India’s wearables market saw record double-digit growth in the first quarter of 2022 with shipments crossing 13.9 million units, according to research firm International Data Corporation India (IDC). While wearables continue to grow in India, the smartphone market saw a decline in the same period and for the third consecutive quarter as noted by IDC in an earlier report.

IDC attributes this growth, up 20.1 per cent year-on-year (YoY), in the wearable segment “to new launches, discounts across channels, and aggressive marketing by brands.” Wearables include basic watches, smartwatches, and smart earwear as well as True Wireless Stereo (TWS) devices.  It should be noted that the average selling price (ASP) of this overall category declined by 17.1 per cent YoY driven by a stronger decline in the ASP of smartwatches.

According to IDC, watches remained the fastest-growing category and their shipments stood at 3.7 million in the quarter. But basic watches account for 95.1 per cent of the overall watch category shipments. Basic watches are those which have limited functionality and are more focused on fitness features. In comparison, an Apple Watch or a Samsung Watch is considered a true smartwatch since it has a more advanced operating system and can function with several features, such as the ability to reply to messages, take calls, etc.

“Aggressive discounts, new features, and a strong push from brands and channel partners are encouraging consumers to upgrade and spend more on wearable watches,” said Anisha Dumbre, Senior Market Analyst, Client Devices, IDC India.

Interestingly, while IDC’s data shows that basic watches grew by triple-digit YoY (202 per cent), smartwatch shipments declined 4.2 per cent annually. Furthermore, the ASP of the watches declined 41.5 per cent to reach $50.3 compared to $86 in the same quarter last year. Meanwhile, wrist bands or basic fitness bands continued to decline annually. Overall, wristwear (which includes watches and wristbands) saw a total shipment of 4.0 million units.

The earwear category accounts for 71.3 per cent of the overall wearables category. In this, the TWS share grew to 48.3 per cent.  “While dependence on devices like TWS and wearable watches is increasing, supply remains a concern for the industry. Intense competition in the sub $50 category is pushing all brands to offer competitive offerings in terms of pricing, features, and device design,” added Dumbre.

BoAT remains the top player in India thanks to its wide portfolio of earwear devices. Noise was number two on the list. OnePlus was number three, but also the only player in the top five to register a decline. A majority of its portfolio is in the earwear category. Fire-Boltt was number four on the list and the brand has focused only on watches. According to IDC, the brand gained traction in the watch market due to aggressive marketing, strong promotions, and competitive pricing.

Realme was number five on the list with Realme Buds Wireless 2 Neo accounting for 43 per cent of the overall company shipments.


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