Solar charge in smartwatches will see exponential growth in the coming years, says Garmin Country Head

Garmin India grew 32% year on year until Q3 2022 due to the Venu series which increased 65% in the wellness segment

Updated - January 26, 2023 10:24 am IST

Published - January 25, 2023 04:49 pm IST

Yeshudas Pillai Garmin’s new Country Head for India shared that focus is to capitalise on India’s immense potential to make it one of the top markets in the South-East Asia.

Yeshudas Pillai Garmin’s new Country Head for India shared that focus is to capitalise on India’s immense potential to make it one of the top markets in the South-East Asia. | Photo Credit: Special Arrangement

Garmin has fan following in India that includes serious fitness enthusiasts to office goers. Their preferences range from accurate measurements to fancy features. The brand has established a deep presence in smartwatch segment competing with Apple, Fitbit, Samsung and other Chinese brands.

The Swiss-based company recently appointed Yeshudas Pillai as its new Country Head for India. In a exclusive interaction with The Hindu, Mr. Pillai spoke about the company’s goals, and opportunities and challenges ahead in this highly price-sensitive market. Edited excerpts:

Garmin markets itself as precision and accurate watch maker with a niche market share in India. Where does Garmin intend to go from here with the change in management?

Yeshudas Pillai: Our focus is to capitalise on India’s immense potential to make it one of the top markets in the South-East Asia region for the brand with continuous double-digit growth in 2023. We aim to expand our retail sales network with plans to open seven Garmin Exclusive Stores by end of 2023 as we move forward, and we will continue to bring our key offerings to the Indian market keeping in mind our users’ expectations and continuous change in demands. In India, we are focusing on fitness, health and wellness, outdoor, golf segments. We see great opportunities in the year ahead across all these segments.

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Do you see the solar-based watch segment to be growing in India despite its expensive price?

YP: This is a premium feature that comes at a cost, hence solar powered watches are slightly on the expensive side. Garmin users have relied on this technology for a long time and the demand for products with solar charging has always been on the rise. With more awareness and people adopting outdoor activities, solar charge feature in smartwatches will see an exponential growth in the coming years.

Venu series has been the driving factor for Garmin India’s sales. What makes it the favourite pick?

YP: We have been witnessing growth in the Indian market; according to Garmin Connect data, Garmin India grew 32% year on year until Q3 2022, primarily due to the Venu series, which increased 65% in the wellness segment.

With people becoming more inclined towards health monitoring and an active lifestyle, the potential of lifestyle and wellness watches like the Venu series, which offers users comprehensive fitness and health features, has grown rapidly.

Can Garmin focus more on AMOLED, touch sensitive smartwatches for Indian market, and simultaneously work on a rather much easy-to-use interface for them?

YP: AMOLED displays have always been an important feature in our offerings. Our products like the Venu Sq 2, Venu 2 Plus, Epix Gen 2 comes with sharp and vibrant viewing angles with AMOLED display.

Garmin provides tailor-made features in its smartwatches as per categorisations. For us, the accuracy of data, long battery life and premium quality of products has always been a focal point of our products. Hence, we won’t compromise to provide these features to our users. Simultaneously, we also want to provide a more bright and clear watch display experience to our consumers.

As far as the UI is concerned, we consistently collect customer feedback on their usage and how we can improve their experience and we will continue enhancing our user experience with timely updates and advancements. With each update, we allow the users to upgrade their health monitoring and safety features to optimize their user experience.

Garmin told us that Apple Watch Ultra created a launchpad for that segment. So how do you plan to leverage it with respect to buying and renewal sentiments for a market like India?

YP: Competition in the premium segment makes it even more interesting for users who want the best product to lead a healthy lifestyle.

We are constantly evolving and working on pushing boundaries with our technology so that we can provide the best product to our users. To support this statement, we shall continue to offer premium smartwatches for users who want the best product in India.

Can India be your next manufacturing hub that can fuel South-Asian markets?

YP: India is one of the key markets for Garmin in Asia and we are analysing the developments closely to take the necessary steps and ensure that our consumers get the best of Garmin products in India.

What would be Garmin’s strategy for 2023 as we gradually move into a post-Covid era?

YP: Fitness and wellness are the most popular segments for Garmin in India. As people become more health-conscious, especially after the impact of Covid-19, demand for smart wearables have seen an increase. We aim to strengthen our brand positioning by highlighting Garmin technology and ecosystem across five segments; aviation, marine, auto, outdoor and fitness. We will recruit more female customers by launching more female centric products and co-op with feminine brands to be closer to the audience.

We also want to extend our presence and availability to more e-commerce platforms to reach more customers, strengthen business in modern or large format retail space.

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