Improved living standards, increased consumer purchasing power and rising economies are uplifting electronics market. The demand for power bank rises as electronic devices come with low battery capacity. Longer duration usage of smart phone, increased usage of smart phones and tablets has spurred the market growth of power banks globally.
Mobility and versatility are the most important features of power banks. Power banks are available in various sizes, shapes, capacities and colors. Global power bank market can be segmented on the basis of application and product type. Mobile phone chargers and Electric vehicle chargers are segments of applications. Solar power bank, power bank with LED and built-in rechargeable line are segments of power bank products.
As battery technology failed to keep pace with an increasingly smarter smart phone, handset manufacturers have resorted to workarounds, such as making the phone frugal on energy to shrinking the rest of the hardware so that there is space for a bigger battery. But since these alone won’t fulfill the energy demand of today’s phones, an entire industry has emerged too, offering a whole lot of stuff from the fast wireless chargers to power banks to keep the increasingly gorgeous and slimmer smart phone awake.
Power banks enable consumers to charge their electronic devices such as smart phones, tablets, and other portable media devices which have USB capability. The technology used in smart phones and tablets is developing rapidly; however, their batteries still have limited capacities, which have led to the demand for portable sources of power such as power banks. The power bank market is expected to reach USD 17.8 Billion by 2020, and is expected to grow at a CAGR of 23.1% between 2015 and 2020.
Functionality of electronic devices is increasing, propelling power bank market. Smart phone battery life has been a problem for consumer. This constraint has become opportunity for power bank companies. Safety is a concern as low grade power cells can be volatile if overcharged in case of lithium-ion battery.
China is the important player in the power bank market, increasing demand across the world is increasing opportunities globally. Cell phones are sweeping the developing world as the technology becomes cheaper. Growth of power bank market will increasingly rely on emerging market as Western Europe, Japan and North America reach saturation. Power bank is expected to attain success in developing nations where the power grid is lacking.The power bank market has been segmented based on the capacity range, number of USB ports, energy source, technology, application and region. Currently, most of the consumers possess more than one electronic device.
Therefore, they require a portable source of power which can recharge multiple devices simultaneously. The power bank market has been segmented based on the number of USB ports and has further been split into one, two, three or four USB port based power banks. The price of power banks increases with the increase in the number of USB ports offered. Currently, power banks with two USB ports hold a higher market share and this trend is expected to continue during the forecast period. However, the market for power banks with more than two USB ports is expected to grow at a high CAGR of ~30% between 2015 and 2020.
Higher Milliampere results in the higher storing capacity of power banks. Power banks comprise of lithium batteries, as they are affordable, compact in nature and widely available. Power banks are different from one another even though the battery capacity is exactly the same; in terms of compatibility, pricing, cell quality, internal design, size and cell grade. Power bank batteries are categorized as cylindrical battery, square aluminum case and polymer battery. Due to the high mechanized cost for battery cell made of Lithium-Polymer comparing it to Lithium-Ion, the price of power banks made of Lithium-Polymer battery is higher than the power bank comprising Lithium-Ion battery. Casing made from standard shell offers protection from any leakage or harm from the power bank. A power bank in general will require 5V/1A for optimum charging period across the globe. Power bank quality, cell PCB board design, actual capacity and reliability are factors determining approximate device charge per cycle.
Currently, power grids are the main source of power for most of the power banks available in the market; however, market players have also developed power banks which can be powered by alternative sources of energy such as solar and hydrogen. Sandberg A/S (Denmark) and Ravin Group (India), among others, are some of the players who are developing solar power-based power banks. Intelligent Energy Ltd (UK) has introduced hydrogen fuel cell powered power banks which are being marketed as Upp. Upp uses a reusable fuel cartridge which can recharge five smart phones and each cartridge has a life of 9 years.
According to Vikram Kalia – Director Sales & Marketing, Adit Infratel Pvt Ltd, the portable chargers are all over the place now in different shapes and sizes. The market has grown tremendously over last one year and the major contributor to the growth of the portable chargers is humongous sales of mobile phones in India. The sale of mobiles has resulted in surge in the sales of portable chargers. Mobiles have a battery capacity limitation because of the high features likes touch screen, Bluetooth, wifi, 3G/4G. Other than the standby mode and calling all these features consume battery power. So if your usage is high, you will need a portable charger every day.
