Boat, the Indian brand that specialises in audio products, has featured in a global top 5 list for the first time ever. According to data on global hearable and wearable devices from the latest quarter of 2020, Boat ranked joint fifth with fitness wearable brand Fitbit, after shipping 3.3 million devices in the quarter that also included the festive season shopping spree in India. The top four brands selling hearables and wearables globally have Apple ruling the roster with 33.1 percent market share, followed by Xiaomi, Huawei and Samsung with 13.6, 11 and 9 percent market share, respectively. Fitbit and Boat each have 2.6 percent market share, taking global shipments into account.
It is important to note that while the rest of the brands in the list are truly global in terms of markets they sell products in, Boat has so far only sold its products in India. According to IDC data, Boat shipped less than 1 million devices in the 2019 festive season, with its Q3 2019 shipment figures standing at 0.8 million. However, the brand saw over 4x growth to reach 3.3 million units shipped in the 2020 festive season quarter. The growth figures for Boat may have been fuelled by the need for personal audio products owing to more people working from home and hosting or attending video conferences – an act that has become a norm due to the coronavirus pandemic. Furthermore, Boat has also introduced a strong portfolio of truly wireless earbuds in India, all of which has come with a value sensitive price tag.
The nationalist, made in India narrative rising out of anti-China sentiments in India has most likely also contributed to Boat’s growth. Marking its rise in the global shipment charts by sole virtue of its sales in India, IDC’s quarterly report states, “Boat focuses solely on the Indian market (a rapidly growing market for wearables) and primarily sells hearables. Post-lockdown in India, the company has benefitted from to a strong marketing campaign and tie-ins with local cricket teams. While ambitions remain strong for the company, it lacks the global presence and supply chain of its many competitors.“
The overall wearables market, which includes smartwatches, fitness trackers and wireless audio products with smart assistant integration, saw 125 million devices shipped globally in Q3 2020. This amounts to an annual growth of 35.1 percent, marking a strong year for the wearable gadgets category.
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