Established in 2016, Gurugram based wearable brand “boat” is ranked fifth among the global wearable brands as per the report of International data Corporations. The brand was founded by Aman Gupta and Sameer Mehta. The company provides its customers witha broader range of ambitious and inexpensive consumer electronics products that includes earphones, smartwatches, headphones, speakers, travel chargers and other accessories.
With the original start-up essence, the company has initially focused on light-asset model and the majority of products are made through contract manufacturing in India and China. After pandemic and China-ban in India, it started localising its electronics supply chain process. Even after the global brand’s dominance over audio earwear and accessories, boAt was facing a disrupted supply chain.
In the Oct-Dec quarter, the company was doing well in the earwear category with 32.4% market share and seized 26.1% of the wireless stereo market and holds 2.6% market share in the wearable space as per IDC reports. The startup is moving parallel with the international clients such as Samsung, Huawei, Apple, Xiaomi and Fitbit and 200 plus local as well as international electronic brands. Apart from boAt, the other domestic companies are Portronics, iBall, Zebronics and ICCON.
The brand sells its products not only at online marketplaces such as Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart but also on offline retail stores and also on their recently launched website. At the initial level, boAt was not only selling its products on the marketplaces but through physical retail stores.Meanwhile, it retained customer data which was later utilized for the marketing and sales purpose.
During the initial days of the pandemic, the brand’s business was majorly affected as it comes under the ‘non-essential’ category and only essential items were allowed at that time to sell online and offline. Slowly, the market started reopening and boAt was able to grab the opportunity and sold its products online.
During the lockdown period or we call it ‘at Home’ world, the demand for headphones and earphones was hitting high as compared to pre-COVID period. Even, the company was not prepared for fulfilling such a huge demand. They faced great disruption in the supply chain. A lot of challenges and delays came amid. Slowly, boat succeeded to covert their threats into opportunities by concentrating on solely customer satisfaction/reviews, brand messaging and celebrity endorsements.
According to technology industry analyst (IDC), Navkendar Singh, nation’s electronics supply chain is not native enough for supporting smooth functioning. Establishing a supply chain model based on Indian business requirements seems an impractical dream. Government’s incentives for manufacturers and higher import duties are going to increase the entry barrier. It is going to take around three to five years to shape out the manufacturing ecosystem. When manufacturing of electronics components for wearables, smartphone accessories, earphones will shift from China to India, the native brands of India such as boAt will get great opportunity to grow at a competent level.
BoAt’s Growth Driven by Celebrity Endorsements and User Base
The company has a great background of celebrity endorsementsand has dealt with around more than 15 cricketers, Bollywood stars as well as musicians as its brand ambassadors. Few of them are KL Rahul, Hardik Pandya, Kartik Aaryan, Neha Kakkar and others. At D2C event, the latest ‘Masaba’ signature headphones were showcased and cofounder indicated the purpose of celebrity endorsement that is to promote boAt as an emerging elegant lifestyle brand.
The brand is gaining immense popularity among the millennials and Gen Z. It is contributing a lot in the brand’s growth. The company has more than 3 Mn users who are playing a vital role in the brand’s growth. These members avail easy access to the limited-edition products as well as discounts along with another sort of benefits. The brand can retain its old customers and get repeated orders from such a community. Also, the brand receives early feedback on their products before publicly launched.