Exclusive Interview with Abhilash Panda, CEO of DIZO India

DIZO

Smart trends are no longer reserved for the most high-end homes or saved for upgrade years down the line, people are buying homes today with an eye on the existing smart home tech that’s already included. These are some of the biggest smart home tech trends happening right now. DIZO is the first brand in the realme TechLife ecosystem. It is a global technology brand that operates in four major product categories – Smart Entertainment, Smart Home, Smart Care, and Accessories. Analytics Insight has engaged in an exclusive interview with Abhilash Panda, CEO of DIZO India.

 

1. Kindly brief us about the company, its specialization, and the services that your company offers.

DIZO is the first brand under the realme TechLife ecosystem. It is a global technology brand that operates in four major product categories – Smart Entertainment, Smart Home, Smart Care, and Accessories. Within just a few months it has launched several new products and a couple of accessories – including TWS earbuds, neckband, and wired earphones under smart entertainment; smartwatches, hairdryer, and beard trimmer under smart care; multi-port mobile charging adapters and 2-in-1 USB cables and features phones; every product having its uniqueness and very competitive pricing.

At DIZO, we intend to offer a discerning young generation of tech enthusiasts differentiated technology that is aligned to their needs, complements their individuality, empowers them, and becomes an extension of their personality. We aim to always try our best to bring premium products and features to the mass market.

Popularizing the tech among the masses is a part of our mission, and features such as Game Mode, Bass Boost+ algorithm, ENC, Transparency Mode, and unique Natural Light Design in the audio wearables segment, are great examples of the same. In smartwatches, we have launched 1.69-inch – the biggest screen in the 3K segment, biggest AMOLED Display in 4K segment, metal frame, and 600-nits high brightness, etc. along with realme Link App and DIZO App customizations. We offer premium features at very competitive price points, without compromising on the quality of the products.

 

2. With what mission and objectives, the company was set up? In short, tell us about your journey since the inception of the company?

DIZO is not an overnight thought. It took relentless groundwork, studying consumer buying behavior and researching the industry for years before its global launch, to create the sensation it has become today. In India, DIZO built a huge setup which included establishing the core management team and vast service network, while also utilizing its global connections and resources to ensure that quality remains a key priority.

When we came up with the name – DIZO, we liked it because it was small, quirky, and easy to remember. Today, the word has value, strength, and a sense of belongingness. It stands for Be Different, Genuine, Humorous, Cool, and Surprising. As a brand, we strive for the same, and the same we want to pass on to our consumers. With our tagline – ‘Be Different’, DIZO promises to bring ‘Smart Tech Life for Every Different You’.

Since its launch, DIZO has been receiving a lot of traction among consumers and media, alike, which was our primary motive. We partnered with Flipkart for online sales and gradually working towards increasing our offline presence as well. We have already set up a strategic and robust service touchpoint network with over 490 service centers in more than 450 cities across India and increasing over time.

Owing to everything mentioned above and the things I may have missed to highlight, we were not even 5 months into operations in India and celebrated a strong consumer base of 1 million. The favorite products included DIZO Watch 2, DIZO GoPods D, DIZO Wireless, DIZO Buds Z, and our feature phones, and a lot have been added recently – DIZO Watch S, DIZO Watch 2 Sports, DIZO Watch R, DIZO Wireless Power, etc. The gadgets flew off the shelves and were sold out quickly during the first sale. Most of our products are highest rated and they are also best-sellers in their product categories and price segments.

Incidentally, DIZO’s achievements are further validated by one of India’s premier research agencies – Counterpoint Technology Market Research – who in its India TWS Shipments Report for Q3 2021 recognized DIZO as an emerging and fastest-growing brand in India and their latest Smartwatch Market Report, confirmed DIZO to have entered among the Top 10 smartwatch brands in India.

 

3. Mention some of the awards, achievements, recognitions, and clients’ feedback that you feel are notable and valuable for the company.

As we inch closer to completing one year in the industry, it is thrilling to see DIZO’s growth trajectory. As mentioned earlier, we successfully managed to enter the top 10 smartwatches brand in India, as per the latest report on India smartwatch shipment by Counterpoint Technology Market Research. Around 80 brands are present in India’s smartwatch market and over 10 brands entered the market in 2021. In such a dynamic and aggressive environment, DIZO in less than a year has managed to win hearts across the country. This also shows that our consumers have entrusted us, and we can fulfill the consumer needs.

Additionally, as per Counterpoint Technology Market Research, DIZO is an emerging and the fastest growing brand in Q3 2021 TWS shipment report.

To add to the celebrations, DIZO became 1 million strong in India in terms of customer base. As a new entrant, we managed to clock this rare feat within just 5 months since the global launch in May 2021. Further to this, DIZO also surpassed the 100cr revenue mark in India in the same time frame.