“With the rapid penetration of smart phones, data consumption has increased manifold as more and more people use their smart phones/tablets to connect to the Internet. We are living in a mobile first world, wherein smart phones have become more personal than the personal computers. With multiple apps being used for emails, messaging, browsing Internet, gaming, personal entertainment, etc, the smart phones have turned into power hungry devices that drain your battery constantly. Therefore, in a world where staying connected while on the move has become imperative, power banks have become a must have accessory for every smart phone consumer. We see the overall market growing exponentially in the next 3-5 years,” said, Pankaj A Sureka, Co- Founder & Director, Kestrel Mobiles.
“Now, with everything going portable–laptops, mobiles, tablets and many more – even our chargers have gone portable. With our smart phones and other devices becoming our constant partners, and a complete dependence on them for all our needs including but not limited to communication, entertainment, business and what not – we need them to last at least a day. And that’s where the power banks have become a necessity and not a luxury. It is one of the ideal companions for the smart phone generation who are heavily on their gadgets. With the smart phone consumption seeing a threefold jump we also see power banks as the 3rd largest accessory market after screen guards. People opt for power bank as an essential requisite for their daily survival and that undoubtedly makes power bank much more than a mere accessory,” said, Puneet Gupta as Country Manager for India and SAARC.
“Power Bank is a relatively new product in the market. In a short span of time, it has evolved a lot and many options are available for consumers to choose from. Indian mobile devices market really exploded in the last few years. The processing power of these devices has increased tremendously and also the screen size. Battery technology is not able to cope up with this and people always end up wanting more, that’s where the power banks come to rescue. Power banks can provide 3-5 times the battery power to a mid/high end mobile device depending upon capacity. This really takes the mobile device to a whole new level in terms of usability. Mobile devices are your connection to the world so the power banks can be really a life saver for many,” stated, Rajesh Doshi, Director, Zebronics India Private Ltd.
“Right now this segment is booming and we always have very high demand from the market. And we are expecting it to grow in leaps and bounds in the coming years. One key thing that we have noticed is the customer awareness and lack of knowledge about power banks. As they don’t know what their requirement is and what they should buy,” said, Atul Gupta, Director, Lapcare India Private Ltd.
“Portable Power, commonly known as Power Banks are the in-thing. It’s more of a necessary evil now. Mobile phones are no longer just phones. They are now Smart, Multi Taskers on whom businesses ride and world is connected. One needs a Portable power to spike up the mobile battery at least twice a day. The sales have gone up exponentially. Many entrants have a large offering and consumers have a varied choice. But what is important is real power and the maker of the battery which spells out the quality of the Portable Power and its longevity. However, the connect to Mobiles is still at about 14% and we will witness a huge surge in sales in the coming years. The capacities will also grow to 20,000 mAh from a mere 2,600 mAh,” concluded, Sudip De, Director, Doel International Pvt. Ltd.
“Increased battery capacity by volume is the main challenge right now. Everyone wishes to have the small, light and slim device which is easy to carry. Li-polymer batteries have edge in size; cost wise Li-ion type batteries fare better. We have a lot of options in both types for the consumers. Charging speed is also very important now, a high capacity power bank will take a lot of time charging if it does not support rapid charging. Power banks with dual USB ports are also available now with 2A output, which can charge multiple devices at once,” said, Doshi of Zebronics.
“Fashionable IDs, Higher Capacities, Back Up, Sleek Models, Multiple ports, Wireless chargers are the need of the hour. Consumers are getting smarter. They understand that they should adopt safety-first tactics while choosing a Portable Power Brand. Their high end Smart Phones would be left in the lurch without a good, robust Portable Power. Consumers are moving towards Branded Portable powers from the unbranded ones,” said, De of Doel.
“Power banks are the most demanding products in the corporate gifting this season. And 5000 mAh and 10000 mAh are high on demand. Power Banks up to 5000 mAh are the ones specially people are buying for gifting purposes. And when they are buying for personal use, they are looking for above 10000 mAh,” said, Gupta of Lapcare.
“As of now, the trends besides aesthetics and design are Bigger capacity, Multiple ports output, Quick charge functionality, Integration with SD card reader, wireless FM and WiFi hotspot/ router features and Wireless charging option,” pointed out Sureka of Kestrel.
“Trends driving portable charger market are higher capacity models. The capacities most sold are 5200 mAh or above in Li-ion cylindrical cells. Trend of polymer power banks is yet to catch up,” said, Kalia of AIPL.
