Garmin’s India focus: More products and stores as it aims to make it the top three markets in Asia – Times of India
In February, the company celebrated the 20th anniversary of its Forerunner series in Taiwan. At this event, we at The Times of India got the opportunity to speak with the Assistant General Manager of Garmin Asia, Scoppen Lin. This is what he had to say about the company’s legacy and its upcoming products.
Tell us about Garmin’s legacy in the smart wearable industry, both globally and in India
“I think Garmin is already taking the leading position and we still have some strong competitors, especially from the smartphone brands. But I think we are still positioning ourselves for a different target audience. For Garmin actually, we end with the people who enjoy an active lifestyle and then the active lifestyle not only talking about the sport but also the ones who care about their health mostly. So we include health technology in our watch. So if you’re talking about the market share, actually we can see significant growth. From the third party’s researches we still have a lot of insight into the products that are going to launch. Not like other competitors they might only have one or two products. So I believe by diversifying the product strategy and catering to the different sports such as we have a golfer watch we can expand our business. In addition to the smartwatch market, we also have an aviation and marine market. This makes us so different from other brands that we can leverage the technology from the field of aviation and marine into our smartwatch. We also maintain the Marino Aviation product quality to our consumer (product) quality. I think we offer really high quality to all of our products.”
Which is Garmin’s biggest market globally? Where does India stand?
“Globally, if you talking about a single country, I think America is our biggest one. But if you consider the whole region, I would say the European unit is getting more and more important and may already become the number one. If you consider the whole market, Europe is getting bigger, even bigger than America. And if you consider the growth rate or growth trend, definitely Asia is the strongest. India is important and has very high potential. We are trying to launch more and more products to the Indian market and expand. India can grow liberty-wise, and may still not be the number one, but growth rate-wise, I believe India can be number one very soon. We are aiming to make the Indian market become the top three markets in five years. We have confidence that it is such a big market. You will see we are going to open more and more brand stores in India and we are also building our strong online network with Amazon or even our other third-party online partners to build our sales and marketing network We are also building running clubs, the GRC (Garmin Running Club). We’re trying to do a lot of things to make India grow as the biggest market for us. With sports and other qualities, Garmin is mainly targeting sports enthusiasts and runners and different types of sports.”
Competitions are making the UI and software of smartwatches even more user-friendly. What are the software and UI developments that Garmin is thinking about bringing in?
“We’re trying to improve. And especially this time you can see our new Forerunner watch, No matter the display brightness or the UI, response time is much improved. Because we use the most advanced semiconductor and the best technology in our watch as well. Regarding UI, I believe currently our UI is one of the best in the industry. This is not the end, we still have some programs to continuously improve. Regarding new features, I think we have a lot of plans on our roadmap. Technology-wise we are going to launch some new health-related features that would be very exciting. And for training, of course, we are still trying to help no matter runners or divers or golfers to improve their performance through our technology. I would say that you don’t need to worry about Garmin’s technology or products because every year we need to launch more than 20 or 30 different products. We have a very big engineering team and our engineer spends take about 19% of our total revenue. So this is what we are good at. Last year we brought this Morning Report feature. So we keep improvising on new features for the betterment of the user experience and their health also. And we also want to add more lifestyle-related features such as we already introduced the music and for some markets, we also introduced the payment or transit copy feature. And we hope to introduce them to some other markets such as India.”
How do you see the smartwatch market evolving, what according to you will be the biggest feature of the smartwatch category in the year 2023?
“Now if you are talking about a runner, the biggest upgrade will be our display and appearance. And if you are talking about our software, I will say we have also added a lot of training features such as our training readiness or the morning report. we also suggest to runners how many kilometres or how many minutes you need to run, you need to track for this day. So I think this is kind of an instant coach just on your wrist who can always remind you to do something. Therefore improve your performance and health.”
The last year has seen companies like Apple and Samsung enter the rugged smartphone segment, how do you see their entry impacting the market?
“We will make the watches smarter with better UI and I would say, the community is also focused on this rugged watch market. It is also very healthy for this market and very good for Garmin as well. For a very long time, Garmin has been very lonely (the only brand) in the high-end rugged watch market. So, after our competitor also launched that kind of watch we also realised the market size and the marketing has also been enlarged a lot so we also can grow. It’s all a kind of awareness increasing and that is also a good thing for us.”
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Later, during a factory visit, Garmin also showed how they do the quality test and how these tests are making its watches more rugged. Lin also added that the company do a lot of testing on each product which is also a costly procedure. “I believe no one else can deal with their own product as Garmin,” he noted.
Garmin called upon the brands’ announcement of the ECG feature and it is preparing to bring the feature to India as soon as possible. The company also mentioned that Garmin watches are built with a military standard of 10-one zero so that they can face hard situations easily.