The Quantified Self movement has gained a huge momentum in recent times. More and more people want to hop aboard the self tracking train, and are therefore investing in hardware and software (in the form of applications) which help them track vital statistics and parameters regarding their lifestyles. This is also evident from the large number of hardware and app based startups that are coming up.
In India, the QS movement is still in its early stages. Although wearables and tracking hardware are making their presence felt, Quantified Self as a term is still not very popular. However, I believe that will change soon in the coming time.
And that forms the crux of this article: The Indian Quantified Self Market – Key trends, major players and forecasts.
THE HARDWARE SIDE: WEARABLES
Wearables are becoming quite popular in India. Smartwatches such as the Moto 360, LG’s G Watch series, the Gear line from Samsung and the recently launched (in India) Apple Watch are quite the range among tech fanatics who want to explore the concept of a computing device on the wrist.
However, more than mere smartwatches, we’re seeing an emerging market for wearables in the form of smart bands and fitness trackers. Inexpensive trackers which boast of quite a few features are becoming very popular in the Indian tech market, and people are inclined to go for these cheap trackers which don’t burn a hole in their pocket and at the same time offer value for money in terms of specifications.
Talk about wearables in India, and the first term which will come up is the Mi Band. The uber cheap fitness tracker from Xiaomi was launched in the country at a time when people were still getting used to the concept of smartwatches, but were shying away owing to the considerably expensive products on offer. Xiaomi gave to the Indians a nifty wearable which tracks sleep and fitness with a decent level of accuracy.
All factors considered, this product set the ball rolling for cheap wearables in the country. The growth of the Mi Band in terms of sales is staggering, and it actually took the top berth with the major big players within a year’s span since its launch, which is a commendable feat indeed.
While the above graph talks about how quickly wearables grew for the company, here’s another statistic showing just how well it compares with the other fitness tracker brands out there. The company claims that in India, the company managed to sell a staggering 6 million units between May and June 2015.
Somewhat inspired from Mi, and seeing the need of dedicated inexpensive fitness trackers in the country, Micromax subsidiary Yu followed suit, launching their YuFit band. The device in itself was in most ways similar to the Mi Band, and at the same price offered an additional feature in the form of a display as well.
But an additional device was the HealthYu – a portable monitoring device which could be paired with your smartphone to measure (to a certain level of accuracy) the vital parameters such as ECG, blood pressure, respiration rate, heart rate, skin temperature and blood oxygen levels.
FITBIT AND JAWBONE
A market was emerging for these fitness trackers, and now there was a need for reputed ecosystems supporting the device. Enter Fitbit and Jawbone, two biggies in the field of wearables, who introduced their devices in the country only recently.
Besides the above major players, there are quite a few smaller brands as well. Gionee is one such brand, which will launch its smartwatch in the country soon. Again, with initiatives such as Make in India, the manufacturing of the smartwatch will be done in India itself, which will reduce the costs incurred in importing the devices from abroad. This will in turn ensure low cost trackers, which will encourage more people to try out Lifelogging!
Apple just launched the Apple Watch in India, it is still very high range for the Indian market. (Costs more than an iPhone 5S here) There still seem to be takers for the Apple Watch since the lower priced models are sold out on e-commerce sites. The Apple Watch is creating some awareness- definitely will help educating the Indian market on wearables.
THE SOFTWARE SIDE: APPLICATIONS
As most devices involved in the Quantified Self movement, simply recording the parameter via sensors isn’t enough; the data must be processed and presented to the user in a visually appealing and informative manner, and the data must be synced to the cloud as well.
Mi has its own Mi Fit application in this regard. It can sync with the Google Fit data and can show graphs of your sleep and fitness patterns, which is quite nice. However, Micromax had the upper hand in the software field, since it invested in a Bengaluru based digital fitness application startup – HealthifyMe – which provided diet plans and consultation with professionals.
AN ECOSYSTEM IN QS
GOQii is an interesting Indian startup involved in the QS sector in India. It has its own wrist bands, and a specialised ecosystem wherein GOQii users can interact personally with coaches and trainers who give them proper guidance and advice regarding the data that the user generates. In a way, this is a holistic environment which follows the rules of the true blue QS Movement – Record, Analyse, Refer and Improve.
ANALYSIS: GROWTH FACTORS FOR QS IN INDIA
The Quantified Self movement is on the road to bigger and better things in India, and this can be attributed to some major factors:
1. Increasingly hectic lifestyles of people in urban cities.
2. Increasing health consciousness.
3. Growth of tracking wearables, owing to cheaper hardware and crowdfunding.
4. Tracking devices becoming cheaper, owing to campaigns such as Make In India – which promote manufacturers to produce devices and hardware within the country itself.
All in all, we are looking forward to the Quantified Self movement in India. Self tracking in the country is a concept that will be realised in the near future, and this will usher in areas such as Lifelogging too!