Some other memorable achievements include our entry into the list of top 10 brands by Gross Merchandise Value (GMV) in the Flipkart wearables category, which is the first time for a new brand in this segment to achieve this within a month, and that too with only two products – DIZO GoPods D and DIZO Wireless. Soon after the first sale, the DIZO GoPods D emerged as the highest-rated TWS earbuds in the INR 1K-2K category. Same for the DIZO Wireless, as it became a best-seller and the highest-rated neckband in the INR 1K-2K category on Flipkart. Another bestseller – DIZO Buds Z, soon after the first sale, was rated 4.6 by our consumers on Flipkart, which is considered to be great for any product.

Furthermore, in the smartwatch category, DIZO Watch 2 became everyone’s favorite soon after its sale on Flipkart and also made several records as it sold 15,000 units within 3 minutes of the sale, which is the fastest for any wearable category. Another record – it sold 50,000 units in just 15 days from the day of its first sale, which is again the fastest ever by any single model in the category. Yet another record – it sold 100,000 units within just 40 days since its first sale, again the fastest ever by any single model in the smartwatch history in the country.

The latest products – DIZO Watch S, DIZO Watch R, DIZO Wireless Power, and DIZO Buds Z Pro among others are also doing great in their categories. The company presently offers a dozen differentiated products in smartwatches, TWS earbuds, neckband earphones, feature phones, and mobile accessories for its consumers.

 

4. Brief us about the proactive Founder/CEO of the company and his/her contributions to the company and the industry.

DIZO is a creation of like-minded industry professionals having a singular objective of creating a global TechLife brand that offers solutions, which are customized to the needs of different personalities. In India, the team is being spearheaded by myself – Abhilash Panda the CEO of the company.

Before joining here, I was with Flipkart for close to eight years and was heading the Mobiles vertical on its platform. My role entailed interacting with many leading mobile brands.

Joining DIZO was a natural progression since I always wanted to work for a brand, which is young, dynamic, and looked at making an actual difference in consumers’ lives. Today’s consumers are modern, aware of their choices, and a discerning lot who look for value-for-money solutions. They understand the technology and the benefits that it brings to their lives and at DIZO, we take this as our mission and strive toward making the choices easier, accessible, and more affordable for them.

Talking about my “partners” – it’s the entire DIZO India team. We are a small team for now, but are all experts in our domain, leading various management, and operational positions. We have aggressive plans for expansion in India and will be seeking to bring in the best, brightest and young talent that the country can offer. We believe in one team-one ideal strategy for a holistic brand, employee, and product development. Just as the brand wishes to resonate with its consumers, it has a similar approach towards its employees – be different, cool, genuine, humorous, and surprising.

 

5. Kindly mention some of the major challenges the company has faced till now.

The most obvious challenge is of course the pandemic situation. We waited long for everything to get all fine. But eventually took a decision and launched the brand globally on May 25, 2021. It was a huge decision that could impact the very existence and even growth of the brand. But I guess, we made the right decision.

Wearables as a category are hot and with entertainment avenues being cut short in the last few years, more and more people are turning to the connected world for everyday entertainment. Here, the challenge was to offer the product options for them and provide differentiated solutions so that they can make the right choice. We believe that our differentiated tech solutions – DIZO Buds Z Pro, DIZO Buds Z, DIZO GoPods D, DIZO GoPods, and DIZO GoPods Neo offer a great collection; and then we also have the DIZO Wireless and DIZO Wireless Power, which are meant for neckband earphone lovers. We have also launched the DIZO Watch S, DIZO Watch R, DIZO Watch 2 Sports, DIZO Watch 2, DIZO Watch and DIZO Watch Pro, DIZO Beard Trimmer Plus, and the DIZO hair Dryer to complement various aspects of a person’s daily activities at home or work. We ensured that they come at a price that even people with thin wallets can afford, which means we keep prices very competitive, and to the extent that the quality is not compromised at all.

Having the right mix of online and offline visibility was another challenge, as we are riding on the digital revolution that has technically offset the need to be seen and heard on offline platforms, at least for the near future. But offline is equally important, that we understand. Therefore, we are focused on our online visibility and so we signed up with Flipkart to make our products accessible to everyone across the country. Having said this, we are appropriately available across key physical retail outlets across the country and expanding gradually. So, the omnichannel route has been our choice right from the start.

Another challenge that we had foreseen even before we started, was after-sales services. We learned early in our journey that after-sales service is critical for our business. We are serious about it. When we launched, we already had 320+ service centers in 310+ cities. Today, we have in place over 490+ service centers in over 450+ cities across the country and this number will expand gradually. Additionally, we are working with the same consumer support agencies that realme and Flipkart work with. We also have DIZO Squad, the community for our consumers, where they can share information, and make complaints and suggestions to us.

