Aman Gupta thinks he has Gen Z to thank for the success of his electronics accessories company, boAt. “Youngsters these days change earphones every three to six months,” says Gupta animatedly. And it is this sort of hyper-consumerism that has led to boAt being a success in a space with only a handful of other organised players, most of which are established international brands like Sennheiser, JBL and Sony.

It isn’t just Gen Z customers though. If there is one sector that has benefited from the smartphone boom, it is accessories. From earphones and headphones to charging cables, power banks, and the like. High replacement cycles, search for variety and the growth of e-commerce have also contributed to the growth of accessories.

According to Research Nester, a research consulting firm that provides market intelligence services across sectors, the market for mobile phone accessories will be worth $3.54 billion by the end of 2024. Growing at a compound annual growth rate (CAGR) of 10.5% between 2017-2024.

Despite the potential the space holds, however, succeeding within it, is no small feat. It’s a dog eat dog world, with an endless array of competitors and a low entry barrier. Experts say that for a homegrown brand to routinely be among the highest rated audio accessories on Amazon, therefore, is commendable.

Indeed, boAt is an exception. It has carved out a niche in a crowded market by appealing to youth and marketing itself as a brand that offers quality at an affordable price.

A ride on Delhi’s metro is enough to gauge boAt’s popularity. Scores of youngsters sporting boAt headsets dot the crowded platforms and coaches. The colourful nature of boAt’s accessories catch the eye—reds, blues, and greens; all emblazoned with boAt’s branding—adding to the wearer’s style.

This popularity has helped the brand—co-founded by Gupta and Sameer Mehta in 2016—become profitable just three years on from its inception. Imagine Marketing Private Limited, the company which manufactures boAt, posted a profit of Rs 6 crore (~$856,000) for the year ended March 2018, according to company research platform Tofler. Its revenues for the same period stood at Rs 108 crore ($15.3 million), up 300% from the previous year.

Though the company has not filed its results for the financial year ended March 2019, sources within the company say its revenues have almost doubled, potentially crossing Rs 200 crore ($28.4 million). The company claims to sell more than 6,000 units daily, with a 30% repeat rate.

BoAt’s success has made the sector’s incumbents sit up and take notice. Japanese major Sony, for example, may follow the upstart brand’s strategy. While it may not expressly say so, Hidenori Hino, operations incharge for Sony India’s mobile and audio marketing department, says as much. “We understand that customers are looking for value for money and that’s why we are looking to lower prices in some of the categories,” says Hino, adding, “This does not mean that we will compromise on product and sound quality.”

“One of the major issues cited by investors is that entry barrier is too low.

AUTHOR

Vandana

Vandana is based in Delhi. She covers vertically focussed startups in consumer internet space and also writes on travel tech and smartphones for The Ken. She has spent 13 years in journalism covering a wide range of subjects- equity markets, mutual funds to education and skilling, working at organisations such as Business Standard, CNBC TV18 and The Week in the past.

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