“Power banks market growth is mainly driven by growing adoption by smart phone, tablet and laptop users globally. Increasing use of smart phones for various applications is driving the need of external battery and therefore power banks to keep these devices operating. Currently the 2in1 and 3in1 (Two/Three USB Ports) power banks are in demand. The sleekness and the colors also play a vital role to justify the buy. Also Online Retailing is another factor which has fuelled the growth of the sector. With several Cash on Delivery option portals and cheaper fares/ discounts, the industry has witnessed escalation. There is also growing awareness among consumers about Power Banks – Technology as a subject is now of interest for all age groups. With the competitive pricing, an intelligent customer would prefer a branded one with warranty as compared to the non-branded market. When buying a power bank, customers now look for specific features imbibed inside the power bank and don’t go by the theoretical details. Customers NOW opt for products that satisfy their demanded features,” concluded, Puneet of STK Accessories.
Role of BIS
“BIS is the watchdog which will strengthen the organised sector. The Consumers will benefit immensely as they will have a choice of quality products. We @ DOEL wish that the certifications are strictly adhered to so that Indians can benefit in investing in quality goods. This would hurt the grey products but there would be a lot of peace of mind,” opined, De of Doel.
“This has a major effect in this segment, now the market is become more regularized and it also helping customer to buy a safer product. And many XYZ brands are now vanishing from the market and only major and serious players now will play in this segment,” said, Gupta of Lapcare.
“BIS is really helping the market with standardization, it’s making sure that all the products available are good quality and safe to use. We at Zebronics fully support BIS and all relative Zebronics products fully conform to BIS norms,” said, Doshi of Zebronics.
“If implemented successfully, BIS can help stop the extensively growing grey market Industry/ products. With BIS as a tool, by the end of it the consumers shall be benefited the most with the highest quality products,” said Puneet of STK accessories.
“BIS plays a very important role in ensuring high quality products are sold in the country. As a result of their stringent quality parameters and adherence requirements, many dubious products having incorrect battery capacity, low/sub par quality batteries and components, will completely stop flooding the market and only genuine, good quality products will prevail. This is a very good and important step taken by the government where the customer only gets the good quality product,” added, Sureka of Kestrel.
“BIS is the right step towards consumer safety. Many companies were importing portable chargers without any certification. This definitely poses a threat to the consumers. With BIS coming into effect, these imports are being restricted now,” concluded, Kalia of AIPL.
Wearable Tech Trends
According to Puneet Gupta of STK Accessories, in 2015, the wearable technology will be at the mainstream, and this will bring the power bank into the spotlight to an even greater extent as we rely on a growing number of devices to stay charged at all times. The reason that a portable battery charger will be so important that it will be go beyond the smart phone and tablet as many people will also own smart watches, fitness trackers, smart jewelry and smart glasses. Most of these will run on rechargeable batteries, so if users want the longer life devices, a good quality power bank will become a must-have item.
“The wearable tech is still in nascent stages. There isn’t much penetration in India and it will take a couple of more years for this technology to become mainstream and popular. As of now the main hurdle everyone is facing in wearable tech is battery; there isn’t much choice available in the market for wearable power banks. The normal power banks can be used with them but it won’t be practical as you have to remove the device and charge,” said, Doshi of Zebronics.
“Wearable devices will rule the roost in the coming months. Portable Power will have even more significance then as more and more gadgets will have to be at optimum charge. These wearable tech gadgets carry rechargeable cells which will need to be powered at all times. We will see a huge growth in Portable Power with the growth in usage of smart watches, fitness gadgets, etc,” said, De of Doel.
“Wearables have limited battery requirement as the size of the display is small. But in future these may also need additional power charging source,” pointed out Kali of AIPL.
“Smart watches, fitness tracker, smart jewellery, smart glasses and other devices having rechargeable cells to power them, will boost dependency on power banks. A good quality power bank will become a must have gadget as gradually more and more people start using the wearable products as part of their daily life,” concluded, Sureka of Kestrel.
“Too many brands are jostling for space. BIS will correct the ecosystem to a large extent. Doel Portable Power carves a niche for itself by undergoing rigorous tests to ensure quality. Margins are shrinking. So as a strategy, we have opted for unique IDs. We are a new brand trying to get a foothold in this jamboree. We have adopted different strategies for B2B, B2C and ecommerce. Our product speaks for itself and helps us get more customers,” said, De of Doel.
“This market is too crowded. Me too approach in this segment has made it difficult for the brands to sell. We have stuck to quality and are using Samsung SDI cells. Where most of the brands are having one or two models, we have launched more than 18 models in different capacities. We have a different approach towards online and channels sales so that there is minimum clash and interests of both the segments do not conflict,” claimed Kalia of AIPL.
