Noise to double local mfg, headcount

Nexxbase Marketing Pvt. Ltd, the maker of the Noise brand of smartwatches and headphones, aims to expand local manufacturing in India for wearable products by partnering with 4-5 equipment makers, including homegrown Optiemus Electronics and Taiwan’s Foxconn.

The company started local manufacturing with Optiemus in August and makes 25% of its products locally, said Amit Khatri, co-founder of Noise.

The share of locally manufactured products would be 50-60% by the end of this year, Khatri said. “The kind of size and scale we have, we need to work with multiple partners,” he said. Noise shipped approximately 1.4 million wearables, including watches and headphones, in the quarter ended 31 March, according to a May report by market researcher International Data Corporation (IDC).

“We are very aggressive about expanding manufacturing in India. The expansion of local manufacturing will enable us to generate employment, bring in efficiencies of scale and price and make that available to our customers,” Khatri said.

The company is looking at a phased manufacturing approach to ramp up its local manufacturing base.

Khatri said that surface mount technology (SMT), through which electrical parts are mounted on a printed circuit board, will start first and other components will follow.

Khatri also said that the company will double its headcount in India by next year. It plans to expand its teams from around 275 right now, to more than 500 next year.

Last month, the company launched a tech incubator called Noise Labs to focus on making innovative products. It wants to expand to other markets in a year or so, Khatri informed.

“We want to grow less, grow deeper in what we do. We are working on 3-4 lineups of strong products this year,” Khatri said.

Around one third of Noise’s business comes from tier-2 and -3 cities, and the company is planning to “expand and cover” more of that market.

“Our channel will always be online first. Currently, the share for online to offline is 80:20. However, offline has also been growing for us,” said Khatri.

The company wants to use an omnichannel strategy, so customers can experience its products in stores and buy online or vice versa.

Noise is one of the fastest-growing wearable brands in India, according to a report by IDC. Noise’s wearable shipments grew 150% in the March quarter from a year earlier. The company also brought down the average selling price (ASP) of its watches by 31% and earwear by 37% as compared to the same quarter last year, the IDC report showed. In the March quarter, Noise came in second with a 10.9% market share in wearable shipments after BoAT, which accounted for 22.9%.

The growth in demand for wearables, especially after the pandemic, has also boosted the company’s bottom line. Khatri said Noise doubled revenue to 800 crore last year.

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