“US companies are coming to India for samples of raw materials as they don’t want to import from China anymore”-Mandeep Arora, MD, Ubon
Covid-19 has impacted the global economy and has fueled anger in world capitals, resulting in anti-Chinese campaigns. The #BoycottChineseProducts, anti-China sentiments, and rethinking trade ties with the country is a blessing in disguise for India. The Atmanirbhar Bharat scheme could give the much-needed fillip to the country’s disrupted business operations by promoting Make in India manufacturing, encourage the substitution of imports of low-technology goods from other countries, particularly China, and encourage local produce at lower prices. In an interaction with WireX, Mandeep Arora, MD, Ubon shares his insights on the current challenges of the accessories Industry in India, how the industry has been affected during the lockdown and the sector’s current situation.
Q: What are the various impediments the accessories industry witnessed in India and globally during the lockdown and what is the current situation in the unlock phase?
A: The prevailing global pandemic has brought everything to a standstill. Production was stopped, Supply chains have been affected, workers are clueless and shelves were empty. Every industry around the world has been affected tremendously due to this prevailing COVID-19 pandemic and electronic accessories industry is not different.
With everything coming back on track with the graded unlocking phases, we have resumed our operations and back on track and manufacturing amazing products for our consumers and following safety guidelines to ensure the utmost safety to our workers.
Q: What are the various steps the Indian government is undertaking to counter the challenges? Are you looking for anything specific from the government?
The Government under its Make in India initiative aims to reform this by encouraging local manufacturing, with incentives etc. With the Government’s support in a phased approach, the sector has gone through a huge transformation.
With the current scenario of #BoycottChineseGoods, the future of Indian consumer electronics and accessories seems very bright. This will give a major push to Made in India Companies which lead India on the path of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
In the future, one can witness India as a hub to develop innovative gadgets and mobile accessories with a high degree of differentiation. The rapid growth in mobile phone usage has created a thriving market demand for mobile accessories globally and it will promote higher business sector growth.
The markets will provide opportunities to those who offer quality and latest technologies, despite challenges. Chinese products with low quality and low prices have invaded the market for a long time. Now quality is the concern for users and UBON’s prime focus is on Quality check & Quality Assurance.
Q: What is the role that Ubon is undertaking to boost the Electronics and Accessories sector under the current scenario?
A: COVID-19 has a substantial impact on the Indian mobile phone market till now, with supply chain disruptions and lower consumer demand. Due to the global shutdown, it initially experienced a decreasing growth curve but due to the work from home policy adoption by many offices, an upward curve in consumer demand is seen. With people working over the face chats and Google meets they required earphones and neckbands which has increased the demand for these products. The coronavirus hasn’t impacted the orders but definitely, a hit on the supply chain is observed.
Post COVID19 will bring new hopes for the consumer electronics sectors as India will become more self-reliant. It is an excellent time for Made in India brands to rise. With the country’s agenda towards becoming Atmanirbhar Bharat, one can witness huge development of R&D facilities across the country. Also, India will now be seen as a dominant player for raw material across the globe.
Also, Post COVID19 one can see huge demand for products over online platforms and also retail stores will start home-delivery. Analyzing the current scenario, our home-delivery team is 24*7 available across pan India delivering products at your doorstep.
Q: What is your current business model and how much it has changed over the years?
A: We are a very old brand with our inception in 1999. We have one of the oldest distribution networks in India with more than 100 distributors PAN India. You name a city, UBON is already there. So, we have a traditional distribution system.
UBON has a robust supply chain network which enables it to distribute its products all over India basis the distribution network level available in every state. To make UBON available everywhere, we are putting our faith in offline channels more than online channels. Interestingly, in our research, we found that people prefer to try and physically feel the product prior to making a buying decision. This consumer behaviour pattern led us to develop products that are eye-catchy and premium as well. We have also collaborated with leading online marketplaces such as Amazon, Snapdeal and Flipkart to reach the masses. UBON has mastered the retail chain network across India and can be found at the majority of the shops and showrooms in the country.
Q: What is your current market share and how much you’re expecting to have in the coming FY?
