The Consumer Electronics sector opened up the second quarter of the current fiscal year on a positive note. Aided by the unlock process, the industry saw a realisation of pent-up demand for white goods and major appliances.
After a downtrend in sales of air conditioner, the electronics industry, which stood at a whopping Rs.90,000 crore in 2019, will only be able to make Rs.80,000 crores in 2020, according to industry estimates by Consumer Electronics and Appliances Manufacturers Association (CEAMA). But Onam brought sales and the Industry is all set to bring out their best offerings for the consumers.
“l believe this will continue to remain the trend for the upcoming festive season and near future. Consumer durable industry witnessed a loss of around 20 percent during the past few months; this festive season we are hopeful of recovering some of the losses,” said Panasonic India and South Asia President & CEO Manish Sharma.
Major focus on refrigerators and washing machines
Refrigerators have seen a huge demand as new players are ready to foray and take a cut from the pie. Major brands like Panasonic and Samsung have already announced their new lineup of refrigerators for the festive season. Panasonic’s new #IntelligentHA campaign has aimed to leverage artificial intelligence capabilities into their Refrigerators after the company showed a growth of 18 per cent in Onam sales this year.
Speaking about the campaign, Shirish Agarwal, Head – Brand and Marketing Communication, Panasonic India, said, “Artificial Intelligence has changed the way consumers are interacting with their products. Our ongoing campaign covers all digital touchpoints, showcasing Panasonic bringing innovative technologies to solve real-life challenges and bring efficiency and comfort to the day-to-day lives of our consumers. Our campaign highlights how our new refrigerator line #IntelligentHAI, as it understands and adapts itself to the needs of each family member distinctively.”
Havells India also announced its entry into the refrigerator space with the launch of 25 new models under its consumer durable brand- Lloyd. The refrigerators will be available in capacities ranging from 190 litres to 587 litres, at an introductory offer price range from Rs 10,000 to Rs 84,990.
Speaking on the occasion, Shashi Arora, CEO of Lloyd stated that the company has a well-known legacy in the cooling segment and is among the top 3 brands in the air conditioners’ segment. He further stated that the newly-launched frost-free range of refrigerators to complement other categories and make Lloyd, a full‐fledged consumer durable brand.
The aim is to use its network of 15,000 general trade retailers to sell products priced at the low-end; while modern trade and retail chains such as Kohinoor Electronics, Reliance Digital, Sargam Electronics, Tata Croma and e-commerce will be tapped to sell the high-end products.
For its dishwasher range, starting at `Rs. 20,000, the company is eyeing double-income households, and retailing through modern trade stores, retail chains and e-commerce. “Since dishwashers are only getting popular in India now, we need to educate customers and dispel myths around it, through displays and demonstrations,” says Sashi Arora, CEO, Lloyd.
“All these are not only led by pent up demands and rural sales but there is a third element, which is playing as a higher factor in demand. This is about new trends, where the consumers are looking for a substitute for domestic help and appliances as washing machine, microwave, dishwasher, refrigerators are filling up the gap,” said CEAMA President Kamal Nandi.
Chinese brands like Xiaomi and Haier are hoping to improve penetration to the remotest parts of India. Xiaomi India’s innovative stores on wheel concept already launched in the pilot stage and was a major success. Haier India is setting up displays of its smart home range, launched in February, which includes smart TVs, refrigerators, washing machines and ACs. Satish NS, Senior Vice President, Sales and Marketing, Haier India, says the company has trained 3,500 shop executives for these demonstrations.
Haier’s Chinese counterpart HiSense also announced its new range of refrigerators in India. The lineup includes refrigerators in 4 categories with capacity in the range of 44L and 690L. The company has listed its refrigerators under Flipkart and Amazon and will be available in Reliance Digital stores as well.
Focus on an omnichannel presence
Organized retailers have gradually expanded into several categories and no longer stick to just one format or product offering. Since the lockdown, the consumer durable industry has witnessed a major increase in online sales. However, retail still accounts for almost 90% of the business and hence, will remain the main focus. Major brands have declared an omnichannel approach to boost sales.
About 40% of Haier India’s marketing budget will be spent on digital marketing this year, as compared to just 10% last year, with an emphasis on search engine optimization and search engine marketing. According to Satish NS, consumers are “increasingly searching and researching products online and then moving offline to experience them”, making digital marketing an important part of the company’s strategy.
Samsung India witnessed strong double-digit growth across cities in sales of larger screen TV and refrigerators of 300 litres and above. Since unlocking of markets, there has been an increased demand among consumers to equip their homes with the latest technology while they stay and work from home, Samsung India revealed in a statement.
“Riding on these factors, this festive season, we expect strong growth to continue, especially in mid and premium segments of the market,” said Samsung India Senior Vice President Consumer Electronics Business Raju Pullan.
Caution over celebration
“The biggest challenge for brands is liquidity and cash flows because of the current economic scenario and prevalent job cuts and salary reduction,” said CEAMA”s President.
“If we address those challenges, the consumers will buy, because they need these appliances,” he said.
Attractive pricing won’t be possible this festive season as the industry battles supply chain disruptions and an increase in import duty. “Price hike is inevitable as these components are very important for making TVs and smartphones. We are planning and will introduce a competitive pricing strategy for the festive season,” a spokesperson from Realme told WireX.
White goods companies won’t be affected by the import laws and customs duty and can introduce heavy discounts and attractive schemes.
“This festive season, Voltas is geared up with a combination of exciting cashback offers, extended warranty, installation packages, and exchange offers, in order to make the buying process more easier for our customers…,” said Voltas Managing Director and CEO Pradeep Bakshi.