Offering innovative products at an affordable price has led to major success. – pTron Founder & CEO Ameen Khawaja.
CXOToday has engaged in an exclusive interview with Ameen Khawaja, Founder and CEO, pTron.
- pTron being one of the few Indian brands competing with the global players in the wearable devices. Can you please share insights on the journey which lead to this success?
As a leading brand, we introduce unique and next-generation products. Our R&D team tracks ever-changing market dynamics and maps them against consumer preferences, which are the foundation for building products or even software to support hardware.
Considering India is a price-sensitive market, while we introduce a series of upcoming products on a timely basis, we also ensure they are rightly priced to appeal to our customers. Our ability to cater to Indian consumers’ demands and desires sets pTron apart from its competitors.
Despite stiff competition in the audio wear sector, we have gained significant market share and are ranked among the top three. Our success results from our team’s dedicated work and dedication, and we intend to continue to innovate and grow in the coming years.
- How did “Made in India” mantra drive the growth path for pTron? What were the major considerations to look at local manufacturing?
‘Made in India’ was a well-thought-out strategy to help the brand in the long run. We appreciate the Indian government’s subsidies and plans to support local manufacturing. This became a launch pad for us to seriously consider establishing a manufacturing plant in Kurnool.
Local production provides numerous direct and indirect benefits. Low labor costs, local raw material procurement, and even transportation costs will dramatically reduce our expenses. This will enable us to pass on cost benefits to our end users. We are the first company to set up a manufacturing plant in India to produce wearable gadgets and audio products. This reaffirms our commitment to launching more exciting products in the future and building consumer trust.
Furthermore, local production has aided pTron’s speedier time-to-market by eliminating delays associated with importing products. This has enabled us to respond swiftly to changing market demands and trends, launch enhanced updated products more quickly, and stay ahead of the competition in the fast-paced audio/wearable device sector.
- You have been associated with the company since the inception of the pTron brand. What were the major challenges faced and how did you overcome especially considering the space witnessing intense competition from local and global players?
pTron, a subsidiary of Palred Electronics Private Limited, began in 1999 as the Four Soft business at Cyber Towers. From humble beginnings at Cyber Towers to the dizzying heights of international success, the journey of today’s pTron was not easy. Clearly, we paved the way for the real Make-in-India movement by meeting international standards and certifications.
However, following the sale of the company to a UK-based group in 2013, management has decided to pursue another road and a new challenge. As a result, Palred Technologies entered the e-commerce market with LatestOne, a platform that sold PC peripherals and digital device accessories. Now, it’s pTron that is set to make its mark.
pTron places a strong emphasis on R&D to keep up with the growing demands of consumers in the electronics industry. This has kept us at the forefront of our competitors. Through continuous innovation, market research, collaboration with technology partners, product testing and quality assurance, agile product development, flexibility and adaptability, and a future-focused approach, pTron aims to deliver innovative and high-quality products that meet consumers’ ever-changing needs.
- Being one of the top brands in the value-based category, how do you ensure the product meets all three aspects – quality, technology and also reasonable price
Indeed, it’s very challenging to exist in this space where you need to ensure your product meets the right quality standards and is priced appropriately. In the first place, we constantly strive to stay updated with the latest technological advancements and trends in order to provide unique features, performance, and functionality that bring value to our consumers.
In order to ensure stringent quality assurance, we conduct extensive testing and inspection of our products at various stages of production. To ensure that our goods meet or exceed expectations, we also use high-quality materials and adhere to strict quality standards
Lastly, we optimize our product design, manufacturing processes, and supply chain management through value engineering techniques. This is to achieve cost efficiencies without compromising quality or technology. This allows us to offer products at a reasonable price while maintaining high standards of quality and technology.
- Smartwatches is growing category. Can you please share your thoughts on recent consumer trends?
Smartwatches have evolved into lifestyle products. We are witnessing tremendous demand for this product across markets. This is also evident from the number of brands that are offering numerous variants within the category.
Factors such as an increase in demand for wireless fitness and sports devices, the surge in health awareness among users, and the rise in technological advancements in smartwatches are driving the smartwatch market size to a certain extent. Staying attuned to these trends can help smartwatch manufacturers and brands cater to consumer demands.
While we succeeded in launching 9 smartwatches in the market and received a remarkable response from our customers, we are planning to introduce a path-breaking product in the near future which will stand out in the category and definitely excite our customers.
- How successful has pTron been in the True Wireless Stereo (TWS) category?
We have earned a leadership position in the TWS category, and we were the first brand to introduce the product at Rs. 899/- in 2020, which remains unrivalled in the market to this day. We are constantly innovating and adding new features to our TWS products to stay ahead of the competition and our quarter-by-quarter sales substantiate our growth.
While we have faced strong competition and some hurdles in product development, we are focused on delivering high-quality TWS earbuds that meet our customers’ needs. We are optimistic about the future and believe that with continued innovation and strategic partnerships, we can achieve significant success in the TWS category.
Accordingly to Counterpoint Research, while India’s TWS market shipments registered 85% year-over-year growth in 2022, we have a significant market share, and our pie accounts for over 4.50 million units of TWS buds to date.
- What is your market penetration strategy? How do you focus serving the Tier-II markets?
Every year, India imports $26.39 billion worth of electrical and electronic equipment. But not for long, as Hyderabad-based pTron has a different plan, and it’s working for good. We believe it’s all in the approach as we already have a wide online presence and over 40 offline distributors covering almost all Tier I and II cities with over 250 service centers. We entered the market in 2014 and have made our presence felt since then; now, our focus is on making it all Indian. With a growing network of distributors, pTron expanded its reach to international markets, including the United States, Hong Kong, Israel, and Indonesia.
As the market evolved, we have made a conscious decision of moving into offline distribution and retaining channels, beyond our partnerships with e-commerce giants to sell our products. Our dual sales strategy really worked in our favor and our commitment to customer satisfaction catapulted us to the forefront of the IT supply chain management market, rivaling even the most established multinational brands.