 

6. What is your biggest USP that differentiates the company from competitors?

Even after the product innovations and solution management, today, for a consumer, there is N number of options provided by so many brands. At DIZO we believe that aside from the unique offerings that a brand has to offer to stay ahead, the biggest difference between any brand lies in what the brand stands for and the personality that it carries. And DIZO is for the ones who choose to ‘Be different’ and we come with a singular mission to offer a ‘Smart TechLife for Every Different You’. As a brand, we want to resonate as one which is Different, Genuine, Cool, Humorous, and Surprising.

We encourage people to try different paths of life and care about overlooked topics, and non-mainstream people. And this is possible when you imbibe the right technology which lets you do more. Because DIZO believes technology is an extension of you.

We are not just aimed at the young generation of the world, but also those who are young at heart. DIZO will be a brand for anyone & everyone, who are interested in tech and is looking for personalized and unique experiences.

DIZO wants people to remember that we do not live for technology, but it is rather the other way round. Technology should make it possible for you to make the most of your life – whether you want to pursue a hobby, make health & fitness a way of life, want to have a smart home, or simply help you strike a balance between work and life.

For every product we design or any brand activity we do, we want to ensure that we tick all the boxes right. When we launched, we announced that DIZO will operate in four product categories – Smart Entertainment, Smart Home, Smart Care, and Accessories. As of now, we have launched smartwatches, audio products, personal care products, feature phones, and accessories. But we are not going to limit ourselves to these products. The possibilities in India are huge and we want to explore all technology products that benefit our consumers. This is aligned totally with our mission to provide Smart TechLife for Every Different You.

Furthermore, we ensure that the products are within the price range that does not burn a hole in the consumer’s pocket. DIZO’s offerings are for the many people and we will continue to provide affordable solutions, premium, and of top-notch quality.

 

7. How do you see the company and the industry in the future ahead?

The wearables market is fairly young, but it is moving rapidly to become the next big thing and create ripples in the tech world. The pandemic accelerated the growth of the wearables market by 3-4 years due to the challenges that everyone suddenly faced due to staying at home. From working at home to working out at home and to being entertained at home TWS & smartwatches have gone on become an integral part of people’s lives. With people becoming more conscious about their fitness, they got hooked onto wearable devices to monitor their heart rate, sleep, SpO2, step counts, etc. Others needed the earbuds to attend their virtual meetings, classes, and even for entertainment purposes, be it playing games or binge-watching.

Looking at the trends for 2022, the next five to seven years are likely to see even higher growth for the wearables segment, with consumers getting a hang of the benefits and ease of life due to these wearables. There is a vast opportunity in India – an untapped reservoir and India’s young consumers will be pampered with more and more brands providing smart tech choices as perused cases.

Eventually, the industry will see a trend of smartwatches and earbuds not only being used for their primary usage, but also as a fashion statement. I truly believe that a day will arrive when people will have one or two smartphones but multiple TWS earbuds and smartwatches to mix and match with their look of the day. Thanks to everything, in the next decade or so, the wearables market has the potential to become bigger than smartphones, by volume the least.

Talking about DIZO’s growth, in 2022, we expect the AIoT product market to grow twice the current market and with our aim to become one of the fastest-growing brands in AIoT products, we will target to grow by 4X the market rate. Since the beginning of 2022, we have already launched 5 products in India, namely, DIZO Watch R, DIZO Buds Z Pro, DIZO Watch 2 Sports, DIZO Wireless Power, and DIZO Watch S. we aim to launch 30 products within this year.

 

8. How are disruptive technologies like IoT/Big Data analytics/AI/Machine Learning/Cloud Computing impacting today’s innovation?

These technologies have been disrupting the industry at a faster pace than expected. Internet of Things (IoT) is already being used across multiple sectors. It might still be a buzzword and a jargon for consumers in general, but it has become a staple feature in almost every consumer tech product. While AI & ML are already driving industry growth in more ways than one. With so many companies looking for graduates fluent in AI and ML coding, this is one of the highest booming sectors of the economy.

Looking at the most recent developments of Metaverse and 5G, which have taken flight in multiple countries globally, it is still very nascent. Though India will be a big benefactor of 5G tech in 2022. However, widespread adoption of 5G could take at least a couple of more years, largely dependent on 5G infrastructure, spectrum sales, and pricing. On the other hand, Metaverse is good for a dinner table conversation, but it is not having an instant impact on the world.

However, to strengthen the current consumer tech ecosystem, brands operating in India need to understand changing market dynamics, adapt to the advanced competitive landscape, and gain insights into consumers & preferences. An Ernst and Young (EY) study suggests focusing more on the consumers’ need to withstand future disruptions. Understanding customer preference can help the consumer tech industry innovate faster by speeding up the product development cycle and introducing advanced technologies like 5G, ML, AI, and IoT.

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