Innovation and consumer preference is key to revitalizing the consumer tech ecosystem

Innovation and consumer preference is key to revitalizing the consumer tech ecosystem

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  • 2022-03-22
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Innovation and consumer preference is key to revitalizing the consumer tech ecosystem

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  • Time of issue:2022-03-22 18:05
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Times of India | Published 11 Mar 2022

The consumer technology industry has grown leaps and bounds in the last decade, especially in two years. The sector has and continues to dramatically shape how society, businesses, and each one of us uses and perceives technology. The post lockdown era changed consumer expectations significantly and evolved how we interact with tech devices, especially smart wearables.

The industry has given due credit to the Covid-19 pandemic for faster adoption of smart wearables, but the real question is how long can the consumer tech industry bank on it for growth? According to a survey conducted by Deloitte in 2021, the pandemic reinforced the usage of consumer electronic products, including smartphones, wearables, TVs, laptops, gaming consoles, etc. This drives consumers towards a digital lifestyle and seamless demand concerning personalized products and services.

Remote and hybrid working has enhanced the dependence on technology manifold, driving the demand for intelligent entertainment wearables significantly and has effectively transformed the consumer tech ecosystem. Perhaps more important is that this trend is unlikely to change even as people get back to offices and classrooms. The use of smart wearables is here to stay as it has fundamentally altered how we communicate with each other and entertain ourselves. The industry has played an essential role in stabilizing the Indian economy and is helping retrace its path to its emergence as a USD5 trillion economy. Just to put this in context, industry body, CEAMA has predicted that the Indian appliances and consumer electronics market is expected to grow more than double in the next five to six years and reach up to Rs 200,000 crores from its current R. 75,000 crores, helped by the growth of the economy and domestic market.

However, to revitalize the current ecosystem, consumer tech brands operating in India need to understand changing market dynamics, adapt to the advanced competitive landscape, and gain insights into consumers’ preferences. An Ernst and Young global limited (EY) study suggests focusing more on the consumer’s need to withstand future disruptions. Understanding customer preference can help the consumer tech industry innovate faster by speeding up the product development cycle and introducing advanced technologies like 5G, ML, AI, and IoT.

The opportunity lies in harnessing customer feedback and creating human-centered designs that further optimize the customer experience. Nobody could have guessed a decade ago that millions of people would wear a watch that not only indicates the time but also reads messages, plays music, takes calls, keeps track of real-time oxygen levels, calories, and what not!

Today, wearable technology has gone from non-existent to ubiquitous in just a few years. You can check whether your grandmother, who resides in a different city or country, did her meditation for the day or not and also monitor their exercise data. You can keep a tap of the blood oxygen levels of your kid, who has gone to school. Features such as bass boost+ algorithm and game mode in the earphones are a customized need for the Indian bass lovers and increasing gaming needs, respectively. In smartwatches, 600nits of high brightness with brightness adjustments is a design that keeps in mind India’s extreme weather & lighting conditions. Brands are also developing more sports modes to fulfill the increasing fitness regimes and extreme sports that Indian consumers pursue.

The segment is still in its infancy, and with new brands entering the market, the competition is cut-throat. The focus on human-centered design has emerged as a critical differentiator between the numerous consumer technology brands. Nowadays, people have multiple options available to pick and choose from. Besides the unique offerings from different brands, the most significant difference between them lies in what they stand for and the personality that it carries. The whole idea is to provide more suitable and trustworthy options to our consumers and let them choose the best that suits their lifestyle, from among the options.

The consumer tech ecosystem must meet more than just adoption criteria to change customer behavior. The degree to which these technologies have a long-term impact on their users’ health and happiness determines their success. Today, devices that do not help users make positive changes are eventually abandoned. Devices with features that aid the user in changing their habits encourage long-term behavior modification. One of the other factors that are affecting purchasing behavior is style.

Today, people are conscious of the design of their devices and how they relate to their personalities.

Natural Light Design, unique Power Hive Design, and trendy color options, are some examples in earphones, big displays, 150+ watch faces, personalization options, etc. are some examples that take care of the consumer’s fashion quotient. The industry must keep assessing the factors that influence adoption. The comprehensive assessment of customer behavior can be attained by investing heavily in R&D and listening to exactly what customers want.

With the right talent, companies can innovate and even create trends that do not exist. As they say, “Don’t wait for the right opportunity: create it.” Even globalization is at its peak, and thanks to government initiatives, entrepreneurs and startups have the best time to realize their dream. It is the right time to take up significant initiatives, design, and development in India, all aligned with the government’s Make in India initiative. If the industry can solve this puzzle of making the best of everything, the sky’s the limit. We must also explore global capabilities to fulfill India’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat. The industry must keep hiring talent that brings new perspectives, and we should go beyond geographical limits for it. Anyway, the pandemic has taught us that output has to be the focus rather than fulfilling the number of hours sitting in an office, and we must utilize this realization to the best.

Announced in the 2022 Union Budget, the exemption on custom duties on electronic manufacturing, including wearable, smartphone, camera, etc. is a welcome step towards promoting local manufacturing and sourcing of components that will aid this evolution even further, driving a higher uptake in small-town India where purchasing capacities are limited.

The 4th industrial revolution will rapidly hasten India’s transformation into a digitally developed country. It is at the cusp of a digital revolution that IoT will power as it creates a network of billions of people around the world through the internet. The wheel is supported by increased internet penetration, rapidly reducing the digital divide. New-age consumer tech companies are revitalizing business strategies to accelerate the change in the market by making it possible for faster adoption of innovative technologies by democratizing technology, especially the hardware, making it affordable and accessible for all.

There is a need for the consumer tech industry to revive its communication strategies to drive stronger customer pull. To lead the way in this highly dynamic industry, it is imperative to empower customers by providing them maximum end-user gratification. This is possible only when the products and devices are packed with innovation, incorporate great design, are not overpriced are backed by excellent after-sales service. That may sound simple, but this is something very few brands get right, and the ones that do, rule the customer’s heart. I want to close by saying that a brand’s offering shapes the choices and lifestyle of the consumer, and every innovation will redefine the Indian consumer technology ecosystem.

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