boAT incurs losses in FY23; revenue growth tapers
The company, which had been profitable for eight years since inception, posted a loss of Rs 129.4 crore in FY23 on account of growing business development and advertising costs.
Consumer electronics company Imagine Marketing Limited, the parent company of wearable brand, posted its best-ever revenue of Rs 3,377 crore during the fiscal year ended March 2023.
However, the company, which had been profitable for eight years since inception, posted a loss of Rs 129.4 crore in FY23 on account of growing business development and advertising costs. Revenue growth tapered down significantly to around 18% YoY, compared to the 133% average revenue growth it achieved during the last three fiscal years.
The company had reported revenue from operations of Rs 2,873 crore and a profit of Rs 68.70 crore in FY22.
In comparison, the company's closest competitor, the bootstrapped consumer electronics startup Noise, posted a revenue growth of 80% at Rs 1,426 crore and a profit of Rs 88 lakh during FY23.
Imagine Marketing sells wearables and wireless audio accessories under the brands boAt, RedGear, Defy, Misfit, and Tegg.
Not a smooth sail
The financial year was a mixed bag for boAt with a failed IPO bid despite emerging as the second-largest wearable brand in the world.
The company, which is second only to Apple in terms of wearable sales, witnessed a 75% YoY growth in smartwatch and other wearable sales, but sales of audio and other electronic accessories plateaued with a mere 3% growth during FY23.
As per its annual statements, boAt sold wearables worth Rs 902 crore during FY23; Noise's wearable sales stood at Rs 1,138 crore during the same period.
The Warburg Pincus-backed company burned around 13% (Rs 521 crore) and 6%( Rs 469 crore) of its gross sales on discounts and returns respectively, and another Rs 140 crore on servicing warranty claims; i.e. nearly Rs 900 crore was chopped off from its collections before accounting for the cost of materials, transport and any other operating cost.
However, on the positive side, cash outflow from operations improved drastically, nearly 82% YoY to Rs 64 crore during the fiscal ended in March 2023.
The company, which is led by Aman Gupta of Shark Tank fame, who also serves as the chief marketing officer of the company, has relied on unconventional marketing strategies for its brand.
The founder, who appears on the popular business reality show Shark Tank, says the company suspends external advertising efforts when the show airs.
This strategy had worked for the company in the past as it kept its advertising spending to less than 5% of its revenues for eight years up until FY22. But with growing competition from established brands, including OnePlus, Xiaomi, and other homegrown companies such as Noise, boAt has had to splurge for visibility in both the online and offline markets.
As a result, the company’s expenditure on advertising ballooned 4.3x from Rs 99 crore in FY22 to around Rs 428 crore in FY23. The company spent Rs 158 crore on employee payments and transportation of goods, taking its total expenditure to Rs 3,562 crore for the previous fiscal.
In its tenth year of operations now, boAt is witnessing the pains of growing as its transitions from a consumer electronics marketer to a manufacturer with domestic manufacturing capacity.
The company, which entered into a 50-50 joint venture with electronics manufacturing giant Dixon in May last year, has started manufacturing its products at Dixon's plant in Noida, Uttar Pradesh.
During the same month, the company also announced the acquisition of Singapore-headquartered electronics product development company KaHa for an undisclosed amount to boost its IoT devices and audio design processes. As per information sourced by The Captable from its annual fillings, boAt acquired KaHa's design house as well as its Shenzhen-based manufacturing unit for a total consideration of $40 million.
Edited by Swetha Kannan