow from $57.3 billion in 2020 to $134.2 billion by 2025; it is expected to grow at a CAGR of 18.6 percent from 2020 to 2025.
As the audio devices sector witnesses growth, it has also created an opportunity for homegrown brands, helping them compete with the likes of Sony, JBL, Samsung, and more.
Here are four Indian audio devices brands that took off during the pandemic.
Sameer Mehta and Aman Gupta launched boAt in 2016 with a goal to avoid another me-too sourced from China product “without having a clear vision on the design and Intellectual Property”.
Today, boAt – present in more than 5,000 retail stores – claims to be clocking sales of over 10,000 units a day and four million units per year. It said it had served 20 million Indians so far.
The brand grew exponentially in 2020. Vivek Gambhir, CEO, says the audio industry was at an all-time high amidst the pandemic.
boAt also observed a huge spike in demand for wireless and true wireless range of products. Vivek that people are now moving away from wires and “adapting faster to our wireless portfolio”.
Gaurav Khatri, Co-founder, Noise
It was 2014, and the consumer electronics segments for smartphones, smartphone cases, Bluetooth earphones, etc were exploding on Flipkart and Amazon India. Alongside the smartphone segment blossomed a market for smartphone accessories like cases and covers. This was the segment Gurugram-based Gaurav Khatri wanted to venture into.
“There was an opportunity to invest in smartphone cases and covers; it seemed like a good bet,” Gaurav says.
Fast forward five years, and riding on the wave of skyrocketing smartphone sales on ecommerce platforms, Gaurav claims Noise became one of the best sellers in the mobile accessories category.
The year 2020 brought a huge opportunity for Noise – it witnessed double-digit month-on-month growth.
Mandeep Arora’s father was into the trading of mobile accessories such as earphones for walkmans in one of Delhi’s oldest and biggest markets. Mandeep joined the wholesale business in 1998 and noticed a lot of gaps in the electronics industry.
In 2004, Mandeep, his father Om Prakash Arora and his brother Lalit Arora co-founded a mobile accessories company UBON in Delhi. UBON garnered a lot of customer attraction – so much so that Mandeep said the brand aimed to reach Rs 1,000 crore in the next three years.
Speaking to SMBStory, Mandeep says the toughest time for UBON was demonetisation. But the brand got a huge push and witnessed approximately 20-30 percent increase in audio product sales in the last 1.5 years.
“Having an audio device is not a desire now but a necessity. It’s no longer just millennials, who have something dangling in their ears. It’s almost everyone, due to the ‘work from home’ scenario. Everybody on a call needs good noise-cancelling headphones,” Mandeep says.
Mandeep added that the new Indian electronics brands were tapping into the craze for new sound accessories and electronics. They were selling actively through ecommerce portals to promote vocal for local, aiming to grow further.
The mid-2000s was a time when the smartphone industry saw a boom and so did its accessories segment. It didn’t take long for Ameen Khwaja to realise the high potential in this industry. In 2015, he built his own ecommerce website latestone.com to sell smartphone accessories.
Initially, Ameen imported products from China and sold them on his ecommerce portal. However, soon he saw a huge gap in the smartphone mobile accessories market in India.
He says: “Like in the 90s when demand for computer accessories surged, similarly post 2010, demand for smartphone accessories increased. Earlier, people accepted what they got in the market, but soon the big brands stepped in, creating a big market and people had options to choose.”
In 2015, Ameen launched pTron, a brand conceptualised for consumer electronics and mobile accessories.
“We have seen tremendous growth in the audio category, with sales jumping 3X during the pandemic,” Ameen says.
He adds that the sales of pTron grew 3X and revenue by 2.3X. In this significant growth, the product category of TWS earbuds contributed more than 50 percent of the sales and revenue, followed by the neckband and wired headsets category. YourStory