Amit Khatri and Gaurav Khatri, co-founders of Noise started their journey by offering mobile covers and accessories. They were doing in terms of sales and profitability, however, they soon realized that they didn’t really have a brand. During the same time, they witnessed a sudden shift in the mobile accessories market where the average selling price (ASP) of mobile covers and accessories was dropping at an alarming pace. The unorganized market saw several local and small players and the product category was tagged as a commodity rather than a lifestyle need.
So, by the end of 2017, they made the pivot. They wanted to build a brand - one that people would love and swear by, one that made them proud and happy, one that they would advocate. They were starting from scratch in terms of operations, but our learnings were experience-driven. Being in the mobile accessories business, they were aware of the fact that wireless audible products and smartwatches - the entire smartphone-connected ecosystem, were selling like hotcakes. There was a lot of interest in the Indian market but the quality offerings were global and required deep pockets.
“We decided to keep in mind our consumer’s aspirations and decided to build products that were mass aspirational with the right quality and pricing. This enabled us to build an ecosystem of different products that catered to the various needs of our consumers. There was a definite need-gap when it came to creating an India-born global connected lifestyle brand. There has been no stopping us since then,” stated Amit Khatri.
The brand Noise is known for its innovative products in the wearable and hearable space. Within three years of its pivot, it took the lead in market share in the smartwatch segment in 2020 and then maintained it for more than eight quarters.
“In the TWS segment as well, we took the second spot in the India market during Oct-Dec’21 and were recognized as the fastest growing brand in that quarter by IDC. Today, we have expanded our presence to over 8,000 offline outlets and have witnessed close to 17X growth in the last 30 months. Globally, we’re among the Top 9 smartwatch brands and are ranked 3rd in the APAC region in terms of shipment,” he asserted.
Betting Big on D2C
As Noise started its journey as a D2C brand, so 20 percent of its business comes directly from its own website. However, the brand is also observing growth in its offline business including general trade, modern trade, and LFAs. Last year, offline business contributed 3 percent of the overall business, and this year, the brand is expecting 20 percent of business to come from offline.
“We always wanted to be close to the consumer. We always wanted to stay connected to them and D2C was the easiest and the best way to approach them because when you work with distribution or offline, you are somehow disconnected to the consumer,” he asserted.
However, going ahead, the brand will be focusing on both the verticals – online and offline.
As a brand, Noise has always focused on introducing some uniqueness in its marketing strategies. The brand bets big on celebrities as they are the ones who influence the millennials and Gen-Z.
“We choose the celebrities very wisely being an ROI-driven organization. I believe that the celebrity should resonate with the brand ethos. For example, we have Tapsee and Rishabh Pant and both have gone through the hard times in their lives. So, we are looking for somebody who is a noisemaker in himself/ herself,” he explained.
Going ahead, the brand is planning to spend maximum on online marketing as the average age of Indian consumers is 27 years and they are spending most of their time on digital and social mediums. And the best way to tap them is by targeting the spending where they are present.
Matching Changing Consumer Expectations
The brand has been driving its maximum efforts to match consumer expectations. Post-Covid, as consumers have become more health-conscious, Noise is planning to introduce products that are more focused on health.
“We cater to two different types of consumers - there are consumers who are lifestyle-centric, who want products, which are more design appealing first and second, a set of consumers who are health-centric,” he stated.
“As a brand, we are present in hearable and wearable space. We feel that we are going to focus on these two spaces for a year or so before moving to adjacent categories,” he further added.
Recently, the brand has launched smart eyewear with a host of features like Motion Estimation, Motion Compensation (MEMS) Mic for calling, magnetic Charging, and hands-free voice control, to offer style, comfort, and a unique audio experience.
It includes a revolutionary guided audio design to ensure that the music flows into the consumer’s ears. Furthermore, it blocks out the loud noise of the surroundings, allowing consumers to savor a fully immersive acoustic experience. The device offers over 9 hours of playtime on a single charge. It also has the most recent Bluetooth 5.1 connectivity, ensuring that the eyewear connects to the consumer’s phone as soon as the temples are opened, eliminating the need to unlock the phone and offering excellent sound quality up to 10 meters away from the smartphone. It can deliver 120 minutes of playtime on a 15-minute charge.
The smart eyewear also features multi-functional touch controls that enable users to accept and reject calls, manage music, and activate the voice assistant. It is a complete package with UVA/B 99 percent protection against sun rays in sunglasses lenses and changeable blue light filtering transparent lenses for reducing eye strain and providing clear vision when using laptops, etc.
“Keeping an eye on the future, we have designed our smart eyewear to give the purest tech experience to anyone looking for the best-in-class audio experience. We’ve packed it with all the essential features, and this is the next step in giving our users a completely seamless connected experience,” Amit said.
Noise was founded with the mission to democratize a connected lifestyle for Indians. With consumer centricity at its core, the brand has constantly come up with industry-leading and path-breaking innovations in audio, wearable tech, and connected tech. With 9 industry-first innovations to its credit, the brand forges its way into the future with a heightened sense of co-creation and innovation in products. Noise makes the latest personal technology accessories available and affordable to young Indian consumers.
“We are a technology-first organization and we're betting big there. We have been incorporating technologies AI, ML, and big data into our products to offer an immersive experience to consumers,” he explained.
As the wearable and the hearable market is set to grow in the upcoming quarters, Noise aims to rake in Rs 850 crore net revenue in FY22.
“From Rs 42 crore in FY19, the revenue from operations jumped to Rs 156 crore in FY20 and closed FY21 at Rs 373 crore. We lead the market in India with a 27 percent share and over 278 percent YoY growth in the smartwatch category,” he stated.
“We have grown 4X in the last three years and as a brand, we are doubling ourselves year on year. As a brand, we are very clear that we want to build an organization which can sustain itself for a decade,” he further added.
The brand plans to continue to focus on product and innovation to maintain its leadership position.
“At present, beyond tier-I cities, 60 percent of the revenue of the brand comes from tier-II and tier-III cities. In tier-I, we all are exposed to enough of product availability, but tier-II customers are able to pay well as they have higher spending power and we see growth coming from these markets,” he asserted.
“As a brand, we want to build a connected lifestyle global brand. We have seen always international brands coming to India, however, we want to build an Indian brand that we can take to the global market. We will be focusing upon Southeast Asian markets because they have a similar demographic and income level,” he further added.
The brand has no plans to enter the international market this year as it believes that the Indian market is yet to explode into the wearable segment.
“So we see ourselves looking to the international market next year,” he said.
Going ahead, the brand is planning to raise capital to fuel its growth plans. As a brand, it doesn’t spend much on branding. So, it would be spending on brand, R&D, innovation, and people.