Audio Brand boAt Cancels Sale To Save Inventory Amid Coronavirus Outbreak

Cofounder Aman Gupta said it plans to manufacture more products in India
At the moment, most of its headphones are made by contract manufacturers in China
The brand claims to have sold 8K to 10K headphones daily in 2019

Not just Apple and Tesla, popular Indian consumer electronics brand boAt is also suffering from the impact of the manufacturing shutdown in China due to coronavirus and the COVID-19 disease. The startup’s cofounder Aman Gupta said production of new and existing products and availability is likely to be hampered. Gupta added that boAt was planning a sale but had to cancel it in order to hold on its inventory for the next month.

In an interview , Gupta highlighted that almost 99% of the headphones sold in India, including the ones priced above INR 500, are made outside the country. China is one of the biggest markets for the manufacturing and production of boAt headphones. He noted that if the coronavirus outbreak continues longer, it will lead to a production and product development lag. The company procures its products through contract manufacturers based in India and China.

“We have got products in buffer till 15 March. If the situation doesn’t improve, we will consider getting them by air,” Gupta added.

The company is planning to start manufacturing its product line in India, especially due to the difficulties faced in the ongoing US-China trade war and now the coronavirus outbreak. The company produces its chargers and cables in India already.

boAt Targets INR 500 Cr In 2021
Founded in 2016 by Gupta and Sameer Mehta, boAt is a consumer technology brand that manufactures electronics products such as earphones, headphones, speakers, soundbars, travel chargers, and premium rugged cables.

The company followed an omnichannel distribution with its products listed on ecommerce websites such as Amazon, Flipkart and more, as well as through offline retail chains like Croma Retail, Vijay Sales, Poorvika Mobiles, etc.

The company claims to have sold over 8K to 10K units every day in 2019 and hopes to sell over 10K units daily this year. Gupta added that boAt registered gross sales worth INR 100 Cr in the financial year 2018 and plans to achieve INR 500 Cr in 2021. He noted that the company has got a 30% repeat rate.

“Earlier we used to get headphones free with the mobile. Today’s generation owns many pairs of headphones for communication, travel, movies and audio playback. With the screen getting more personal, there is a huge demand for personal devices. The related accessory market including that of headphones is also growing.”

He added that the average selling price (ASP) of boAt products in 2018 was INR 700, whereas this year it has risen to INR 1,100. “We are somewhere between cheap and premium,” the cofounder added.

In July 2019, boAt raised INR 16 Cr (about $2 Mn) in debt funding from venture lending firm InnoVen Capital and $2.9 Mn in venture debt from Sachin Bansal’s BAC Acquisitions. Prior to that, the company had raised $872K (INR 6 Cr) from Fireside Ventures in May 2018.

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