boAt Lifestyle: The inside story of plugging into Nirvana

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There’s probably a common elixir for every start up story- a strong sense of purpose. The urge to find a solution to a problem and implementing it effectively. It wasn’t any different for Aman Gupta from Gurugram joined hands with another passionate audiophile Sameer Mehta and came up with the idea of boAt.

The plethora of Chinese manufacturers were likely to storm the Indian market. The forecast looked gloomy. So the goal for Gupta was to avoid another low quality product sourced from China ‘without having a clear vision on the design and Intellectual Property’.

The co-founders, Aman Gupta and Sameer Mehra
The Beginning

Having started as a cable manufacturer and in 2016, presently boAt lifestyle stands out as the number one brand for earphones in India and the fifth largest wearable brand in the world. The primary idea behind the company was to come up with affordable, durable, and more importantly fashionable audio products and accessories to millennials and Gen Z. Distorting the traditional images associated with electronic devices, co-founder and CEO Aman Gupta says,

 We have tried to change the consumer mindset. The idea is to not only sell our products as electronics but to make them as lifestyle accessories. We are trying to portray that our products can be a part of your everyday fashion.

This strategy was on display at the Lakmé Fashion Week in Mumbai in 2019 where the ramp walkers sported the boAt products as the only accessories.

It has been only four years since the launch and the company is already a blockbuster with a family of more than 800,000 ‘boAtheads’(as the company terms its customers and brand ambassadors) .

The first sail

From the outset, boAt somewhat played a role similar to the Havells. It pointed out the basic flaw of the mobile charging cable- frequent snapping/damages. The immediate solution boAt came up with was: Cables that don’t break. ‘Switch to indestructible cables’ was the message and the consumers could well identify themselves with it.

It got us into consumer minds, and we took off

Gupta says
boAt cables

Digging deeper into the consumer mindset, boAt started communicating with them in their own language. It launched water-resistant and sweat proof hearable products. Gen Z and millennials immediately resonated with it and the word-of-mouth spread rapidly. The revenues tripled in a year and now the company sells 4 products every minute and adds one ‘boAthead’ to its family every three minutes.

Every brand without a story is meaningless. It’s then just a commodity.

says Sameer Mehta, co-founder, boAt

The number leap

Though the numbers seem promising today, the journey wasn’t a cakewalk for the first two years. Aman and Sameer had started with an initial capital 3 million, infused by the two founders themselves.

boAt made a revenue of INR 25 crore in the first year and rapidly culminated into a lump sum of INR 100 crore by the second year. According to the registrar of companies (roc) , boAt’s revenue grew from Rs 27 crore in the FY2017 to Rs 108 crore in the FY2018. That is more than three times growth year on year. The company hit mammoth figures in the next two years with INR 500 crore of revenue in FY2019, which is five times greater than FY2018 and INR 700 crore of revenue in FY2020, seeing a net growth of 460% in profits.

Talking about FY2021, boAt is already doing more than 15,000 units per day with an annual revenue of INR 700 crore. It has even bagged a $100MM investment in early 2021 which roughly makes their valuation a quarter of a billion dollars.

Focus on Marketing Strategies

India ranks 2nd when it comes to its 700MM+ internet users and 142nd when it comes to GDP.  boAt converted this point to an advantage. They aimed at giving a premium feel to their users at a not so premium price. Besides selling on Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra and Jabong, the consumer electronics company is now retailing at Croma outlets as well.

Christening their users as ‘boAthead’ was another very important card that played as an ace as the users felt a sense of belongingness and the desire to become a ‘boAthead’ grew on a much larger scale gradually.

The buzz took another step forward as the company roped in a battery of endorsers from two of India’s most sought after fields- cricket and Bollywood.

Hardik Pandya, KL Rahul , Shikhar Dhawan, Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant from cricket and Diljit Dosanjh, Kartik Aryan, Neha Kakkar and Kiara Advani from the music industry and Bollywood are some of the ‘boAtheads’. Jacqueline Fernandez also remains one of their endorsers. Speaking about which Aman says,

Jacqueline Fernandez is one of our endorsers. Whenever she does a post for us, it gets millions of likes because she has that wide base of followers across the country. It helps us solve the challenge of creating brand awareness in smaller cities

This step has played a major role in promoting the brand amidst the young India, which remain the primary targets of the company till date.

Some of the celeb ‘boAtheads’

Besides, boAt maintains a healthy content blog, which not only narrates the product utilities for promotion but also provides with a thorough guide to educate the users on which product will suit them the best. Thus the users remain well informed beforehand about the choices they are going to make. This form of marketing has proved to be successful as it has headed to an impressive 150% growth in the #Iamboathead community  as per the last two years.

Three things that have worked for boAt are identifying a huge gap in the market, offering high quality products and aggressive marketing.

Says Jaipal Singh, associate research manager (client devices), IDC India

The dynamic territory

In 2018, Kanwaljit Singh of Fireside Ventures invested 60 million in the company. Singh was impressed with the founders’ ability to white spots, the product quality, and right targeting. These funds were used to make newer products and expanding the customer base.

boAt is one of the strongest brands in our portfolio. We strongly believe that it has all the right mix to scale and become a household brand in the coming years.

Singh says

The present product portfolio of the company includes headphones, earphones, earbuds, fitness bands, speakers, travel chargers and premium cables.

Besides selling on Amazon, Flipkart, Myntra and Jabong, the consumer electronics company is now retailing at Croma outlets as well.

It has also tied up with six IPL teams last year.

The recently launched boAt Rockerz
What the Future Holds

boAt has broken the traditional rules and made it into the big market within a very short span of time adding a unique twist to an already existing niche. Even promising giants like JBL had to cut down their product prices in order to compete in the affordable audio segments. While there is a lot of the country yet unexplored, especially in non-urban areas, boAt Lifestyle plans to expand internationally in a few years. However, the wearable industry isn’t as lucky as it seems. The fight for boAt in the coming years is most likely to come from the Chinese rivals like Xiaomi and Realme, as IDC India reckons.

Aman though is fearless on his part and assures,

boAt’s journey as a lifestyle brand has just started

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