“The Indian Market Has Always Been A Challenge Because Of Low Price Expectations”

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With smart offices and smart homes becoming popular in the country, investments in the Indian consumer electronics industry are on the rise. Consumer electronics now has around 10 per cent market share in the Indian electronics industry, and it is the middle-income group in the country that is investing in the latest tech gadgets for personal and home use. New categories of consumer electronic products, such as wearables, will enable this segment to grow further. In the coming years, 60 per cent of the world’s population is projected to own a smartphone, which will also fuel the growth of the consumer electronics accessories market. This market is estimated to grow to more than US$ 20 billion by 2020, and become the largest in the world by 2025. Electronics Bazaar’s Nijhum Rudra spoke to Manoj Kumar Pansari, chairman and MD, Astrum India, about the various challenges faced by the company in the consumer electronics and accessories market in India, the way in which these are being overcome, and the future of the industry.

EB: What do you think are the various challenges that the consumer electronics and accessories sector faces in India? What are some of the initiatives you have undertaken to solve these challenges?
The focus on ‘Make in India’ in the Indian electronics industry is increasing the opportunities for electronics manufacturing services (EMS) in the country. The outlook for the consumer electronics industry is not always rosy. For every successful product, there are many failed prototypes. The industry faces several challenges such as obsolete technologies, impatient consumers, slowing demand for products, and slow technology adoption.

At Astrum, we focus on every aspect from innovation to revenues, as we strongly feel that customer satisfaction is paramount. A hurdle that the electronics industry in our country faces is the glut of sub-standard quality products in the market, which leaves consumers with a bitter after-taste about the product category itself; this affects makers of high quality products adversely.

However, we update customers on the latest technologies and trends, and then present a solution based on these, taking their requirements into account.

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EB:The consumer electronics market is booming in India, but we are somehow not being able to overtake China and other Southeast Asian countries. What do you think are the reasons for this and what can we do to change things?
The love for consumer electronics in India can be seen in the doubling of imports in five years. And it’s not too far in the future that the Indian market will become bigger than China’s. Hence, India will be in a better position to create the infrastructure in the region that China is currently offering. This competition is good for the region and is beneficial. India’s huge market, low costs, and positive noises from the government make it unavoidable for any manufacturer looking to produce bulk commodity products. We’re too large a country and too hungry for electronics, and the only solution is to create as much value as possible on our own shores.

EB:What is the main reason behind founding Astrum?
With a widespread presence in over 40 countries across the globe, Astrum has redefined ‘new technology’ in the Indian market. Astrum aims to leverage its strengths and experiences from the global market and replicate the same in India. Therefore, we are focusing on getting a strong foothold by opening Astrum R&D centres with strict quality assurance practices. Staying at the cutting-edge of technology has allowed the brand to do what we love best—using technology in countless ways to ease people’s lives. Our vision is to think smart and challenge traditional norms by creating high quality products that are innovative and serve the purpose of enhancing the way people live. Astrum aims to make people ‘Experience the difference’.

Our products, which blend new age technology with optimum price points, have struck the right chord with the consumers in the Indian market. Astrum has been successful in dispelling the myth that there needed to be a trade-off between innovation, quality and cost. Our wide product portfolio has seen a positive response amongst consumers and acceptance from the Indian markets. We are quite optimistic about our ventures and are expecting a steady growth for our products. Today, Astrum has earned its place amongst the leading brands for accessories in India. Astrum is more than just a company name – it’s a brand that promises an experience to people.

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