The $43-billion Chinese technology behemoth Lenovo has strengthened its focus on the wearable device segment in India with a new range of fitness trackers, HX03F Spectra and HX03 Cardio. According to Peng Chun (Sebastian), head of Lenovo Mobile Business Group Accessory, the India market at 2 million units in 2017 is expected to reach 3 million units in 2018. “Our target is to acquire 20% market share within 2018.” In a recent interaction, he spoke to Sudhir Chowdhary on the trends in the smart wearables market and Lenovo’s current operations model in India.
How does Lenovo look at the growing wearable market opportunity here?
As far as the smart wearable market is concerned, India is a huge opportunity and we see the annual increase at about 30% which is quite high when you look at the global trend. India is an important market because of the population and the growth rate. We see a huge opportunity as the country is still developing so users will have more demand for wearable products. That’s why we offer an entire ecosystem. Also from the global perspective, the whole area of Internet of Things and Smart Homes is coming up, so we try to target that area as well.
Currently the penetration level for wearable devices is not that great; however there is good growth here—that’s where the big opportunity lies in India.
Is there a growing interest in India for fitness devices?
Yes. In 2017, 3 million devices were sold in the wearable segment—this included fitness bands and smartwatches. And the growth rate is 30%– so in India consciousness towards fitness is growing.
Globally, what is the outlook for wearable devices?
Smart wearables is still a fast growth category, globally. There are certain changes happening, for instance, smart band growth is getting slower and smartwatch segment is getting rapidly bigger. From Lenovo, we offered Moto 360 previously and now we are also offering the Lenovo band. So we try to have a portfolio for smart wearables and are selectively entering markets such as India, North America, South America and East Europe. We have positioned Lenovo and Motorola brands differently. As far as users are concerned, Motorola brand is quite technology-driven, while Lenovo is quality, performance, value for money, and we also have mainstream premium offering.
How important is the Indian market for the company
The Indian market is as important to us as the Chinese market. That’s why we started our operations last year, had a very good performance and are trying to have better growth this year. Our target is to capture about 20% market share for smart wearables in India by this year.
We launched our smart wearables range last year with Flipkart. We have been able to sell a huge number of devices. When we launched our first device, it was sold out in two minutes. For 90 days we were the top seller in the Flipkart wearables segment—so this is a big achievement for us.
How do you plan to gain customer traction here?
We are taking a lot of initiatives to expand our product portfolio, expand our reach, expand our channel base and also ensure availability of good service for our customers. It is not only about the infrastructure footprint, product line-up or the availability part – but also the price points.
Last year, we were more focused on the online segment. This year, we are going to further strengthen our relationship and our channel base in the online segment. We have exclusive launches with Flipkart. We would be offering more products to Amazon. We would also be talking to other online partners. So we would certainly be strengthening our online footprint.
We would be expanding in the offline space as well. We have a big product portfolio—not just smart bands and hybrid watches, but car accessories and mobile phone accessories also. Our first focus would be metros, then tier two and tier three cities.
There are other players too in the wearable devices segment; what sets Lenovo apart?
We started with smart bands and are working to offer different categories of smartwatches and based on the industry trend, we offer products linked to Smart Home or IoT category products. So we want to offer the entire portfolio to our customers.
We are getting certain data inputs from consumers. We are evaluating those data points. When it comes to innovations – we would certainly be early launchers of technology in the market. For instance, we brought in the heart rate monitor at an aggressive price point, last year. So, our R&D team is working on the thought that we should deliver stable and accurate solutions with the help of our algorithms.