Abid Hussain Barlaskar

“We are building Fastrack as a 'fashtech' brand”: Ajay Maurya, head of marketing

After finding firm footing in the smartband segment, Fastrack has now entered the wearable audio market with wireless earbuds, neckbands and headphones.

Fastrack, a brand that was built on the tenets of timekeeping and fashion for the youth, is busy integrating health and ‘tech’ into its proposition. The journey started in 2017, when the brand launched Reflex, its first fitness smartband, in India.

The launch happened alongside the inclusion of fitness wearables by Fastrack’s mother brand Titan. Titan had launched its Juxt line of smartwatches in 2016.

The smartband segment is dominated by Xiaomi, which is followed by brands like realme and Fastrack. As per the latest IDC report, the segment witnessed a decline in 2020 (year-on-year) due to the growth in the smartwatch sub-segment.

“We are building Fastrack as a 'fashtech' brand”: Ajay Maurya, head of marketing

However, the growing popularity of smart wearables over the years has seen an influx of multiple players. Almost all the top smartphone brands have their smartband extensions. Apart from these, there are several other newer and smaller players.

The major proposition for the segment has been ‘tracking fitness and health’ via data collected by the device. People who are interested in staying fit are the target audience (TG).

Fastrack’s latest campaign for its Reflex 3.0 has chosen the fashion route to stand out. The ad film, which is crafted by Lowe Lintas Bangalore, bumps up the fashion quotient. It targets the brand’s young TG and highlights the fact that working out can be many things, apart from going to the gym.

The style quotient reflects in the product’s design too. The new bands are dual coloured and bright, unlike the category code of using singular and more serious dull colours.

Ajay Maurya, head of marketing, Fastrack, says that the idea is to push it across as a “fashion forward wearable tech device.”

“It brings the best of wearable technology, and is also the best fashion that you can have on your wrist. It is not about playing vanilla.”

Ajay Maurya
Ajay Maurya

He mentions that the brand’s built-in ‘heart rate monitor’ is also customised to the skin type and complexion of Indians, and is more accurate than its competitors.

Maurya explains that the biggest benefit of including technology in the brand’s offerings is that it keeps changing. The frequent changes in tech trends allows newer propositions.

“The disruptions happen month on month. We are seeing it as a big opportunity to grow along with the customer preferences. It is a very good fit for our young TG, since they are the early adopters. We will see the trend only going up.”

But, is it at the cost of the brand’s analog watch business?

Maurya responds by saying that while the wearable technology space has grown by leaps and bounds, the analog business has grown too.

"Smart wearables are not a replacement for analog watches."

“It’s a healthy sign. We have done well in all our markets. Smart wearables are not a replacement for analog watches. It is a complementary device, and not a substitute. The watch is an accessory that goes along with the style statement. It defines the kind of life space you are in, the mood, and how you want to express externally.”

“It will definitely outgrow the watches space in the coming 2-3 years.”

He, however, maintains that the growth in the wearables segment is far higher, since it is only catching up in the country. “It will definitely outgrow the watches space in the coming 2-3 years.”

Fastrack, as a brand, is now extending into the ‘hearables’ segment. The Reflex portfolio, which was limited to smartbands, now includes Bluetooth audio devices. The brand has launched Bluetooth earbuds, neck band and headphones. The expansion seems to be on the right track.

“We are building Fastrack as a 'fashtech' brand”: Ajay Maurya, head of marketing

As per the IDC report, the ‘earwear’ category recorded its highest annual shipments in 2020. It accounted for over 83 per cent of the overall wearable market (which includes smartbands, etc.), with 30.4 million unit shipments.

The market is dominated by boAt, which accounts for a third of the category’s volume. boAt is followed by Samsung (including JBL, Harman Kardon, Infinity), with a 14.5 per cent share.

Maurya says that ‘hearables’ will be the ‘next big thing’ in the coming year. The segment witnessed a major boost due to COVID, with people working from their homes.

“The demand is going up and the segment has seen an exponential rise in the last one year.”

While the market is growing well, it is also causing an influx of brands, both big and small. The strong competition has also brought along similar pricing.

Maurya mentions that while the competition is very healthy, as far as differentiation goes, it will boil down to the product’s positioning.

He hints that more tech offerings are in the pipeline and will be unveiled in the near future. “We are building Fastrack as a ‘fashtech’ brand.”

Much of the brand’s advertising will be on digital mediums, driven by interactive communication. This will be followed by placements on TV, print and OOH.

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