Product Profile: Power banks
HS CODE: 85044030 (Battery Chargers)
• The global power bank market exceeded a value of US$ 9.2 billion in 2018 and is expected to reach US$ 26.4 billion by 2023.
• India’s exports of batteries, of which power banks are a subset, have grown at a CAGR of 46% over the past five years.
• China, Viet Nam, Germany, UAE and US are the major export destinations for India in this sector.
• However, Indian companies are largely engaged in assembly, and heavily dependent on China for raw material and design.
Digitisation has made individuals reliant on a number of electronic gadgets for a comfortable, smooth and convenient life. A huge demand for compact electronic gadgets such as laptops, smartphones and tablets has driven the growth of the global power bank market. Apart from this, the advent of 4G and 5G networks and steady proliferation of internet services have made these devices moderately efficient in terms of power consumption. This has created a massive demand for power banks across the world, thereby stimulating market growth.
Power banks are electronic devices, which act as reservoirs for battery backup, storing energy from the input source and venting it out as and when required. They have garnered immense popularity across a digital-hungry world due to their distinct characteristics – fast charging, durability, portability, multiple sockets, low cost, etc. In case of a prolonged power outage or unstable electricity supply, power banks save the device from turning off. Apart from that, the introduction of power banks with hydrogen and solar cells is expected to broaden growth prospects.
According to product type, the market has been bifurcated into battery cases, portable power banks and solar power banks. Currently, portable power banks lead the market, holding the largest share. On the basis of battery type, the market has been segmented into Lithium-ion and Lithium-polymer. Power banks come in a number of ranges, including below 3,000 mAh, 3,001 mAh-8,000 mAh, 8,001 mAh-20,000 mAh and above 20,000 mAh. Based on the application in the electronic device market, the major segments include smartphones, tablets, portable media devices and others.
The Indian power bank market is projected to reach US$ 250 million by 2023, exhibiting a CAGR of over 16% during the forecast period, on the back of growing government initiatives aimed at aiding the manufacturing sector and technological advancements leading to reduction in lithium-ion battery cost. Moreover, demand for power banks is anticipated to increase from consumers who travel for long hours and need to charge their devices on the go.
China, Viet Nam, Germany, UAE and US are the major export destinations for India. Exports of batteries from India, of which power banks are a subset, surged with a whopping growth rate of 45% in the last five years.
North America is one of the major contributors to the power bank market in terms of revenue, owing to in the rising need for laptops, smartphones and tablets across various industry verticals. To further add to this, increase in user base of smartphones and tablets globally drives the growth of the power bank market.
Moreover, technological advancements such as use of solar cell and hydrogen cells in power banks are expected to offer lucrative opportunities to the market in North America. In addition, introduction of advanced technology such as digital watches is anticipated to boost the demand for power banks in future, thereby propelling market growth. Also, it is an excellent opportunity for countries to grab the market for power banks through global value chains.
India’s competitiveness needs to expand
While India has emerged as a net exporter of power banks on the surface, it needs to address some critical challenges to strengthen its competitiveness. The first pertains to the raw material. Lithium ion batteries are portable, scalable and can be located at or near where their energy is consumed, avoiding the need for extensive electrical grid upgrades. Lithium-ion batteries have significant pragmatic advantages over other battery sources.
They have more energy density and a longer cycle life; can charge and discharge faster than other storage alternatives, supply applications requiring high current and also require less maintenance. Furthermore, they can be manufactured and deployed faster; and can be mass produced leveraging existing technologies. While other electrical storage solutions such as vanadium flow batteries, lead-acid batteries and salt-water batteries also exist commercially, none of the alternatives have the versatility of a lithium-ion battery.
Approximately 90% of lithium reserves are with Chile, Bolivia and Argentina and despite this, China is the largest exporters of lithium batteries as they have the requisite technologies and sourcing arrangements. These Chinese firms are physically present in Latin American countries and utilize domestic resources to extract lithium and further process it. India has not made a similar push in this area.
The enormous surge in India’s exports of batteries is partially due to rising wages in China. Thus, the labour-intensive work is being done in India, which is then designed in China. So, Indian companies are not relatively competitive and are engaged in assembly, for which C-DAC is planning to collaborate with the industry. Hence for India, it becomes crucial to intensively expand its engagement across the value chain in power bank manufacturing, if we want to be a greater part of the US$ 26.3 billion market in the coming five years.