In recent years, there has been an escalating demand for smart wearables and mobile accessories, primarily driven by the rise of Internet connectivity and affordability of smartphones. The mobile accessories category not just comprises USB cables, power banks, chargers, and earphones, but also includes smart wearables and hearables such as, Bluetooth neckbands, and TWS. This segment is estimated to be worth INR 25,000 crore, and that’s why it has witnessed many brands foraying into this market.
Though the market has been growing at a tremendous pace, it has also given an impetus to domestic manufacturing largely pushed by the initiatives undertaken by the Government to manufacture in India. According to analysts, approximately 70-80% of the demand for wearables and hearables is now being met domestically rather than relying on Chinese imports. The policies such as phased manufacturing programme and slashing of duties has benefited the local manufacturing ecosystem. With Indian manufacturers being helped with favorable regulatory policies, they are able to provide quality electronic products and sell at competitive prices to the brands in India. Hence, helping in reducing the reliance on imports from China.
In this story, we talked to India’s leading electronics manufacturers to know from them about the industry trend they see will happen in 2023, and how they are helping Indian brands with Make-in-India.
A. Gururaj, Managing Director, Optiemus Electronics
Optiemus has committed itself towards contributing to India’s efforts to become a major electronics manufacturing hub globally. With efforts in the hearable/wearable segment, the company has also achieved the successful record production of ‘One million wearables and hearables’ in a month at its manufacturing plants at Noida. Under the visionary leadership of Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi, India has made significant progress in electronics manufacturing this year and initiatives like Phased Manufacturing Programme introduced for Hearable/Wearable in the Union Budget 2022 has helped immensely to fuel the growth. Optiemus has been at the forefront of this phenomenal journey of the hearable/wearable industry and has partnered with major lifestyle brands like Noise, HARMAN, DIZO, Truke, Wings to manufacture their products from the two existing state-of-the-art manufacturing facilities located in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
In addition, Optiemus partner, Wistron is providing active support to create world-class processes in the manufacturing operations. While Optiemus is working with leading multinational companies for multiple segments of businesses to move towards volume production of their products. On the expansion front furthermore, Optiemus is all set to open its 3rd state-of-the-art manufacturing facility in Noida with a capacity for high volume manufacturing of wearables and other products units which will further strengthen the company’s manufacturing capabilities. The electronics industry is set for the next wave of revolution in the coming year and 2023 can be the major milestone year for Optiemus to make further progress towards realising “Atmanirbhar Bharat” in electronics.
Brandworks Technologies Pvt Ltd
Nikita Kumawat, Management Director, Brandworks Technologies Pvt Ltd
As a leading manufacturer from Mumbai, Brandworks Technologies is a distinguished name in the mobile accessories market globally. The firm helps many brands to build a unique infrastructure for their product manufacturing with proper quality and standards. Bransworks’ Unique EMS services are trusted in the market as they are associated with the top brands in India and globally.
Talking about the industry trends, Nikita opines, “For next few years, we see few categories like TWS and Smartwatch gaining big momentum in India and at Brandworks we are ready to offer a great range of products to brands, we are working with top Design Houses to offer a full range of quality products to Brands in India. We are also working towards creating a (Platform-as-a-service) to help brands design, develop, manufacture and launch a fully Made In India product. Electronic manufacturing industry in India currently contributes around 2% to the GDP. Whereas, in countries where the electronic manufacturing industry is developed, it contributes to around 12~15% to The GDP. So, there is huge scope for this industry to grow and flourish in India.”
India smartwatch market surged over 150% ending 2022 as compared to previous year. This surge is expected to continue in coming years and gives a huge potential market to the brands in India. TWS market surged over 90% ending 2022 as compared to previous year.
Brandworks is also ensuring its employees get the best training and the ideal work environment to grow and strengthen their skills. Training is provided to shop floor employees through job and classroom methodology. Hands-on training is provided for critical stages and is monitored through a skill matrix. For staff members, functional as well as behavioral training is provided, such as 5S, 6 tools, 7QC, 6 sigma, leadership, managerial skills. The company ensures involvement of all employees through manufacturing excellence concepts, such as, 5S, Productivity improvement projects.
Shervan Electronics & Cables Pvt Ltd.
