Consumer Electronics: India, Asia’s blue chip country for consumer electronics

Even before the pandemic, the South Asian country was one of the fastest-growing major economies in the world and this has seen the country making an imprint on the consumer electronics market, while also tackling its e-waste as a result of the technology growth, says Angelica Buan in this report.

India, the world’s fifth largest economy, has not been spared from the wrath of the coronavirus. The country’s GDP has contracted 9%, based on the Asian Development Bank (ADB) audit for the fiscal year 2020, as the Covid-19 pandemic continues to cripple its economic activities.

It is, however, forecast to rebound in 2021 to an 8% GDP growth, backed by its various industries including start-up sectors that are expected to buoy up the economy in the post-pandemic era. It is also anticipated to get back on its track of policy reforms, mainly related to regulatory and businesses, which it had already started prior to the coronavirus outbreak to boost investments, exports and domestic manufacturing.

Watershed initiatives such as the “Make in India” are targeted, among other objectives, to boost domestic manufacturing and consumption, improve the investment climate, and increase exports.

Golden opportunity in consumer electronics and durables

India’s appliance and consumer electronics (ACE) market is one major segment that can be tapped as the country restarts its post-pandemic economy. A mine of growth opportunities, India’s ACE market racked up nearly US$11 billion in 2019, according to the India Brand Equity Foundation (IBEF) Indian Consumer Durables Industry Analysis, forecasting it to to reach past US$21 billion by 2025.

Meanwhile, IBEF estimated electronics hardware production, valued at US$65.5 billion in 2019, to reach US$400 billion by 2024.

Appliances such as televisions are revenue earners, reaching almost US$11.3 billion in 2019; and by 2021, could score US$13.7 billion.

The government’s rural electrification programme is also anticipated to expand the rural market for white goods (home appliances) and consumer electronic goods.

Locally produced durables for domestic use

While “Make in India” promotes exportoriented growth, “Make for India” abets local production for domestic consumption. Thus, locally manufactured electronic appliances have witnessed increased consumption.

According to Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA), about 95% electronic appliances are now domestically produced on the heels of pandemic-related lockdowns, which exacerbated a supply shortage.

Companies are compelled to look beyond China, which accounts for between 25-70% of components, for sourcing supplies to countries like Thailand, Vietnam and South Korea.

Major multinational and home-grown consumer electronics players include Delhiheadquartered Sony India, a 100% subsidiary of Japan’s Sony Corporation; Mitsubishi Electric India, which started its CNC manufacturing facility in the country in 2013; Godrej Appliances, a business unit of Godrej & Boyce that pioneered the manufacturing of refrigerators in India in 1958; LG Electronics India, a wholly-owned subsidiary of South Korea’s LG Electronics established in 1997 and that has a manufacturing unit in Greater Noida.

Likewise, top foreign companies are seizing opportunities in the Indian market with manufacturing expansion and latest technology offerings.

Treeview, an LED television and appliances producer, has partnered with India’s largest electronic trading company QThree Ventures to launch its range of Smart Android full HD models and make them available across India. The partnership will also bring Treeview’s products to the Middle East, Europe and select African countries.

 Samsung launched its “Make for India” curd-making refrigerators

South Korea’s Samsung has extended its reach to India with its latest appliance models. Recently, it launched its range of “Make for India’” Curd Maestro refrigerators that feature, what the company calls, the world’s first refrigerators that can make curd, which does away the laborious process of manually boiling and cooling the milk, and mixing the curd culture.

Making strides in global digital technology

Meanwhile, India’s advancement in the technology space is spurring growth for digital devices. India is the second fastest digitising economy amongst the 17 leading economies of the world, and the largest and fastest-growing markets for digital consumers, with 560 million internet subscribers in 2018, second only to China, according to 2019 McKinsey Global Institute report, Digital India. The country is also an abode for more than 1,300 new tech startups, and the world’s third biggest start-up hub, citing a 2019 report from Nasscom, trade body and chamber of commerce of the Tech industry in India.

Eyeing a plum domestic market share BoAt, an emerging earwear audio brand in India, with product portfolio ranging from headphones and earphones to wearable speakers, travel changers and premium cables, is getting US$3 million funding from financial firm InnoVen Captial.

BoAt, an emerging earwear audio brand in India

The start-up company, launched in 2016, already accounts for a 20% market share in the earwear segment, according to the International Data Corporation (IDC) data. By 2021, BoAT says it is aiming at becoming a US$40 million company, hedging onto offline sales and a plan to enter newer categories to propel its growth.

California-headquartered multinational technology company Apple has expanded to India with an online store launched in September this year, offering Apple’s full range of products and support directly to customers across the country for the first time. Apple has been operating in India for more than 20 years, and the company’s ongoing investment and innovation support almost 900,000 jobs across the country, the company stated.

Apple’s App Design and Development Accelerator in Bengaluru has supported thousands of local developers. Among the locally produced and utilised apps are Wysa, an AI-based app that provides affordable and accessible mental wellness support to users; and the yoga app YogiFi, which uses computer vision for real-time posture correction and machine learning to curate personalised yoga plans.

Elsewhere, Samsung has also started making smartwatches at its Noida facility. The 4G-enabled smartwatch, the aluminium edition of Galaxy Watch Active2 4G is also competitively priced for the local market, according to Samsung. The company has also begun manufacturing its entire range of 18 smartwatches in India as part of the “Make for India” programme.


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