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NEW DELHI : Shipments of wearable devices in India, which include fitness-tracking bands, smartwatches and true-wireless earbuds, hit 100 million devices for the first time in a calendar year. The milestone came amid a 46.2% year-on-year (YoY) shipment growth for the segment, which saw both smartwatches and earbuds see sizeable growth in consumer interest through the year. Interestingly, the uptick in demand for wearables come as the overall consumer electronics industry, both in India and around the world, grapples with fall in demand due to inflationary concerns and increasing life cycles of prior products.

Smartwatches were the fastest growing product category among wearables, and among all consumer electronics categories in the country, according to a report published earlier today by market researcher International Data Corporation (IDC). As per the report, while 12.2 million smartwatches were shipped in 2021, this saw a 151% YoY growth to 30.7 million units in 2022. The average price of smartwatches also dropped through last year as more brands launched more affordable watches and in increasing varieties — down to $42.5 (around 3,500) last year from $61.2 (around 4,600) in 2021.

To be sure, earbuds still account for the majority share of device shipments in the wearable category, with nearly 70% of the market accounted for by true wireless earbuds. Shipments of the latter grew 28% YoY to 68.9 million units last year, up from 53.7 million in 2021.

The key reason for the resilient wearables market despite consumer sentiment downturn towards purchasing new electronics and gadgets is largely price-driven, as per analysts. On January 6, Navkendar Singh, associate vice-president, client devices at IDC India told Mint that wearables was expected to be the only category in consumer electronics growing in shipments.

“The key factor in the wearables sector is affordability, and that is why wearables are still seeing interest — amid pent-up consumer interest due to a drop in demand for smartphones," Singh said.

However, the market was stifled by supply challenges through the year, IDC noted. Vikas Sharma, senior market analyst for client devices at IDC India, said that supply challenges “are not expected to ease off completely before early second half, 2023."

“Local manufacturing is expected to scale up to more than 80% by exit 2023, with more players opting for local sourcing of parts and components," he added.

In the smartwatch space, homegrown brand Noise captured the highest market share last year, with 27%. However, fellow homegrown brand Boat was the top-shipping brand last year taking all three sub-segments into account, with 29.3% market share. Noise and China-headquartered BBK Electronics’ OnePlus ranked second and third, after Boat.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Shouvik Das
Shouvik Das is a science, space and technology reporter for Mint and TechCircle. In his previous stints, he worked at publications such as CNN-News18 and Outlook Business. He has also reported on consumer technology and the automobile sector.
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