Mankirat Singh, Director, Mandeep Cables & Shervan Electronics
“Indian mobile charging cables have become increasingly popular over the past few years. This can be attributed to the fact that they are compatible with a wide range of devices, allowing users to easily charge multiple devices with a single cable. We have been at the forefront of innovation in this area, creating cables with unique features such as high-speed charging capabilities and compatibility with a variety of different devices. In addition, we have invested heavily in marketing strategies for their mobile charging cables. These strategies have allowed them to reach more consumers and explain the benefits that their products offer. By creating an effective marketing campaign, Indian manufacturers are able to take full advantage of the rising popularity of their products in the international market.”
Rajesh Chopra, Managing Director, Rise Electronics
Sharing his insights on how manufacturers are helping brands get their products in India, Rajesh Chopra said, “The PLI scheme is a welcome move for the Indian mobile manufacturing ecosystem, attracting top players like Apple and Samsung to increase their Make in India footprint and make India their export hub. Another point to be noted is that handset exports in the country also saw a 26 per cent y-o-y increase in 2021. According to the Software Technology Parks of India (STPI), Telangana, Maharashtra and Uttarakhand have submitted three new proposals for setting up electronics clusters under the modified scheme for consideration by the ministry of electronics and information technology (MeitY). All of these initiatives and factors, when looked at cumulatively, have pushed the market up and are expected to keep driving further growth. The major mobile accessories used by customers include powerbanks, USB cables, mobile cases and covers, chargers and earphones. Large brands like boAt, Pebble and Spigen, which only used to import and assemble in the country are now starting to manufacture in India. For example, currently around 10 percent of boAt’s products were manufactured in India, boAt’s target is to manufacture close to 40 per cent of its production volume in the home market by 2024 and is hoping to make the most out of the government’s proposed PLI (Product Linked Incentive) scheme for wearable makers.
He further talked about the number of initiatives that have been undertaken by the Indian manufacturers to give a boost to the efforts for developing a strong “Brand India”:
⮚ Make in India: Launched by the Government of India in September 2014, Make in India is designed to encourage multinational, as well as national companies to manufacture their products in India.
⮚ Work culture: Multinationals emphasize performance in an informal setting, with options for employees to work from home, for example, as long as output is maintained. Such practices are now becoming more common in the Indian IT sector, but the overall work culture in India tends to overemphasize physical attendance with not enough attention being paid to output. India needs to modernize its work culture to improve its global image.
⮚ Quality control: India has improved the quality of both exported and domestic goods and services. Quality control contributes to brand building through resource efficiency, increased standards of living, revenue generation, benchmarks, improved work environments, employee satisfaction, and improved moral values and standards.
⮚ Technology adoption and implementation: Indian manufacturers are now quick to adopt new technology in the primary sector, industry sector, and service sector. To build Brand India, India companies need to be seen as operating on the forefront of innovation and technology
⮚ Research and development (R&D): Now manufacturers are boosting investments for R&D activities. The onus lies upon Indian companies and managers to invest in R&D, not only for their own direct benefit but to indirectly contribute to Brand India.
Kartik Agarwal, Partner & CEO, STAUNCH
The Indian manufacturing industry is slated to continue its good run and solidify its position as one of the high-growth sectors in India. Given the positive sentiment around manufacturing, the sector has gained a lot of traction in the last few years and has been at the forefront of creating jobs, and has continued to be one of the growth drivers in India. At present, India is one of the biggest and fastest-growing mobile accessories markets globally. The availability of a strong distribution network and zeal to gain a competitive advantage are the essential driving factors for the providers of mobile accessories to climb up the ladder. Since the government has imposed customs duties on essential imported components, the Indian manufacturing ecosystem is manufacturing domestically which results in the slashing of the average selling prices of accessories and has made the products affordable for consumers from all economic strata, which has enabled the market to expand enormously. The Indian market will continue to provide quality-oriented, market-smart, and trendy features in their accessories along with a great number of opportunities to sustain and grow and make India a manufacturing hub.
Brand building in India now requires new perspectives, refreshed thinking, holistic approaches, and a deep understanding of the factors that influence consumer needs. Driven initially by the global best practices of multinationals, homegrown brands are also now slowly embracing the power of branding. There are certain factors that Staunch, being a homegrown Indian manufacturer follows. Brand building for us stands for a deep understanding of the role of technology, channels, customers’ need, platforms, and Innovation. Innovation has a strong role to play in a market like India, characterized by a complex maze of tastes and preferences that shift as one travels across state borders. Nonetheless, we use innovation as a tool to identify growth opportunities or tap into unmet needs. At Staunch, innovation is not just about launching new products and bringing advanced technologies but the communication and delivery of our brand experience is a very significant area that we continuously try to improve. The importance of building trust is often an underrated element of Staunch’s brand building.