A: Indian market is so huge and diverse that we still haven’t tapped even 1% of the market. There is a lot to be done and we strive to do that. We are presently expanding our Indian consumer base and enhancing our consumer experience. We are planning to increase output in our Indian factory, to match the growing demand from the customers. We want to leave our mark of UBON on the world map as a leading provider of cutting edge mobile accessories, and we will work hard to achieve that. We are aiming a 40% share in the mobile phone accessories industry in India.
We are one of the few brands in the country that are available pan-India through both offline & online channels which include Amazon, Flipkart etc. We are getting huge demand from both Tier 1 & Tier 2 cities of the country, in addition to metros.
We at UBON, are aiming to reach Rs 1,000 crore in the next three years and want to achieve 20-25 per cent growth every year. 2019 was a great year for us and we worked aggressively at launching products under Rs. 1,000 tag. While initial days of 2020 have been tough for everyone, and so for us, because of the outbreak of coronavirus and nationwide lockdown. But, now things are getting back to normal and we have finally launched our most awaited product which is 40 inches LED screen which has received a tremendous response from the market, right after the launch. We expect the sales to grow 2X this festive season.
Q: What are your current launches and what are the unique products consumers are expecting from Ubon soon?
A: Recently ahead of the festive season, we have launched 2 of our most awaited products i.e. UBON Smart LED TV and Home Theater. We have also come up with our UBON Black Range which consists of cables, power banks, smartwatches, chargers, Bluetooth neckbands, earphones etc. The major USP of our product is that we at UBON follows a no-compromise policy and uses the best and latest technology to serve better with the highest quality products. Apart from this, we are working on a minimum profit plan as we are constantly working for consumer satisfaction rather than focusing on revenue generation. We have rigorous checking measures at our factory and corporate office. All our products undergo thorough and extensive checking procedures and measures. We at UBON believe that Quality check & Quality Assurance together only can make a perfect product for the consumer. Along with it, our products are proudly “Made-In-India “and fuel the mission of Atmanirbhar Bharat.
Q: Currently, how many R&D centres and manufacturing plants you have in India? Do you have any plans to expand them?
As of now, we have got one factory based in Ashok Vihar with the work strength of 300 people manufacturing UBON products and one in Noida which manufactures cables. Yes, we are planning to expand our manufacturing plants in the near future.
Q: What is Ubon’s biggest differentiating aspect that helps you stay ahead of the competition curve?
UBON follows a no-compromise policy and uses the best and latest technology to serve better with the highest quality products. Apart from this, we are working on a minimum profit plan as we are constantly working for consumer satisfaction rather than focusing on revenue generation. We have rigorous checking measures at our factory and corporate office. All our products undergo thorough and extensive checking procedures and measures. We at UBON believe that Quality check & Quality Assurance together only can make a perfect product for the consumer. UBON is the first company in India to launch Solar Power Banks, Wireless Power Banks & wireless charging pads.
AT UBON, After Sales Service is the most important benefit which we offer to our consumers. Speaking on the same, I should mention, all UBON products are covered under 1-year UBON Black Warranty. We have more than 650+ service centres all over India to cater to every need of the consumer.
Q: Kindly describe your roadmap and what’s in store for you in the coming year?
A: This industry is at a nascent stage right now. But it is going to be huge in the coming years. A lot of entrepreneurs are entering this space because it has so much to offer. Despite our strong and steady consumer base, we believe that we have been able to utilise our one per cent of our potential and that we have a long way to go. So, we are planning to diversify and expand. For instance, considering the hectic lifestyle of today’s generation, we are betting immensely big on innovative products which can help people stay fit. We’re working immensely on designing and development of smartwatches, fitness trackers, and virtual reality and augmented reality headsets.
Also, the future holds a lot of business potential for those who provide the right mix of the latest technology, features at the right price. I believe that modern-day technologies like the Internet of Things (IoT), Artificial Intelligence (AI) & Machine Learning (ML) are indeed going to be the next big things in the industry. We are planning to widen our portfolio in the speaker and headphone category by developing Voice & Internet enabled speakers and headphones. Our team at UBON audio labs is constantly working and researching ways to provide the best experience to our consumers.