Two-wheeler helmets are used by motorcycle and scooter riders. The primary goal of two-wheeler helmet is to protect the rider’s head during impact, thereby preventing or reducing head injury and saving the rider’s life.
India being the worlds biggest two-wheeler market is also the biggest market for scooter and motorcycle helmets. There are 20 Million two-wheelers sold annually and more than 250 Million two-wheeler plying on Indian roads.Therefore, India helmet market is worlds biggest.
India being the world’s biggest two-wheeler market is also the biggest market for scooter and motorcycle helmets. After sales reached a peak in 2018 with 21 Million unit sales, the sales dropped for 2 straight years drastically and ended at 18.5 M units in 2019 and 13.9M units in 2020. There are more than 250 Million two-wheelers playing on Indian roads. Therefore, India helmet market is worlds biggest.
The two-wheeler sales in India during the financial year 2021 declined to 15.12 million units, a drop from all -time high of 21 million units sold in FY-2019.
After the first 6 months in 2021, the 2 wheeler sales in India increased by 32% Y-o-Y to 6.7M units.
The helmet sales across the country has increased at a CAGR of 10% till the year 2019. The market is estimated to grow at the rate of CAGR XX% from the fiscal year 2022-2030.
On an average there are 500,000 road accidents on Indian road deaths per annum and more than 30% involve two-wheeler riders, therefore there has been growing emphasis on helmet legislation by many state governments in India.
Due to growing road fatalities, and below par road infrastructure in India, now many state governments have made helmets compulsory for rider as well as pillions. There has also been other initiatives like the Tamil Nadu government enforcing an old Motor Vehicle rule which says two wheeler companies must also supply BIS compliant helmets to their customers.
In India, wide range of helmets are on sale including type, color’s, graphics, designs, and level of safety.
However, there are basically three types of helmets:
Most of the helmets, before being sold, pass through a strict set of standard guidelines. India has its own set of guidelines for helmets, set up by Bureau of Indian standards (BIS). Those helmets which comply with the above Standards get an ‘ISI’ certification sticker, usually seen on the back of the helmet. There are also other brands with international standards certification such as DOT, ECE & SNELL available in India.
In recent years, two-wheeler manufacturers have also started retailing their own line of helmets. Royal Enfield and Vespa already have their own line of helmets and now electric scooter startup , Ather Energy will also launch its “Smart” and Bluetooth connected helmets.
The Government of India’s Ministry of Transportation in November 2020 has issued a no-sale memorandum for helmets not complying with BIS standards. The helmets that do not comply with BIS standards will not be sold in the country after June 2021. The Maharashtra government in Nashik has also launched a NO helmet NO petrol policy in order to encourage people to use helmets as a means of safety.
The Japanese automaker Toyota has donated 525 helmets to the State Traffic Police of Karnataka to instill the message of road safety in the citizens of the state.
The company Steelbird has partnered with FIA for the global road safety initiative. The partnership will facilitate the deployment of helmets for people using motorcycles that meet with the safety standards set up by the UN and are comfortable to wear in hot and humid climates. The company has committed to produce 240,000 helmets per year for the initiative .
The competitive landscape of the India helmet market is highly fragmented with unorganized players accounting for more than 2/3rd of the market. The helmets manufactured by regional vendors are of low quality and often sold by street vendors at less than 300 INR($5).
As of July 2021, there are more than 200 helmet manufacturers in India and less than 10% of them comply with safety standards. In the organized segment, Steelbird is the market leader.
Steelbird, STUDDS and Vega are among the most sought after helmet brands in India. We look at their recent developments below
The company has launched approximately 278 new helmets under different categories with the most recent as the Steelbird Air Sba01 Dashing White clear visor helmet.
The company has manufactured 6.65 million helmets during the fiscal year ending in March 2020, making it the largest manufacturer of helmets in the world. It constitutes a total share of 25.66% in the Indian market. The company has started operation at its new facility in Faridabad, Haryana. The company made an investment of INR 160 crores initially in the facility which is spread over 5.5 acres, making it the biggest helmet manufacturing facility in Asia.
The company has also started operations at another manufacturing unit which is India’s only unit to produce EPS in-house used in helmet production. The plant has an investment of INR 40 crores spread over 1.5 acres. These new plants have a production capacity of 7.5 million units of helmets for two-wheelers and 1.5 million helmets for bicycles per year.
There has been growing interest in riding gears and accessories in upscale markets like Bangalore, Mumbai and Hyderabad, and thus many helmet companies are looking at expanding in this segment to come out with a customized range of riding gears.
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