“As a growing company we are currently increasing our reach by all sales channels available and we have dedicated teams looking after particular domains .However, in a competitive market there are challenges that you encounter as you grow, both external and internal. One of the biggest external challenges we face is from unbranded products from China which are easily available in stores and grey markets in tier 2/3 cities, our target markets. Available at dirt cheap prices, these products have no warranty, quality specifications and no bills. Though BIS is addressing the situation, it will be sometime before such players are wiped out. So to increase our sales channel is our biggest challenge,” said, Sureka of Kestrel.
“We don’t have any major challenges as such on the sales part as we are always having huge demand of our products,” claimed, Gupta of Lapcare.
“Power banks as I said are a relatively new product segment, getting enough products in the market with our R&D and stringent QC is really challenging. Zebronics power banks are very successful in the market. We have a wide range of products in the market up to 10000 mAh with many new product in pipeline. There were many low quality/cost products available in the market earlier but now with requirement of BIS certification such products are gradually vanishing,” said, Doshi of Zebronics.
“As far as challenges are concerned, the big unorganized grey market is a huge problem which not just STK but every Mobile Accessory Brand faces as a challenge. We need to address this urgently. The government should make the rules more stringent to curb these players. But the major challenge is the absolutely low prices offered by online vendors. Online sales have affected the market badly. There needs to be some parameters / guidelines set for the functioning of Online Market. The poor quality product at cheap prices is reigning the Market,” concluded, Puneet of STK Accessories.
Views of Industry
|Mr. Vikram Kalia – Director Sales & Marketing, Adit Infratel Pvt Ltd
“AIPL was India’s first battery manufacturing facility and the first one to manufacture portable chargers too. We are the most trusted OEM supplier and also Samsung SDI approved facility for prismatic cells. We have distributor and dealer network all over the country.”
Mr. Sudip De, Director, Doel International Pvt Ltd.
”Mr. Pankaj A Sureka, Co- Founder & Director, Kestrel Mobiles.
Mr. Puneet Gupta as Country Manager for India and SAARC
Mr. Rajesh Doshi, Director, Zebronics India Private Limited
Mr. Atul Gupta, Director, Lapcare India Private Limited
Ms. Komal Gupta, Director-Marketing, Pebble, India
Mr.Akhilesh Chopra. Manager-Operations, Blue I
USP of Brand
“We are the oldest and trusted player in power bank segment and through our brand promotions and servicing and replacement offers we are now one of the trusted brands in this segment. And we are very much confident that in the coming year, we will offer some great value added services to our customers,” claimed, Gupta of Lapcare.
“DOEL is a late entrant into this vibrant category. We speak quality. We ensure quality at a cost which is affordable. Each product undergoes stringent QC before dispatch. Our Mantra is to enjoy the product not to be burdened with it. Our aim is to grow steadily and retain customers. We are not in the mad race. The brand is backed up with the experienced brains who understand brand business,” said, De of Doel.
“Zebronics is now an 18 years old brand. We have come a long way and with the strong R&D and QC control we are making sure that we bring the latest products to the consumers, also they are a delight to use. We have pan-India presence with 31 branch offices and more than 110 service centers. We believe in giving maximum bang for the buck to the consumer and all Zebronics products are good value for money,” asserted, Doshi of Zebronics.
“STK designs and manufactures products that perfectly meet the needs of today’s digital Life, with a vision to satisfy the needs of every customer. We are a company in accessories for the last 25 years and we are present across 5 continents and over 100 countries with several exclusive innovative products. We also offer one year replacement warranty and products which are not run of the mill in accessory market; that proves the credibility of our brand,” said, Puneet of STK Accessories.
“AIPL was India’s first battery manufacturing facility and the first one to manufacture portable changes too. We are most trusted OEM suppliers and also Samsung SDI approved facility for prismatic cells. We have distributor and dealer network all over the country,” claimed, Kalia of AIPL.
“We provide high quality products to our customers. All our products carry proper technical certifications and go through a rigorous quality checked (three times) before dispatch. Our after sales service. We are providing our own service through our own national toll free to customers across India. We are totally a customer-centric company. From product design to usability, safety, quality of components used to selling by ethical means and lastly excellent after-sales-service, we put the customer first. We firmly believe a happy customer is a great brand champion worth more than any advertisement. We are a company run and managed by an experienced management and professionals with years of experience and domain expertise,” concluded, Sureka of Kestrel.
The power bank market is expected to have a huge growth potential. The number of players offering power banks has increased, thereby intensifying the competition in the market. Proliferation of e-commerce has also supported the players by providing direct access to the consumer, which has enabled a few players to offer power banks directly to consumers through their respective websites.