India's Wearable Market Heats Up With 2 New Smart Rings

India’s Wearable Market Heats Up With 2 New Smart Rings

smart rings

Introduction

In the thriving landscape of wearables, India, the world’s largest smartwatch market, is preparing to welcome two innovative additions – smart rings. While wrist-worn devices continue to be a hit, two domestic giants, BoAt and Noise, are strategically targeting health-conscious consumers who prioritize health and sleep tracking over conventional form factors.

BoAt and Noise are emerging as fierce competitors to global giants like Apple, Samsung, and Huawei by introducing budget-friendly wearables. Their consistent presence among the top five wearable device manufacturers globally speaks to their influence. The recent revelation of their upcoming smart rings in the Indian market has stirred anticipation, even though the products are yet to hit shelves.

Wearables Market Span

The initial step for BoAt and Noise is gauging consumer demand, a task they approach with optimism. The third quarter of 2022 witnessed India becoming the world’s largest smartwatch market, boasting an impressive 167% year-on-year growth according to Counterpoint, a prominent market research firm. Additionally, India has outpaced both the U.S. and China in this regard, as per IDC’s recent report. The second quarter of 2023 saw a 37.2% YoY growth in the overall wearable market, with 32.8 million units shipped. Smartwatch shipments in India nearly doubled to 12.8 million units, while earbuds experienced a 15.2% YoY growth.

While established players like Apple and Samsung have experienced increased shipments due to the surge in premium smartphone sales, the market’s driving force remains local entities such as BoAt and Noise. Their consistent success is attributed to their focus on launching ultra-affordable sub-$30 smartwatches and wireless earbuds that rival high-end devices in appearance and experience. IDC’s data indicates that the average selling price (ASP) of smartwatches dropped by 44.9% to $25.6 in Q2 from $46.6 the previous quarter, and the wearable ASP declined from $26.7 to $21 YoY.

BoAt and Noise have stamped their authority in the Indian wearable market, holding respective market shares of 26.6% and 13.5% in Q2, as per IDC’s statistics. Oppo, the Chinese smartphone manufacturer (including OnePlus), followed closely with a 10.7% share.

The ascent of low-cost devices has undoubtedly fueled sales, despite some trade-offs. Both BoAt and Noise are striving to deliver maximum functionality within the confines of affordability.

However, the smart ring market in India has been slower to gain traction. While the U.S. boasts startups like Oura, India is home to Ultrahuman and Pi Ring as its early entrants. The introduction of BoAt and Noise into this segment could potentially stimulate consumer interest and adoption.

Navkendar Singh, Associate Vice President at IDC India, believes that this move might inspire other wearable brands to delve into the smart ring category, consequently broadening consumer options. Singh also notes that there’s untapped potential for traditional as well as novel wearable form factors.

Both BoAt and Noise are pledging accurate health and sleep tracking through their smart rings, targeting distinct customer groups. BoAt’s CEO, Sameer Mehta, indicates that their smart ring, in development since November, targets users on their second or third-generation smartwatches. Noise, on the other hand, caters to consumers seeking precise health and sleep tracking without transitioning from analog watches.

The allure of a smart ring hinges on its positioning on the finger, which boasts access to arteries that wrist-worn devices cannot tap into. Mohit Kumar, CEO of Ultrahuman, highlights the data advantage this provides, particularly in terms of accuracy and comprehensiveness. Kumar emphasizes that the ring needs advanced sensors and intricate algorithms to deliver reliable results. However, ensuring a perfect fit and maintaining optimal data collection poses challenges, as even a minor gap can skew readings.

To address this, smart ring makers have designed sizing kits to ensure an impeccable fit. BoAt and Noise have outsourced manufacturing to third parties, and the challenge of integrating smartwatch-level sensors into a ring remains.

Noise’s Smart Ring: A Year in the Making, and It’s Finally Here

BoAt’s Mehta reveals that the initial manufacturing of their smart ring involves 5,000 units produced in China. In contrast, Ultrahuman has opted for domestic production in India to maintain control over hardware and software. Ultrahuman’s smart rings are popular in the Middle East, London, and predominantly India, where its monthly shipments exceed 9,000 units.

Pricing

Pricing is a pivotal factor in smart ring adoption, with Ultrahuman pricing its Ring Air at $349, BoAt aiming for sub-$80, and Noise targeting a “premium” segment. The subscription model prevalent in the U.S. has limitations in India, where Ultrahuman, BoAt, and Noise have opted for alternative strategies to balance value, pricing, and customer feedback.

Looking ahead, BoAt envisions a “recharge model” for their smart rings, allowing users to access services through periodic nominal fees. Oura’s plans for India remain undisclosed.

In conclusion, the Indian smart ring market is experiencing a dynamic shift, with BoAt and Noise spearheading innovative solutions in health and sleep tracking. As India continues to dominate the global smartwatch arena, these two domestic players are poised to reshape wearable technology trends.

India Witnesses Record-breaking Shipment of 100 Million Wearables in 2022: BoAt and Noise’s Smart Rings Set to Ignite New Market Competition

In the bustling landscape of wearables, India has registered an impressive milestone by shipping a whopping 100 million wearables during the year 2022, as per the insights from IDC. Notably, this surge can be attributed to the impactful contribution of homegrown players such as BoAt, Noise, and Fire-Boltt, who have made their mark with affordable wearables. As the new year unfolds, this trend is poised to maintain its momentum, projecting a promising trajectory.

Ultrahuman Ring Air Image Credits: Ultrahuman

IDC’s Navkendar Singh highlights, “The burgeoning consumer demand for smart wearables, serving both as fitness companions and lifestyle enhancers, has been a compelling catalyst propelling the market’s expansion.”

The upcoming introduction of smart rings by BoAt and Noise is poised to instigate fresh competition within this burgeoning sector. Singh further elaborates, “Smart rings extend the same functionality for health and fitness tracking, all without necessitating an external screen or consuming space like wrist-worn or ear-based devices. This compact form factor seamlessly integrates into the user’s personal style, delivering added convenience.”

Mohit Kumar, founder of Ultrahuman, emphasizes that the entry of these new players holds the potential to augment the adoption of smart rings within offline retail channels. He notes, “When approaching traditional retailers with the proposition of smart rings, they often respond with bewilderment. BoAt and Noise will initially offer their smart rings online, but both have strategies to swiftly venture into offline channels.”

Kumar also foresees that these emerging contenders could potentially siphon some of Ultrahuman’s potential customers, provided they manage to deliver superior hardware, software, and overall experience. He asserts, “Should we consistently offer higher value across the board, there’s a likelihood that users will gravitate towards us eventually.”

Recent reports have hinted at Apple and Samsung’s contemplation of entering the smart ring domain. However, these industry giants are yet to unveil their official plans.

A glimpse into Noise’s perspective, articulated by Amit Khatri, indicates that established players might need some time before entering the market. He highlights the nimbleness of startups in experimentation and the agility they possess. Khatri notes, “Launching a product is a whole different challenge for larger organizations. As a startup, we can pivot faster and experiment more freely.”

The advent of smart rings by these Indian contenders broadens the spectrum of accessible and cost-effective alternatives available to consumers. These options act as a bridge until industry behemoths like Apple and Samsung ultimately introduce comparable offerings.

In summary, the wearable market in India has reached new heights with the shipment of 100 million devices in 2022. The rise of domestic players like BoAt and Noise, and their foray into the smart ring sector, is expected to stir up competition, providing consumers with innovative and convenient choices in the ever-evolving landscape of wearable technology.

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