US-based wearable technology firm Fitbit Inc. is sharpening its focus on its India business by introducing new products and simultaneously creating more awareness about the benefits of wearables in the fitness segment in the country.

“The India strategy is to create and educate (users about the product). Broadly speaking, we are targeting the middle-level management class who are busy but squeezing fitness into their schedule. What we are doing here is to be the first brand to enter India as a foreign company, make investments in terms of having our product available in the market and also invest in marketing the product," Steve Morley, vice-president and general manager, Asia Pacific (APAC), Fitbit, said in an interview on Friday.

India, he insisted, is a strategic market for the company and has seen one of the fastest initial sales and acceptance of the brand as compared to the other nations where the firm operates.

Fitbit sells its products in 63 countries, including Singapore, Japan, Canada and some European countries.

However, Morley did not provide the number of units Fitbit has sold in India in the nine months since it entered the market.

In March, Fitbit launched two fitness-related products—Blaze and Alta—in India, in addition to the seven products it has been selling since July 2015.

Major players in the wearables market include technology and sports companies such as Apple, Inc., Garmin Ltd., Google Inc., Jawbone Inc., LG Electronics Inc., Adidas AG, Nike Inc., Pebble Technology Corp., Samsung Electronics Co., Ltd, Sony Corp. and Xiaomi Technology Co., Ltd.

According to research firm MarketsandMarkets, the global market for wearable technology is expected to reach $31.27 billion by 2020.

The dominant sector, according to analyst firms, will remain the healthcare sector, which merges medical, fitness and wellness.

In India, the health-related wearable devices market is extremely nascent, with a few Indian start-ups like GOQii, Ducere Technologies and RHL Vision Technologies operating in the segment.

According to estimates by Convergence Catalyst, a Bengaluru-based research consulting firm, around 30,000-40,000 units of wearable products, including smartwatches and fitness bands, are sold every month in India. By the end of 2016, it is likely to touch nearly 500,000 for the entire year, up from around 150,000 in 2015.

Some of the brands sold in India include the Moto 360 smartwatch, the Samsung Gear, the Apple Watch and Fitbit’s wearables. Popular among the low-end devices include Misfit (from Misfit Wearables), Xiaomi and GOQii fitness bands.

Jayanth Kolla, partner, Convergence Catalyst, said wearables as a product category is yet to make headway in the Indian market.

“What we are seeing is very early adoption. So, what needs to be done in India is that consumers need to be educated adequately on the value proposition and motivated to buy and use it. Since the pattern of usage is different from any of the existing consumer electronic devices, a good learning and adoption curve is required," he said.

Morley does not appear perturbed about competition from local companies.

“We don’t look at local competition and different approaches to the (Indian) market in great depth because we know what has worked for us to give us that dominant number one position globally. We are just focused on doing the same here," Morley insisted.

Countries like India are important to Fitbit, both in terms of revenue and reach.

In its fourth quarterly report released this February, the company said it expects to earn revenue of up to $2.5 billion, primarily through new product introduction and geographic expansions across the globe.

At present, Fitbit employs around 1,200 people, 75% of them being engineers. Most of them are based out of the US, where it designs and develops its products. The company currently manufactures all its products in China.

“The big investment we are making is the scaling-up of the company. We are making big investments in research and development, technology, in publicizing our brand and educating consumers of what’s available. We are creating the category in all the countries where we participate, including the more mature markets like Singapore," Morley said.

In 2015, FitBit remained the most popular brand of fitness trackers and smartwatches globally, shipping an estimated 21 million devices versus 12 million fitness trackers for Xiaomi and 11.6 million smartwatches for Apple, according to research firm, International Data Corp.

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